Starting a new lawn requires deciding between seed and sod. Although sod provides an instant lawn and establishes itself quickly, it is far more expensive than starting from grass seed. Seeding a lawn provides the homeowner a wide variety of grass types, while sod lawns are quite limited. Starting a lawn from grass requires proper site preparation and grass-growing techniques for the best results.
Test the soil of your lawn, using a pH kit. Most lawn grasses require a pH of 6.2 or below for best growth. Add lime or fertilizer to the soil to change the nutrient content and acidity according to the results of your pH test.
Apply an herbicide to prevent the growth of weeds through the new grass seed. This will prevent establishment. Ensure you apply early enough to allow the herbicide to wear off before seeding, as it may kill the seed.
Apply organic matter to improve the quality of the soil, adding 2 to 3 cubic yards of material per 1,000 feet of lawn.
Rake the soil to ensure it is smooth and to expose thin, shallow furrows for the grass seed.
Apply 4 lbs. of seed per 1,000 square feet as a general rule. Divide the seed in half, sowing part of it from east to west, and the other half north to south.
Cover the lawn in a thin layer of straw or mulch to prevent birds, wind and other pests from removing the seed.
Rake after application of the seed to cover it with soil and water the soil, gently, to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Water slowly to prevent washing the seeds away. Water an inch per week until the seeds germinate, then water regularly to keep the soil moist.