Shade can pose problems for many common grasses. Gardeners looking for a shade-tolerant grass should choose fescue, centipede grass or zoysia grass. The Shade Grass website offers homeowners a list of shade-tolerant grass types broken down by geographic region. The best time to sow grass from seed is in the spring, though homeowners can also plant in the fall before cold temperatures arrive.
Remove any objects from your lawn, including lawn furniture and barbecue equipment. These create additional shade, and failure to move them will result in a patchy, uneven lawn.
Mow over your existing lawn to get it as short as possible, using your lawn mower.
Cover any spotty and uneven patches in your lawn with topsoil to create an even grade across your lawn. If your lawn is completely even, skip this step.
Rake bare patches of soil with a hand rake to loosen the top 1/4 inch of soil before planting grass seed.
Sow grass seed across your lawn by hand or with a lawn spreader.
Scatter 1/4 inch of topsoil across the newly planted grass seed to prevent it from blowing away.
Water the newly planted grass seed until it becomes moist but not sopping. Keep the seed moist by watering briefly each evening until the seeds germinate.