Growing grass from seed requires more work and time than establishing a lawn from sod, but it has its advantages. Sod varieties are often limited, while grass seeds are varied. Selecting the correct grass seed for your soil quality, the area's weather patterns, and how much work is required to keep the lawn healthy are paramount to a successful lawn. A good mixture between turf grass and perennial winter grass will keep the lawn healthy year-round. Choose seed with a low weed seed content, a 90 to 95 percent purity rate and a high germination rate to ensure quality, recommends the University of Illinois Extension.
Test the pH level of the soil to determine the fertilization rate required for the grass seed you chose. pH tests are available at local garden centers and include instructions.
Remove any debris from the area to a depth of 6 to 8 inches depth adding 8 to 10 bushels of organic matter per 100 square feet. This improves water retention and drainage, according to the Clemson University Extension.
Work in the required fertilizer according to the pH test to the top 4 to 6 inches of soil. Use a slow release, complete fertilizer at a rate of 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn.
Level the soil after adding the fertilizer using a water ballast roller.
Place half the seed required for your lawn into your drop spreader. Different seeds have different application rates, so check your variety for how many pounds per 1,000 square feet of lawn is required.
Spread the first half of the seed in one direction of the lawn. Fill the drop spreader with the second half of seed and cross the first application for the best coverage, per the University of Minnesota Extension.
Rake the seed so that it is covered with a 1/4 inch of soil and mulch the area using 60 to 80 pounds of straw per 1,000 square feet of lawn.
Water the seed daily until germinated for about two to three weeks, watering slowly to a depth of 1 inch. Decrease watering once the seeds germinate to two to three times a week, watering deeper to establish good roots.