How To Grow Lush Grass (Overseeding & Starter Fertilizer)

After overseeding the yard and tossing down some fertilizer to get things going, we quickly found ourselves with a full fledged jungle on our hands after a long span of rainy days.

You think I’m kidding…

But what a difference a little mowing makes.

We’re loving the newly coiffed backyard, and we thought we’d explain the quick and easy steps it takes to pull of a lush lawn of your own.

First grab some grass seed (we like tall fescue grass here in VA, but it varies regionally) and some starter fertilizer (meant to be applied when seeding or overseeding). We also like to use a broadcast spreader that you push around the yard to spread the seed and fertilizer. Easy peasy.

Then be sure to water it for at least 15 minutes every other day (or in our case, just happen to get lots of rain over the course of a few weeks). Usually on exactly the seventh day, some tiny green blades of grass will emerge, and within another two weeks the grass will grow to at least three inches, at which time it’s ready to mow. Then just water it as needed during any dry periods and otherwise you’re good to go.

And since we’re talking about the great outdoors, how about a gratuitous picture of our hot pink azaleas?

Anyone looking for the perfect flowering shrub, look no further. Azaleas border our house on all sides and we get about three solid weeks of pink and white blooms every spring. The rest of the year the bushes are just cute and green and since we’re far enough south they’re evergreens (which means they don’t drop their leaves in the winter) which is a major plus.

Oh and remember the table we built for the sunroom? We’ve been getting tons of use out of it now that mother nature has started showing off. We love eating dinner out there, and on one rare day John even got to work from home from that very spot. Tough life, eh?


  1. Roxy says

    Hi guys!!

    Great job with the lawn!! That’s a project we need to start this weekend. One question that Dave and I had about your stained concrete floor in the sun room, what preparations were done before you applied the stain. Our sun room has nasty blue carpet from the previous owner and we would like to snazzy it up a bit by adding a stain in a cool color.

    Roxy & Dave :)

  2. YoungHouseLove says

    Hey Roxy & Dave,

    The sunroom floor was a pretty easy project actually. First rip up the old carpet. Then asses the concrete floor under it. Is it stained? Cracked? Peeling? If so, you’ll want to pick an opaque concrete stain (which will completely cover the concrete- as opposed to a transparent stain, which partially covers the floor like a whitewash). We were lucky enough to have pretty good concrete under the previous owner’s nasty carpet, so we went with a transparent stain for an imperfect and casual finish.

    You’ll also want to pick up TSP (a floor cleaner that will prep your concrete for the stain, kind of like primer does with paint). Then use a roller to apply the TSP followed by the stain as directed (but make sure you get all the loose fluff off the roller with tape beforehand). We found both TSP and our “Tuscan Gold” concrete stain at Home Depot. Good luck with the sunroom… and be sure to send us before and after pics!


  3. says

    Here’s hoping our grass comes up as well as yours did! We had reasonable success last fall, but it’s still falling below freezing here at night, so I can’t leave the sprinklers and timer on yet!

  4. YoungHouseLove says

    Hey Gina,

    Thanks! We didn’t know a thing about yards until we got this house on almost an acre of land. Then boy did we have to learn fast. Seeding is when you lay down grass seed for the first time on dirt or top-soil to start a lawn from scratch while overseeding is when you apply a smaller amount of grass seed over an existing lawn to make it more dense and lush (or in our case, to cover the bare spots).

    We plan to overseed at least once a year to keep the yard looking nice and thick. It’s really not much of a project and Burger seems to enjoy our efforts.


    p.s. Jennifer, our fingers are crossed for your lawn… I bet it’ll be green and jungle-esque in no time.

  5. Dan says


    I’m glad you explained the difference between seeding and overseeding – I totally thought that meant you had just put way too much down!!

    Beautiful lawn, I’m so jealous. Except that I wouldn’t take care of one myself.


  6. Kelli says

    Wow, I’m surprised the lawn mower was able to get through that! It looks so lush now. And all the azaleas and flowering plants look so beautiful. Like a woodland paradise! :P

  7. YoungHouseLove says

    Dan- You’re totally right about the overseeing thing. I went back and reread the post and it sounds like we just dumped too much seed on the yard and the jungle sprung up as a result. Too funny.

    Kelli- Yeah, we were surprised the mower could handle all that grass, too. It was so thick in some parts John had to do the whole forward-backward-forward maneuver to unclog the mower, but we’re just glad to get that jungle back under control.


  8. Katy says

    Your lawn does look DREAMY! Great job.

    Question — did you have to do anything to prepare the lawn before you “overseeded”? (and, yes, I too thought that meant you’d gotten a little frisky w/ the grass seed :-)

    Our grass looked terrible at the end of the season. We live in a neighorhood where people keep their lawns looking like ‘Augusta National,’ and I refuse to be the sad lawn on the street again this year!

    My funds are limited, though, so I need to find the most economical way to do it.

    Thanks to you two loveable cheapskates in advance!

    XO, Katy

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Katy,

      All we did before overseeding was cut the grass pretty low (not too low or you’ll have a bald lawn, just a good pass with the mower on a slightly lower setting will do). Then your bare spots are exposed and the seed that you put down will have more places to take root (instead of bouncing off your grass and landing in your garden- which is so annoying!). If you have any particularly compacted areas of dirt (where it seems rock-hard and it might be difficult for a seed to penetrate) you may want to use a metal rake or shovel to rough up the dirt a bit for seed traction. You don’t need to go deep or anything, seed just lays right on top of the dirt. Then just overseed and water lightly to get things going (being sure to water 15 mins a day each day after that for at least 2 weeks to a month). Mowing the grass when it reaches three inches is recommended but of course we missed that bar in the pictures above. Hope it helps!


  9. Teresa Bristol says

    Hey guys – Love your hot pink azalea! I have never been a fan of azaleas because the put on such a beautiful show for such a short time and then the blooms are gone :( However- I planted 2 ENCORE azaleas (brand name) this past spring and I had beautiful deep pink flowers from spring until the first frost. Talk about a lovely plant for color and vibrancy. Give them a shot – they come in array of colors and are disease & pest resistant. Only need a little water each day and some acidity to your soil :) Teresa, Virginia Beach VA

  10. Priscilla says

    just curious how big your yard is and how many people you had for your wedding? we’re planning a backyard wedding as well for about 75 people and it looks just about your size perhaps slightly larger.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hmm, we have almost an acre of land, but the area for the ceremony was probably about 80 feet long by 40 feet wide and the area where we had the reception was probably around 50 x 40. Hope it helps!


  11. Rachel says

    Thanks for the ideas! We have lived in our house for about a year and our back yard butts up to a wooded area. The back yard is in horrible shape; we have so many weeds from the wooded area. We put weed-and-feed down, but it doesn’t seem to help. We basically have no grass just weeds in the back. Any ideas?

    Thanks (as always)! Love your blog and your tips and tricks!

    • says

      Eeks I have no idea! Maybe weeding sections at a time to make it more manageable or even renting a roto-tiller from Home Depot and churning up the dirt and then planting grass seed in the fall? Hope it helps!


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