When you want to start your lawn quickly and without much trouble, consider laying sod instead of planting grass seed. You still have to prepare your planting area as if you were going to lay grass seed, but instead of waiting weeks for a usable lawn, you can use your lawn as soon as the sod is laid down. Be aware that sod can become expensive quickly--especially when sodding a large area.
Prepare the planting area by tilling it to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Remove rocks and debris. Rake the soil surface smooth with your garden rake.
Firm up the planting area with a lawn roller. Fill it with water and roll it across the soil.
Unroll the first length of sod along a straight surface like a driveway, sidewalk or planting bed. Keep unrolling lengths of sod while working your way across your lawn.
Stagger the seams of the sod so that your installation looks like the seams on a brick wall. This will lock the sod into place a lot better than if all the seams line up.
Cut sod with a utility knife to install it where odd shapes are needed, or to trim around objects.
Roll sod with your lawn roller to press it into the soil. This will encourage rapid root growth and remove air pockets between the sod and the soil.
Water the sod daily for the first two weeks to keep the soil moist. The duration that you will need to irrigate will depend on local climate conditions. After two weeks, try to lift the sod up from the soil. If it is firmly rooted, you may decrease irrigation frequency to your normal irrigation schedule. Aim for 1 inch of water per week once the sod is established.
Mow your sod as soon as needed to maintain 3 inches in height. Continue to mow at a frequency that you do not remove more than one-third of the grass blade at any given mowing.
Apply fertilizer at a rate of 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in early September, early October and mid-November to encourage root development in your sod.