How Much Grass Seed Do You Need Per Square Foot?

By Brian Mounts | Feb 15, 2020
How Much Grass Seed Do You Need

If you’re a homeowner, whether new or old, have you ever wondered what the correct amount of grass seed for your lawn was? It’s true, you can kind of eyeball the spread of grass seed in fistfuls, and you don’t necessarily need a scientific measurement to determine how to throw a couple seeds onto the ground. But having a baseline can still help quite a bit.

Knowing how much grass seed you need per square foot of your land is the difference between having a lush, even, densely filled lawn and one that’s patchy and tufty as a result of uneven grass seed spread. In line with that, this article will teach you how to figure out exactly how much grass seed you need per square foot.

Before we move on, however, the short answer is: While it will depend on where you live, what your climate generally is like, and what the specific breed of grass seed that you use is, you should likely be going for a couple pounds of grass seed per 1,000 square feet; generally no more than five pounds at the most.

What Factors Should You Consider?

Factor #1: Breed of grass seed

Depending on the breed of grass seed you go with, the amount you’ll need per square foot has the potential to differ widely. There are calculators available online to figure out how much grass seed you need, and you can also always eyeball it — but figuring out the correct amount shouldn’t be particularly difficult either.

Almost all brands of grass seed, whether you buy them online or in a brick and mortar home improvement store, will have an area on the label or the package stating how much is an appropriate amount. This breed of Smart Seed Sun And Shade from Pennington, for example, specifies a rate of 6 pounds/1,000 square feet for new lawns, and 3 pounds/1,000 square feet when overseeding an existing lawn. Kentucky bluegrass seed, on the other hand, might only require 1 to 2 pounds for every 1,000 square feet.

This is also more or less the easiest way to determine a good baseline for spreading seed, as you’ll get a concrete number right on the label of whatever brand of grass seed that you buy. That said, there are obviously other factors to take into account, such as climate and where you’re placing the seed, so it’s a good strategy to take this number as a guideline, and then adjust it slightly depending on your needs and your location.

Factor #2: Shady or sunny?

Not all blends or breeds of grass seed are equally good at growing in the same places. Some blends of grass are strictly designed for shady areas, while others will prosper only when sown in sunny, consistently well-lit areas of your lawn.

As such, the rate of distribution may vary, depending on whether your seed is designed for shady or for sunny locations, as well as exactly what that bag of grass seed is comprised of. Is it a pure breed of grass, or is is a mix of different kinds? What different breeds are included, and do they have separate spread rates per 1,000 square feet? Is there anything else in your bag of grass seed besides the seed itself, like fertilizer or hay, and does that content affect the amount you should spread by area?

Factor #3: Reseeding or new lawn?

Though you might think that there would be one concrete number for all situations, the fact is that seeding a new lawn is a totally different situation from reseeding an existing lawn. If you’re working with an existing lawn, you’ll likely require half as much seed as you would otherwise — in other words, quite a significant difference.

Because of that, remember to read the label of any brand of grass seed carefully. If it only offers one number, make sure you figure out whether that number is for reseeding or for working with fresh, new soil. Failing to do so could mean you dramatically over- or under-seed your lawn, which will likely result in patchiness and an unattractive spread of grass despite even your best efforts.

Does Season Or Climate Affect How Much Grass Seed You Need Per Square Foot?

Here’s the good news: generally speaking, you don’t need to worry about seasonal or climate effects on the amount of grass seed you sow per square foot. In general, as long as you’re paying attention to the directions listed on your given package of grass seed and you’re sowing it at the correct time and temperature, you won’t necessarily need to worry about what climate you’re growing it in.

With that said, it is important to take a close look at the label on your bag of grass seed. If you try to sow cool-season grass at the beginning of summer, for example, it probably won’t go too well for you, no matter how many pounds of grass seed you put down per square foot, or how much fertilizer and hay you lay on top of it to promote growth.

In general, the given measurements for grass seed per square foot on any breed of grass seed only apply if you sow it during its intended season and with the correct conditions (moisture, soil, light and temperature) for the seed to properly germinate. In that sense, sowing your seed during the correct season and when temperatures prove favorable is indeed important. It’s the only way you’ll know that your measurements are accurate and likely to produce the kind of yield you want for your next season’s grass.

What Are Some Ballpark Measurements?

In general, as long as you go for a couple of pounds of grass seed per 1,000 square feet of soil, you should be in the clear. Remember, though, that reseeding only requires about half as much seed as laying down a new lawn, so don’t go too overboard if you already have some grass to work with.

In general, most grass seeds won’t advertise more than five pounds for 1,000 square feet. 3-4 pounds is often a good range for seeding a new lawn, and 1-2 pounds/1,000 square feet is often around the recommended amount for reseeding.

In any case, remember to check the label of your grass seed before you go out and start the process; there’s no need to guesstimate how much you need if the answer happens to be right in front of you the whole time.

See my full grass growing guide here for more helpful tips – no opt-in needed.

Is It Possible To Put Down Too Much Grass Seed?

Yes, it is very possible to put down too much grass seed. In fact, putting down an excess of grass seed might mean that you end up with a less desirable outcome than you wanted for your lawn.

It’s kind of illogical, right? You’d think that the more grass seed you put down, the likelier the chance of having a lush, full-bodied lawn as the seeds sprout and grow. But unfortunately, that isn’t quite the case. Simply put, there’s no extra benefit to putting more seeds into your soil than you need.

That’s because no matter how many individual seeds you till into the earth, they’re all competing for a finite amount of resources in the same soil: water, nutrients, nitrogen, sunlight. When you lay down an excess of grass seed, those resources get spread slightly too thin among all the competing seeds. Rather than having a nice, evenly spread lawn, you may get uneven growth as some areas get choked by the simple surplus of seeds.

If anything, you should seed at the rate listed on your bag of grass seed, or maybe even slightly lower. Even though it’s counter-intuitive, doing so will allow for the individual seeds to spread out and get an adequate supply of nutrients. That ensures that even if there are less seeds total, the ones you do have will grow tall and strong enough that your lawn will still look the way you want it to.

Plus, even if you underseed by a slight bit, it shouldn’t be a big deal. You can always come back next season and fill in the gaps with a little extra seed once you have at least a sparse, steady growth going. Overseeding, however, may ruin your hard work in the first place.

Of course seeding thicker will be more successful if you fertilize properly. Starter fertilizer will help establish strong root growth. See this post for more on the differences between liquid lawn fertilizers and granular lawn fertilizers.


Basically, the correct amount of grass seed per square foot will vary depending on the breed of grass, the season you’re sowing it in, as well as whether or not you’re seeding for a totally fresh lawn. Generally speaking, however, the number will be around a few pounds (between one and five) for every 1,000 square feet.

If you’re confused, or if that’s too vague a guideline for you, then don’t worry. Finding the amount of grass seed you need by area isn’t actually too difficult, honestly. Just take a quick look at the label on your bag of grass seed. Or, if you don’t still have the original bag with you, look up the manufacturer online and find the specific variant that you have. You should be able to find a concrete number in pounds/1,000 square foot that will let you know exactly how much to use.

Also, don’t forget to seed in moderation. If you overseed, it’ll just have the opposite effect and make your lawn thin and scraggly. Either way, don’t sweat the small stuff; just find that number (or go with a ballpark measurement of a couple pounds per 1,000 square feet), get out there, and start contributing to your new lawn’s progress. It’s easier than it sounds, we promise!

Last parting thought – If you plan on installing a trampoline in your newly seeded lawn make sure to read our article on maintaining a lawn with sprinklers and a trampoline here.