The most economical way to start a lawn is to use grass seed, but a significant amount of time is required to plan, prepare the area, plant and water. The type of grass seed used will depend on the climate. Northern parts of the U.S. should be planted with cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and fescue. Warm-season seed varieties like Bermuda grass, St. Augustine and Zoysia are good for Southern climates. Mixing grass seed types works well because it minimizes the risk of damage from extreme weather or disease. If one type of grass fails, the surviving ones will provide enough coverage to make the lawn look lush and healthy.
Mix the grass seeds in the hopper of the spreader. Spread the seed over the lawn according to the recommended rate stated on the seed package.
Apply half of the grass seed on the first pass over the area. Make a second pass at a right angle to the first to distribute the remaining seed.
Rake the seeded area lightly to cover the seeds with soil. Roll the seeded area with the lawn roller to make sure that all seeds are touching the soil.
Water the seeded lawn gently every day for three weeks. The amount of water you use will depend on the type of soil and grasses. Cool-climate grasses and grasses grown in sandy soil benefit from being watered more often.
Mow the lawn when grass reaches a height of 2 to 2-1/2 inches, cutting to a height of 1-1/2 inches.