How to Plant a Lawn

How to Plant a Lawn


Plant a healthy lawn as the centerpiece of your landscape and reap more rewards than beauty alone. You'll enjoy cleaner air and cooler temperatures around the house.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer Analyzer
  • Fertilizers
  • Garden Hoses
  • Level Head Rakes
  • Organic Matter
  • Rototillers
  • Soil Test Kit
  • stolons, sod or grass seeds


Step One

Choose the right type of grass for your climate (see "eHow to Choose a Lawn Grass"). Decide whether you will start with grass seed, stolons or sod.

Step Two

Plant cool-season grasses in early spring or fall. Plant warm-season grasses in late spring to early summer.

Step Three

Test your soil - send a sample to your local cooperative extension service or a private lab, or test it yourself with a home kit. Find out what nutrients you have and lack, what the pH is, and whether or not you need lime or sulphur. (Or just check with neighbors or a nursery that knows local conditions.)

Step Four

Improve the soil by spreading 2 to 3 inches of organic matter, such as compost or ground bark, over the planting area. Also spread a starter fertilizer, which is usually high in potassium and phosphorous, if called for after a soil test.

Step Five

Till the soil to incorporate the organic matter to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Make two or three passes in alternating directions.

Step Six

In dry-summer areas, consider an irrigation system to simplify watering. Place enough sprinklers or hoses and pipes around to irrigate, or have an in-ground system installed.

Step Seven

Smooth the planting area with a leveling rake.

Step Eight

Sow seed, plant stolons or lay sod over the planting area.

Step Nine

Keep areas moist until grass is firmly established (six to eight weeks on average).

Tips & Warnings

  • Much of the equipment needed to plant a lawn can be borrowed or rented from your local nursery or garden center.
  • To make tilling easier, water the area thoroughly three or four days before planting.
  • Keep kids and dogs off the grass until it's at least 1 1/2 inches tall and ready for mowing. Roping off the new lawn area may help keep off intruders.
  • Avoid letting your newly planted lawn dry out, or it may die. You may need to water more than once a day for at least a week or two after planting.

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