Planting Kentucky Bluegrass From Seed at Our Abandoned Home

Today I’m sharing our experience with planting Kentucky Bluegrass from scratch at our abandoned home in Northern Colorado. Tips, what we’ve learned, and how our yard compares one year later!

Lush green front lawn with a mint green house after planting Kentucky Bluegrass from seed
Summer 2024

We bought an abandoned, former hoarder home in Northern Colorado last year. This was the picture our real estate agent sent us the day before closing. Yep, that’s our backyard! All 4ft weeds and dirt patches.

Summer 2023

The front yard was slightly better, but still not great.

Front lawn with patchy, dying grass with a mint green house.
Summer 2023, Move-in Week

A few months after moving in, we started to learn more about the house and how poorly it had been maintained. Our neighbor shared this picture of how it looked just a few months before it went on the market.

Backyard of an abandoned home with a popped pool, broken swingset, a fallen ladder, and an overgrown and dead lawn.
Spring 2023

Even more shocking, right?

Our backyard was full of broken glass, broken toys, buried rocks, and 4 foot weeds. We paid someone to mow down the weeds before moving in. Then we got a quote for for new sod, but it was too much for our budget at the time ($3,000).

So we decided to attempt planting kentucky bluegrass from seed to save money.

It was a surprisingly simple process!

Prepping Soil For Planting Kentucky Bluegrass Grass Seed

Step 1: Clean up the yard

Over the course of a few months, we worked to remove all garbage and as much of the landscaping as we could (rocks, edging, broken pavers, etc.).

    A big backyard with lots of dirt, getting ready for planting Kentucky Bluegrass
    Summer 2023

    Step 2: Remove Weeds

    We did not spray the weeds with any kind of weed killer because it can affect the soil and the viability of the new grass. Instead, we raked and pulled them up with our hands.

    Step 3: Till the soil

    Once the yard was clear, we tilled the soil to loosen it up. This helped us get the seeds down into the soil better.

    Step 4: Check your sprinklers

    You’ll be watering your yard a lot in the next few weeks. Make sure your sprinklers are working properly and will cover every part of your yard where you want grass to grow! We had to replace a few sprinkler heads and leaks in our yard. If you don’t have a sprinkler system, create a watering plan.

    Planting Kentucky Bluegrass Seed & Watering Times

    Spring planting is ideal.

    By the time the yard was prepped and ready, we ended up planting grass seed in the middle of summer, in August. Ideally you would plant it earlier in the season because the heat can make it harder to take. But it still took really well for us!

    Be sure to wait until after the last frost before planting.

    Step 5: Spreading The Seed

    Next, we used a manual seed spreader to evenly spread a layer of grass seed. Working in sections, we lightly tilled the soil again so the seed would be just below the soil’s surface.

    Step 6: Cover with straw – optional

    You can add a light layer of straw over the grass seed as a protective measure against birds or wind disturbing your new seeds. This also helps it stay moist, ensuring more sprouts and better germination rate. We chose not to do this but I think it would have really helped!

    Germinating Kentucky Bluegrass

    Step 7: Water, water, water

    Keep the soil most at all times! We set our watering times to twice a day. Once in the early morning and once at night when the temps are cooler. After your seeds start germinating, you can lower your watering times.

    Step 8: Be Patient

    Germinating Kentucky Bluegrass took about 4 weeks. We see little sprouts start about 2 weeks after planting, but it can take longer. First, we saw a green haze over the dirt. We actually thought it was moss or mildew from watering two much. But it was tiny grass sprouts!

    It came in very patchy at first but slowly filled in. This is totally normal.

    A backyard with newly growing grass after planting Kentucky Bluegrass seed
    Summer 2023

    Try to stay off the grass until it’s at least 2 inches tall. You don’t want to damage the little sprouts. Wait until your grass is about 4 inches tall or more before mowing.

    We had lots of weeds sprout alongside our new grass. Again, this is normal! The thicker the grass gets, the less weeds you’ll have. Treating your new lawn for weeds in the future will significantly cut down on this problem too. We’re in our second summer with this new lawn, and we had a lot less weeds this year without even treating for it!

    The benefits of Planting Kentucky Bluegrass From Scratch

    The benefits of sod are undeniable. It’s like having an instant yard. However, the drawbacks are that sod requires a lot of water and still needs good soil prep beforehand. The root system isn’t quite as strong as when you plant from seed.

    Planting kentucky blue grass from seed is more cost effective and is better for your lawn in the long-run. The roots can get deeper and stronger right away, making it more likely to come back and be healthy each year.

    We love this particular type of grass because of it’s rooting system. It spreads quickly at the roots, filing in thin spots and around edging. Without having to plant new grass, we’ve watched our lawn fill in patchy spots all on its own. It grows strong and does well in sun and shade too.

    This grass is so lush and soft! After living in Texas for the last 7 years, this grass feels like a freaking pillow comparatively.

    One Year Later…

    It takes three years for a new grass lawn to mature. I can definitely see why!

    Unfortunately our backyard got torn up in January thanks to needed foundation work. You can see the stripe of dirt right in the middle from it. I also moved some flower beds around, and we had to remove some buried rock along one side of the fence.

    So we have lots of dirt patches again this year.

    We just planted grass seed once more (earlier in the season this time!) to fill in those dirt patches and had our lawn aerated for the first time.

    But you can see the lawn we seeded last year came back healthy, bright, and lush! It’s been filling in really well.

    A large backyard with green grass after planting Kentucky Bluegrass, and a few dirt patches
    Summer 2024

    By the end of the season hopefully we’ll have a fully green backyard.

    Summer 2024

    Our yard was 100% weeds last year, and they still came back with a vengeance. As the grass fills in, the weeds will get less and less. Since we planted new grass in some places we only put down a pre-emergent weed killer in the spring. This definitely helped control the weeds. Next year, we’ll be able to spray the whole lawn for better weed control.

    Planting Kentucky Bluegrass From Scratch

    Growing a new lawn takes time. It’s early in the season but I can already tell that by the end of our summer our yard will be looking top notch.

    If you don’t have the budget for sod or want to try growing your lawn from seed, it is totally doable. It just takes some attention, prep, and lots of patience.

    This was our first time doing this and it’s worked great for us! It saved us about $2500 in the long run.

    What questions or tips do you have for planting Kentucky Bluegrass??

    3 Responses

    1. This’ll be a very helpful post for people who’d like to plant and grow the Kentucky Bluegrass lawn! Love the step-by-step instructions.

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