Find out if you live in the cool season, warm season or transition zone, which will guide you in selecting grasses.
Take note of the conditions in your planting area: how much sun it gets per day, areas of shade, how well-draining it is and so on.
Contact your local extension office to get instructions on how to have a basic soil test performed on the area you'll be planting. They might have supplies to help you collect and contain the samples (hollow soil probes and container cartons).
Follow the instructions you receive, collecting soil samples and delivering them for testing.
Contact your local extension office for advice on the kinds of grass that have proven to be good growers in your area and how those grasses are likely to perform given your soil condition and planting environment.
Choose the kind of grass or mix of grasses appropriate to your circumstance.
Research and decide whether you'll use seed or sod. Some grasses grow better from sod (for instance, St. Augustine), others are better grown from seed (ryegrass, for instance). Seed is less expensive, but soil might erode before seed is established.
Remove existing growth at the site with an herbicide, according to package directions.
Remove non-soil material such as construction remnants, stone and rocks.
Thoroughly water the site and let it drain for two days.
Roto-till the soil deeply, then water the soil and let it drain again.
Add soil amendments demanded by your soil condition and the needs of the grass you've decided on. This might mean adding organic matter, like compost or manure, or materials to increase or decrease drainage. Apply the amendments to the top of the soil.
Work amendments in deeply, then level the soil by raking it.
Water the soil so it settles and rake again to get rid of rocks or gravel.
Buy the chosen seed or sod.
Seed across your lawn in one direction, using half the seed. Seed in the perpendicular direction using the rest of the seed.
Use a roller over the seeded area.
Apply about an 1/8 inch of compost or manure.
Briefly water the area three or four times a day without creating any puddles. Do this every day until the seeds germinate.
Water less frequently, but a bit more deeply after germination. Understand the needs of the grass type you've chosen.
Apply a high-phosphorous fertilizer to the soil. Don't work it in. Roll over the soil.
If the area isn't straight, run a string across the site as a guide.
Moisten the soil.
Lay sod in rows in brick-wise fashion so that the last strip does not have to be cut less than at least a half-foot wide to fit. Start with the longest straight segment and lay the sod rectangles as close together as possible, making cuts to the sod as you go to get around curves. On slopes, start at the bottom and lay sod perpendicular to the hill. Nail stakes into the sod on steep inclines.
Roll over the sod in lengthwise direction, then crosswise direction.
Water the sod immediately, then briefly water the sod three or four times a day for about two weeks so it doesn't dry out.
Water daily once the sod is anchored in the soil, decreasing to every couple of days as the sod is established.