Although bluegrass is often the gold standard by which many suburban American lawns are judged, it is not a U.S. native. Brought to this country by the early colonists, this American favorite is native to Europe, northern Asia, Algeria and Morocco. Because this long-lived, spreading grass forms dense mats of soft, dark green leaves, Kentucky bluegrass is used extensively in the north central and northeastern regions of the U.S., where is it also used as a pasture grass for horses.
Perform a soil test to determine the fertility and pH. Bluegrass, like most lawn grasses, prefers a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. Kits are available at your local nursery or garden shop. You can send samples to your county agricultural extension as well. They will analyze your sample, help you interpret results and make recommendations on soil improvements.
To establish a true bluegrass lawn, start with a clean slate. Remove the old turf and weeds. For small areas, dig out the top layer of sod with a sharp-bladed shovel. Larger areas will require a sod cutting machine, available from most tool rental shops. This machine will remove the old lawn quickly, removing swaths of turf in 14 to 18 inch strips. These strips of sod can be reused in another area of your property or they can be composted and used in the garden.
Improve your soil. Once your grass is established, it is difficult to amend your soil. Based on your soil test results, work the recommended fertilizer and lime into the top 4 to 6 inches of your soil.
Use a rototiller---also available at the tool rental shop---to till and aerate the lawn while mixing the soil amendment to the recommended depth.
Use a rake to level the soil surface. Remove any rocks or large sticks and fill in any low spots. Contour the site to ensure that water drains away from your house.
Use two to three pounds of bluegrass seed per 1,000 square feet. Using a hand or push spreader, broadcast the seed in several passes, changing direction occasionally to encourage even distribution.
Rake the surface of the lawn lightly, covering the seeds with a thin layer of topsoil.
Use a roller---yes, back to the tool rental shop!---so that the seed makes firm contact with the soil.
Bluegrass seeds germinate in 14 to 28 days. Texas A&M University suggests "light, frequent watering, 2 to 3 times per day for the first 2 weeks." After sprouting, continue watering daily in dry conditions. Begin mowing when blades reach 2 inches.