lawn ball

How to Grow Lawns

Maintaining lush, healthy lawns takes patience, consistent care, and a bit of know-how. 
Whether you’re nurturing an existing lawn or planning to sow a new one, we have some essential tips to help.

Best Time to Plan or Repair a Lawn

When repairing or planting a lawn, timing is everything. Aim for autumn or spring, when the soil is warmer, so grass seed germination is more successful.

Selecting The Right Grass

Selecting the right grass seed is an important first step in lawn care. Think about your lawns purpose: will it be a playground for pets and children, a walkway, or simply for show? This will help decide the best type of grass to suit.

Mix It Up: For a resilient lawn year-round, sow a mixture of grass seeds, as some do well in summer and others in winter. The only time you would stick to one type of grass is in more shaded areas. 
Some grass seeds also do better in various parts of the country so talk to your local garden centre for the best grass types for your climate and needs.

Use Good Quality Lawn Soil

A healthy lawn literally starts from the ground up. Assess your existing soil – is it well-draining or prone to waterlogging? You might need to improve drainage, and your local garden centre can help with solutions like coils and pipes. Gypsum can also help. 

Always use good quality lawn soil like our Daltons Premium Lawn Soil, Garden Time™ Lawn Soil or Ready To Grow Lawn Soil (depending on where you buy your Daltons products from) or try our bulk lawn soil via our Landscape Supply Yards.

Sowing A New Lawn

Preparation is key to successful to ensure even seed germination. 

  1. Check the site’s drainage, making sure there are no wet spots. You also don’t want the lawn to be too perfectly flat, ideally, a slight angle of 1-2 degrees sloping away from the house/structures will let water drain and not puddle in the lawn. 
  2. Spread copious amounts of Daltons Premium Lawn Soil, to ensure an even spread and improve drainage and soil quality.
  3. If your pre-existing soil is heavy clay, add 60-80mm of topsoil above existing ground level. If the soil is of reasonable quality, a depth of 50-60mm should suffice. This topsoil will help the roots become established. 
  4. Rake, level and lightly compact soil before sowing your lawn seed. If there are indentations in pre-existing grounds, use a light roller to even it out, then follow the sowing tips below.

Steps for Sowing Lawn Seed:

  1. Sprinkle the seed in an even pattern walking away from the starting point so you are not standing on the seed.
  2. Apply grass seed to the surface of the soil, do not cover with topsoil as the seed is very fine and will not germinate well if covered.
  3. When sowing the initial grass seed hold back 15-20% of the seeds to allow for over-sowing if there are areas that have not germinated well.
  4. Grass seed should germinate (depending on soil temperatures and moisture) 7-10 days after sowing. 
  5. When the newly emerged grass has reached 80mm high the first cut can be made. Gradually adjust the mower setting with each cut until you reach your desired grass height.
When to Sow and Preparing your Site

Repairing Patches In Existing Lawns

Patches can be caused by grass grub or a fungal disease, but check your lawn isn’t being used by animals in the neighbourhood, especially dogs. 

  1. To fix patchy grass, repair the infected areas in spring or autumn by removing grass and soil around the infected area (at least 15cm beyond it). 
  2. Apply Daltons Premium Lawn Patching Gold which contains everything you need in one bag (seed, soil and fertiliser) to the area and lightly water.

If patches are large or severe, it may be better to start fresh and replace the entire lawn. Remove all existing grass and follow the instructions outlined in the "Sowing A New Lawn" section above.

Ongoing Lawn Care

When mowing your lawn, catch your clippings and remove them – add them to your compost bin in small and regular amounts or work it into the existing soil in your flower or vegetable garden. Sharpen mower blades regularly to ensure a clean cut.

Dethatching Lawns
Thatch is a layer of dead fibrous material between grass roots and foliage and is usually only found in long established lawns. If it is too thick, it can hinder moisture and fertiliser penetrating the soil and diseases can quickly become established. Regular dethatching by lightly scouring your lawn with a rake or using a dethatcher on your mower helps reduce any serious build up. 

Fertilising Lawns

Keep your lawn looking its best by regularly nourishing it with lawn-specific fertiliser. Don't forget to water it in well after each application. 

Existing Lawns
Nourish established lawns by applying Daltons Premium Lawn Fertiliser every three to four weeks from October until Christmas (avoid the hot summer months). Begin applications again from late February to late April.

New Lawns
Avoid fertilising lawns when they are very new – don’t start until they have a mature appearance.

Watering Lawns

Lawns need plenty of water to thrive and stay lush and green.

Existing Lawns
Maintaining your lawn is summer can be a challenge as most of us struggle with water restrictions and the high cost of water. 
If this is the case, just do the minimum and let the grass grow a little longer to cope with drought conditions until cooler autumn temperatures arrive. 

If water access is not an issue, irrigate during the cooler hours of the day i.e., early morning or early evening.

New Lawns
Water new lawns regularly where required to ensure the soil remains constantly moist, but do not overwater or let them dry out. 

Moss Lawn

Pests and Diseases

Generally, lawns do not suffer from many diseases if they are well maintained and fertilised regularly, although there are a few issues that can be frustrating:


Fungal Growth, Porina Caterpillars, Grass Grub, Brown Patches  
Lawn problems such as fungal growth, porina caterpillars, grass grub, brown and patchy lawns and even birds, can be a challenge. Read our Q&A’s for specific help.

Moss in lawn
Moss is common in lawns, particularly during winter due to excess water and lack of sunlight. To reduce moss, improve lawn drainage and sunlight exposure by trimming shading trees and removing unnecessary structures. Applying Iron Sulphate can also help and will darken the colour of your lawn.

Unfortunately, the invasion of weeds is impossible to avoid as many of the fine weed seeds are blown onto the lawn by the wind. Read our Q&A’s on weeds, especially Dandelions and Oxalis. Consistent lawn care and fertilisation promote thick, dense grass growth, minimising weed infestation.

Gardening Terms Explained

Free draining soil: Soil that is light and well broken up. Water can penetrate the soil and drain without pooling.
Waterlogged soil: When water builds up in the soil and is unable to drain away freely.
Oversow: To sow seed again where it has already been sown or on an existing lawn.