If you want an instant new lawn, the best way to accomplish this is to lay sod. Before laying new sod, prepare the soil by adding organic matter and rototilling it. This will ensure that your new sod lawn takes hold and begins to grow quickly.
Measure the area where the sod will be installed. If it is irregularly shaped, divide your yard roughly into squares or rectangles. Measure each square or rectangle. Multiply the length times width to calculate the square footage of each area. Add the total area of all squares and rectangles together to arrive at the total square footage of the yard. Divide this total by nine to calculate the total square yards of sod to purchase. Add an extra 10 percent to the total for insurance.
Prepare the soil. Spread 1 inch of compost and 2 inches of sand on the surface of the soil. Incorporate them into the soil by rototilling the area. Set the tines of the tiller at their deepest level. Push the rototiller slowly in straight lines, slightly overlapping each pass to ensure that you don't miss any part of the lawn.
Rototill a second time, walking in lines perpendicular to the direction you tilled during the first pass.
Rake the soil smooth.
Install sod beginning along the straight edge of a driveway or sidewalk. Unroll the rolls of sod as you use them so they don't dry out. Butt the short edges against each other as you lay one row, then move on to the next row. Place the edges of each row of sod right next to the adjacent edge so there are no gaps. Stagger the ends of the rolls of sod so the ends don't match up from row to row. Cut sod with an old knife.
Install sod on a hillside by laying it across the slope of the hill rather than up and down the incline. To keep the sod from shifting, push small wooden pegs into the corners of the piece of sod, pushing them into the ground far enough so they are below the cutting blades of the lawn mower.
Roll over the newly-laid sod with a lawn roller. This will help ensure the roots of the sod have good contact with the soil. Push the roller across the lawn in straight lines that are perpendicular to the direction the rolls of sod were laid out. Slightly overlap each pass so you don't miss any areas.
Water the newly-laid sod with an overhead lawn sprinkler immediately after it is laid and 2- to 3-hours a day for the next two weeks. Continue this until the roots of the sod grow into the soil below. Thereafter, provide your new lawn with the equivalent of an inch of rainfall per week.
Fertilize newly-laid sod in spring if it is installed in late fall. Apply fertilizer in fall if the sod is laid in spring or summer. Thereafter, apply regular lawn fertilizer in spring and fall, following the manufacturer's recommended rates of application.