Planting and maintaining a new lawn is a time consuming and difficult process. Healthy lawns require consistent watering, fertilizing, mowing and in some cases dethaching. Depending on the type of grass desired, the three ways of planting a new lawn are seeds, sod and plugs. Seed is typically found at garden stores and are sown directly onto the soil. Sod is ordered through either a garden store or online and comes as already grown grass pieces. Plugs are little sections of grass that garden shops grow in containers. They are planted at various distances and eventually spread out to fill an entire yard.
Research the type of grasses that are recommended for a specific growing region and determine whether they are available in seed, sod or plugs. Gardening centers will have lists available of the locally grown grasses and can typically recommend local companies for sod or plugs.
Test the soil of the area where the grass will be planted using a soil test kit. Soil test kits can be purchased from gardening centers.
Correct the soil's pH as needed. Most grasses thrive in a mildly acidic soil, typically with a pH of 6.0. If the soil test shows a lower pH, this means the soil is too acidic and limestone should be added to reduce the acidity. The calculation for limestone is 50 lbs per 1000 square feet for every number below 6.0. If the soil has a higher pH than 6.0, then it is too basic and sulfur needs to be added at 20 lbs 1000 square feet for each number above 6.0. Till the soil enhancer into the soil to a depth of roughly 4 to 6 inches.
Add any additional fertilizers that the soil test reveals are deficient in the soil. Examples may include phosphorus, calcium, and iron. Chemical fertilizers can be purchased at garden centers, or organic fertilizers, such as liquid fish fertilizer and molasses, can be used where appropriate.
Plant the particular grass. Seeds should be planted in late summer to early fall with a hand crank.
Spread the seed a quarter of the bag at a time in different directions throughout the entire yard and then lightly rake the entire area to gently move the seed just under the soil.
Roll the lawn with a lawn roller to better secure the seed in the soil and water thoroughly.
Keep the soil moist while the seeds are germinating. Once the seeds have sprouted, watering time can be expanded with the number of waterings reduced depending on the type of grass.
Plant the sod any time of year, with extra care taken during the hottest part of summer.
Unroll the sod over a long, straight part of the yard. Press the pieces together and use a sharp knife to cut anywhere that the sod is too long. Begin watering the sod as soon as the first few pieces have been laid, to encourage the roots to spread.
Roll the sod with a light water roller to ensure the roots are touching the soil underneath. Water the sod three times each day for the first 10 days and then begin extending watering.
Plant the plugs in the prepared soil roughly 6 to 12 inches apart.
Press the soil down around the roots.
Water each plant immediately after planting, and then every other day. Plugs typically take roughly two months to completely fill in a yard.
About this Author
Ann White is a freelance journalist with prior experience as a Corporate and Business Attorney and Family Law Mediator. She has written for multiple university newspapers and has published over 300 articles for publishers such as EHow and Garden Guides. White earned her Juris Doctor from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.