Having a home near the beach sounds great and all— until you realize there’s a reason all those vacant beachfront properties don’t have lush green yards.

It takes some work to get grass to grow in sand!

All hope isn’t lost. Here’s exactly how we can help your grass grow in sandy soil.

RELATED: Top 7 Florida Lawn Care Tips for Homeowners

How To Figure Out if Your Soil is Sandy

yard with sandy soil

You’ll know if you have sandy soil because your soil will be— well—  sandy. It’ll have a gritty texture and be gray, white, or light brown in color. 

To identify if you have sandy soil, you can perform a simple squeeze test. Grab a handful of damp soil and squeeze it into a ball. 

Sandy soil won’t hold its shape and crumbles easily. 

If your soil falls apart like a delicate sandcastle— you’ve got sandy soil.

RELATED: Organic Fertilizer vs Chemical Fertilizer: Why 1 is Better For Your Family Yard

Can You Grow Grass on Sandy Soil?

yard with sandy soil

Yes, you can still grow grass on sandy soil! 

While sandy soil presents challenges, it also offers unique opportunities. Grasses that adapt well to well-draining soils can flourish in sandy environments.

But before you can help your grass adapt, you have to understand what problems your soil is causing, like the fact that :

  • Losing Nutrients Fast: Nutrients in your sandy soil evaporate about as quickly as a raindrop on a hot sidewalk (e.g., it won’t hold for long).
  • Water Drains Too Quick: Your grass struggles to stay hydrated because water doesn’t stick around. It’s like trying to cup water in your hands. It’ll hold on for a bit, but eventually, it’ll all drain through your fingers. 
  • Risk of Soil Washout: Even if you add soil to the mix, it’ll likely get carried away during Florida’s constant rain. That’s why when you add fertilizer to your sandy soil makes a HUGE difference (more on that in a bit).
  • Crazy Temperature Changes: If you’ve ever been to the beach during the day, you know that sand can get HOT. However, that same stretch of beach sand can feel cool under your feet during a moonlit stroll on the beach. It works the same for your sandy soil: hot during the day and cool at night. Which is super confusing (and stressful) for your lawn. 
  • Trouble Growing Roots: Because the topsoil drains fast during the rainy season, the constant lack of nutrients, and the inconsistent temperature, it’s hard for your grass to grow strong roots in sandy soil.
  • Soil’s a Bit Sour: Sandy soil can be a bit too acidic, which is another reason why it crumbles in your hand like a rock of dry clay. And if you add leaves to the mix, you’ve got a recipe for an extremely dehydrated lawn!
  • Dries Up Fast: The ground dries out super quickly, making plants sad.

Alright so…

How do you grow grass in sandy soil?

Here are 4 ways you can fix your sandy lot so that you can live near the beach and still have luscious green Bermuda:

1. Amend the Soil with Organic Matter

First, you want to give your soil a good topcoat. We recommend doing this with organic fertilizer. 

What is the best organic fertilizer for grass in sandy soil?

We always recommend organic fertilizers (I mean… have you seen our name?).

But we’ll go as far as to say they are a must for our beachfront homeowners.

There are two benefits to this:

  1. You’ll have less work because the organic stuff releases nutrients gradually (you’d have to spray way more often with chemical fertilizer)
  2. Your grass will last because this organic compost fosters long-term soil health. 

Here are some excellent choices!

2. Choose the Right Grass Seed

You want a grass type that can grow deep, deep roots to securely anchor your grass. 

Even if your lawn has a crumbly base and tends to wash away nutrients quicker than a dandelion in the wind. 

What kind of grass grows best in sandy soil?

Bermuda is a Florida fav, but just in case it doesn’t quite meet your property’s perfect conditions, here are the best types of grass for sandy soil:

  1. Bermuda Grass: Known for its exceptional drought tolerance, Bermuda is a great choice for quickly growing a dense, rooted carpet.
  2. Zoysia Grass: It’s phenomenal in the heat and drought resistance.
  3. Buffalo Grass: Requires minimal water and maintenance, making it an eco-friendly choice for a sandy lawn.
  4. Centipede Grass: Thrives in well-drained soils, making it suitable for sandy environments. It boasts low maintenance requirements and a vibrant green color.

3. Water LESS

Sandy soil’s quick drainage can lead to moisture loss. 

To combat this, you actually want to water your lawn LESS, but deeply. 

Deep watering means applying a significant amount of water infrequently so the water can soak deep down into the soil. 

This encourages grass roots to grow deeper because it’s seeking moisture in the lower soil layers.

RELATED: Exactly HOW Long Should I Water My Lawn in Summer?

4. Use Mulch for Moisture Retention

Mulching helps retain moisture, regulates soil temperature, and prevents erosion. 

You can use a layer of:

  • Organic mulch
  • Straw or 
  • Shredded leaves

Can You Just Sprinkle Grass Seed on Lawn?

Simply sprinkling grass seed directly onto your lawn would be great! But successful germination requires a bit more finesse. 

Follow these steps for optimal results:

1. Soil Preparation:

Rake the soil surface to create a fine texture, removing any debris or clumps. This provides an ideal environment for seed-to-soil contact.

We also recommend adding an organic fertilizer before seeding!

2. Choose the Right Time to Seed:

Optimal seeding times vary based on the grass type. Generally, early fall or late spring provides favorable conditions because the rain won’t wash away the nutrients. 

3. Use a Seed Spreader:

Use a seed spreader for even distribution. This ensures uniform coverage and prevents over-seeding in certain areas.

4. Protect and Nurture:

Cover the seeded area with a thin layer of straw or mulch to protect against erosion and retain moisture. 

Basically, your lawn will look like this:

how to grow grass in sandy soil

You’ll want to provide regular care and attention so your grass can burrow its way deep into your sandy soil!

Are you sick of trying to understand all this lawn stuff? Keep your fingernails clean, and let us take care of it for you!