Preparation guide

Have a read through our Ground Preparation Guide, which includes essential steps you need to carry out, some beneficial things you can do and finally some steps that are only required if you have a specific problem outlined in that section.

Essential steps to carry out before applying your pack 

Mow your lawn short 

In order to give your seedlings the best conditions for germination and growth, you will have to mow your existing lawn short. This is vital for the seed to receive enough light required for germination and growth. It will also ensure the seed has access to the soil and doesn’t sit on the grass. Seed to soil contact is crucial for germination.

Cut your lawn to around 1 inch (2.5cm) in height or less. Ideally never take off more than one third at a time and ensure your mower is sharp. You will not be able to mow again until your new grass has germinated and grown.

Always beneficial jobs to carry out 


Aeration can really turn a lawn around as it allows the lawn to access air, water and nutrients more freely. This helps the lawn to thrive and the root systems can develop further. 

In addition to this, hollow-tining will reduce compaction in the soil and improve any drainage issues which are common with new build lawns and clay soils. If you do not have a hollow tiner, you can used a garden fork (spiking). However, this will not reduce compaction as it is pushing the soil down.

A hollow tiner is the best equipment for the job, they can be machine or handheld and will pull the cores out of the soil. This creates more channels for air, water and nutrients. You can hire a mechanical one from a somewhere like Hire Station or similar.

It’s always beneficial to aerate your lawn (once in spring and once in autumn ideally) to keep everything healthy and moving as it should!


One of the main reasons overseeding can fail is because the seed does not have enough seed to soil contact. Topdressing the lawn before seeding or mixing it with the seed will help to make sure the seed has enough contact for germination. Use a thin layer of topsoil, compost or a more sandy mix. 

You can topdress beforehand and rake the seed in or apply on top of the seed and compact gently for maximum contact. 

The other benefits of topdressing include:

Thatch prevention: Topdressing will cover the thatch in your lawn and allow the grass to re-root and become denser.

Drainage: Using a topdressing with a high percentage of sand will improve your soil composition for better drainage. However, if you have a heavy clay soil you should only topdress with organic matter such as topsoil or compost to break down the soil over time. If you do have drainage issues you will want to make sure you hollow-tine regularly as well.

Levelling: You can also use topdressing to raise areas of your lawn so that they are level before seeding. Simply apply in these areas, compact, then reapply  and compact until the desired level is achieved.

Only carry these jobs out if needed 

Moss control 

Moss control is essential if you have moss infestations in your lawn as they will compete with your grass for nutrients and spread over time. The control of moss is most frequently carried out with iron sulphate which has additional benefits to affecting moss. Iron sulphate produces a rapid green-up of turf and hardens turf which is both pleasing to the eye and helps the turf become more resilient. Both The Lawn Pack and The Lawn 'From Scratch' Pack contain a high dose of Deeper Green Iron Sulphate.

To control moss, dissolve and apply iron sulphate in water in the correct proportions for your lawn size. Then wait 7-14 days and rake or scarify the moss out. Please see the Iron Sulphate guide for dilution rates and application methods.

An easy way to extract treated moss is using a mechanical scarifier which will remove thatch at the same time. If your lawn already consists of high thatch levels prior to moss control you may wish to scarify first for effectiveness. Repeat applications may be necessary for larger infestations. Please be careful about getting iron sulphate on any patios, inside your home or on your clothes as it stains hard surfaces very easily. If this happens, wash and scrub surface immediately. For this reason we also recommend to keep pets and children off the lawn for at least 24 hours.

Remove weeds 

Keeping on top of the weed population is important for your lawn to thrive as weeds will compete with your turf for sunlight, nutrients and water. On top of that they can be very unsightly!

Common lawn weeds include: daisy, clover, dandelion, buttercup and plantain. Weeds which are more difficult to get rid of in lawns and that are more likely to require repeat application include: speedwell, lesser, celandine, trefoil, yarrow and self-heal.

You will need to pull weeds manually or apply a quality selective (so you don't kill the grass!) herbicide to your lawn and be sure to take care as weed controls are usually harmful. Some weeds can be particularly hardy and may require repeat application.

Weedol for Lawns is one product you can look at for controlling any weed populations. Please check manufacturer's guidelines for how long you have to wait before you can seed after applying weed control. For Weedol for Lawns, 6-8 weeks is recommended. Keeping a well maintained and healthy lawn will help to prevent weeds from growing in the future.


Scarification is for removal of excess thatch in your lawn or can be used when you have a lot of blackened moss to extract. Thatch is a layer of dead material in between the soil and your grass. You can tell when there is an excess layer through visual inspection and when the grass feels spongey to walk on. A small layer of thatch is fine and can go untreated. Removing excess thatch, like aerating your lawn, will allow your grass to access air, water and nutrients more freely and therefore improve overall health and growth levels.

You can scarify using a spring tine rake or using a mechanical scarifier. A mechanical scarifier is quicker and more effective and can be rented for the day from places like Hire Station or purchased from somewhere such as Screwfix. When you're scarifying make sure to do 2 passes of your lawn in different directions for maximum effectiveness and rake up and dispose of everything you get out of it.

Rake out dead grass/bare patches

If the grass has been scorched through fertiliser misuse or pet urine or if it has been dead for a long time you need to rake it out. If your lawn has been burnt by the sun in periods of drought then most of the time it will become green again through watering/rain. Rake out the scorched areas fully to leave only exposed soil before seeding. You can then rake the seed in gently to the soil. In particularly bad cases you can scarify the entire lawn on a deep setting to extract all the dead grass. If you simply have bare patches or thin areas then loosen the top layer of soil so the seed can be raked into it for maximum seed to soil contact. 

Remove 'weed' grasses

Weed grasses like Poa Annua (annual meadow grass) or Couch Grass (Yorkshire Fog) stand out as a different species of grass to the rest of your lawn and many lawn owners want to get rid of them. These grasses are usually much coarser or different colour to your other grass and form in patches. To get rid of them must dig them out from the root and fill the hole with topsoil and compact until it is level and ready for seeding.