A lush green lawn is every homeowner's dream. Not only does a well-maintained lawn enhance the appeal and look of the house and surrounding landscape, but it also reflects the effort involved in preparation and upkeep. Preparing the dirt to put in lawn seeds can get tedious and physically challenging, but this part is essential for laying a strong foundation for your lawn, and plays a key role in its success or failure. If executed properly, you will reap the benefits for years to come.
Remove any weeds, sod, stumps, stones and debris from the area you want to grow lawn seeds. Lift any objects bigger than 2 inches with a shovel and collect them in a wheelbarrow to dispose of later. Although removing weeds is an ongoing process, pulling them out in the beginning will prevent them from competing with your grass in the initial stages of growth.
Use a rototiller to break up and aerate existing soil at least 3 to 4 inches down. This will also help break large clods of soil into small pieces, thus ensuring the seeds establish themselves well.
Rough grade the area to make sure there are no low spots that could form puddles of water and impede grass growth. Also keep the slope of your house in mind to make sure drained water will not enter your house. You may have to contact a professional landscaper if significant grading is required.
Place a sample of the soil in a container or zipper bag and send it to your local nursery or garden supply center to have it tested for its pH level. This will give you an idea of what soil amendments you need to add to the dirt to promote healthy grass. A pH level between 6.0 and 7.0 is suitable for most grass types. Add sulfur to lower the pH, or lime to raise it.
Mix equal amounts of soil conditioners such as compost and phosphorous-rich fertilizer or other organic matter in a large bucket and pour 2 to 3 inches of it over the dirt. These improve soil quality and provide the necessary nutrients to promote rich growth.
Rake or till the area to ensure the nutrients go deep into the soil. Level the area with the back of a spade for a small area, or use a lawn roller if the lawn area is large.