Who doesn’t like to have lush in their backyard? But the only thing that stops you from achieving your dream backyard is the hard dirt. Many house owners have given up on growing green grass because their backyard is full of rocks and hard soil. So, how to plant grass seed on hard dirt?

Yes, there is a way. And as a matter of fact, this article will take you through a step-by-step process. But before we can get down to how to plant grass seed on hard dirt, you must know what causes the soil to go hard.

Causes Of Hard Dirt

how to plant grass seed on hard dirt

The very first step to solve the hard dirt problem is to know why exactly it is happening. The common phenomenon that causes the soil to go hard is when the soil is mostly clay, and due to constant pressure from the above, all the air pores and water veins are closed up.

Here are some factors that make the soil hard.

Clay Soil

When your backyard is mostly composed of clay soil, it becomes very hard to dry out all the moisture. The problem can be solved by adding some normal soil to it.

Constant Foot Traffic

This is one of the common reasons why soil becomes hard. Constant traffic on a particular area of soil makes it hard due to compression. 


Leaving a piece of land unattended for too long makes the soil hard. Tilling and sniffling the soil layer will keep the soil ventilated and help to loosen the soil molecules.


When soil contains elements that can be compressed easily and become victim to the compaction process, it fills up the pore space necessary for plants to grow.

Solution To Dense And Compacted Soil

If the compaction is not severe, you can let your patience dictate the process of how to plant grass seed on hard dirt. With a little bit of patience, you allow the soil to loosen up a bit and gain back those pore spaces.

However, this method only works when compaction is shallow. If the compaction has severely damaged your soil quality, try using the following methods.

Cover The Dirt With Mulch

Whether we are talking about natural mulch or synthetic mulch, it sure has its ways to offer benefits. It insulates the soil bed against extreme heat and cold and helps the soil keep weeds out. In addition to that, natural mulches feed on soil and decomposers. This makes soils aggregate.

Aerate The Soil

If the soil is heavily compacted, then aerating the soil might be the best course of action. Aeration is the process of extracting small cylindrical soil from the dirt and placing it over the lawn. This helps the lawn have plenty of soil with improved air circulation and pore spaces.

Employ Deep Plowing

Most gardeners are radical with extreme measures to find solutions to “how to plant grass seed on hard dirt”. One such method is deep plowing. This might be the last on your list but brings good results. However, this method's downside is that it is expensive compared to the other method on the list.

Amend The Soil

Amend the soil means changing the whole character of the soil. How do planters achieve this feat? Simply adding manures and composts can get the job done. However, these methods require a deep understanding of the soil type and its nature. Only then can you come with the right element to use as manures.

How To Plant Grass Seed On Hard Dirt?

Planting grass seed on hard dirt is all about how well you can tackle the hard dirt problem. Once this problem is tackled or taken care of, the rest of the steps are very easy.

Step 1: Buy Seeds

A great lawn can only be created with top-quality seeds. You can not just visit the shop and purchase any grass seed without any considerations. While you are buying grass seed, ensure that you buy NTEP rated grass seed. NTEP stands for National Turf Evaluation Program. This program ensures high-quality seeds.

Step 2: Prepare The Soil

If you have hard dirt on your lawn, try using the methods we have mentioned above. Those methods will help you soften the soil. With that being said, here are quick steps to prepare the soil for both new lawns and existing lawns.

For Planting New Lawns

  • Loosen the top layer of the soil.
  • Remove debris like rocks, sticks, and other unwanted substances.
  • Break the clumps in the soil.
  • Avoid refining the soil; small clumps are the sign of a good lawn.
  • Level the area.
  • Do not use weed killer.

For Planting On Existing Lawns

  • Mow grass.
  • Loosen the top layer of soil.
  • Remove the debris.
  • Level the area.
  • Fertilize only the bare spot.

Step 3: Plant Grass Seed

Now that you have prepared your lawn bed, the next step is planning the grass seed.

  • Start spreading the grass seed evenly with your hand.
  • If there is a large area to cover, you can use a lawn spreader or other mechanical tools.
  • Ensure that you are spreading evenly.

Step 4: Cover The Seeds

Covering the seeds is an important process. Otherwise, it might get blown due to hard wind or other natural factors.

  • Lightly drag the soil, so that 1/4th inch of soil is displaced on the grass seed.
  • Cover the grass seedbed to ensure the seed is in place.

Step 5: Water Often

The final step is the adequate supply of water to enhance the germination process.

  • Water the lawn regularly. However, ensure that there is no water clogging scenarios.
  • Keep watering until the grass is at least 2 inches tall.
  • Water new grass regularly.

How Long Does It Take For Grass To Grow?

There is no fixed time that will tell you the exact days in which you will see new grass on the lawn. Once you learn how to plant grass seed on hard dirt, patience is the key. However, you can expect somewhere between 7 days to one month, depending on what kind of soil you have, watering frequency, and the type of grass seed you have used.

Final Steps

Once a couple of weeks have passed after new grass has surfaced, use fertilizers with nitrogen content. You need to repeat this process every eight weeks to ensure that your lawn always looks clean and presentable.

Note: Be very vigilant with how much fertilizer you are using. As a general rule, it is always better to go with half to one pound for 1000 square feet.

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Mashum Mollah is an entrepreneur, founder and CEO at Viacon, a digital marketing agency that drive visibility, engagement, and proven results. He blogs at MashumMollah.com.

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