Starting a lawn from seed is not as daunting as it may seem at first glance. It is less expensive than purchasing sod and requires a little more elbow grease and patience, but when the grass is established you will not be able to tell the difference. Start a lawn from seed and you will not only end up with extra cash in your pocket, but the positive feeling that comes with a job well done.
Test the pH level of the soil. Purchase a soil testing kit at any home or garden center and use it to check your soil's acidity. In order for grass to thrive, the pH level of your soil should be between 6.0 and 7.5.
Use a shovel to lift out any large rocks or roots that will interfere with sowing the seeds.
Add one inch of sand to the soil using a shovel and wheelbarrow. Then, use a rotary tiller to work it into the soil.
Till compost into the mixture of soil and sand. Again, lay down around an inch of it, then work it into the ground.
Amend the soil to bring the pH level to the correct amount. Depending on the acidity of the soil, you may need to add lime, sulfur, peat moss or another amendment. Fine-particle amendments such as lime can be distributed over the soil with a broadcast spreader. Otherwise, use a wheelbarrow and shovel.
Fertilize the entire planting area. Use a fertilizer formulated for grass seed. Again, you can use the broadcast spreader. Once the fertilizer has been added on top of the amendment (if any), rake it into the soil with a metal rake.
Use a hand-held spreader to sow grass seed over the entire area. This will let you get the seed into corners of the lawn, especially if it is oddly shaped. Use the back of a plastic rake to press the seeds carefully into the soil.