There are two types of grass--cool season and warm season. Warm-season grasses are ideal for the southern part of the United States and cool-season grasses are adapted for the northern climates. A small section in the middle of the country is considered transitional, so either type grow well there. Cool-season grasses include bent grass, bluegrass, red fescue and rye grass. Examples of warm-season grasses are Bermudagrass, bahia, buffalograss, centipede, carpetgrass, zoysiagrass and St. Augustinegrass.
Learn the proper growing cycle for your type of grass seed, and plant at the beginning of their growing cycle. Disperse cool-season grass seeds at the start of fall or spring. Plant warm-season grasses at the beginning of summer.
Till the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Loosen it up to add air pockets underground, which helps the grass seed root and spread. Get rid of any debris that may prevent the grass seed from touching soil.
Level the planting area with a rake. If any large soil clumps remain, break them up by hand.
Add sand and compost to make the dirt more fertile and improve drainage. Spread 1 inch of each substance. Till them into the top inch of soil.
Apply a high-quality starter fertilizer. They contain slow-release granules that will gradually feed the seeds. Follow the instructions on the package to determine the setting for the broadcast spreader.
Spread grass seed with a mechanical or hand spreader. For a thick lawn, apply an average of 8 to 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Check the recommended rate on the seed bag. Cut the amount in half and go over the same area twice. This will ensure an evenly-seeded lawn.
Rake over the grass seeds with the backside of the rake gently. Cover the seeds with 1/8 inch of soil to help them germinate faster.
Lay straw on top of the seeded areas to maintain the soil temperature and keep moisture in. Do not completely cover the ground. You should be able to see 1-inch open spots of soil. This will allow sunlight to reach the grass seed.
Keep the grass seed moist but not wet. Water it at least twice a day for intervals of 5 to 10 minutes. Once you see sprouts, cut back and only water it for 15 to 30 minutes once a day.