Tall fescue grass has a unique soft, fine texture. It does well in moist weather with cooler temperatures. Soil that is high in clay is ideal for this grass; however, it is adaptable and can do well in many different types of soil. Tall fescue is quite tolerant to drought, but prefers moisture. The best time to plant tall fescue is in the fall, when temperatures are cooler and the air is somewhat humid. This grass should not be mowed lower than two inches for regular varieties or 1.5 inches for improved turf varieties.
Obtain soil samples from your existing lawn area, and have them analyzed. You can find a professional soil analyzer by asking around at your local garden stores or by searching online. The soil analysis will tell you how rich in nutrients your soil is, how well it will drain, and its pH, which are important factors in setting up a healthy lawn.
Find out from your garden center or your soil analyzer what kinds of supplements your soil may need, and in what amounts. Purchase supplies according to the soil analysis. If the soil is low in nutrients, acquire some organic material such as manure or compost to apply later. If the soil does not drain well, buy some sharp sand or rotted leaves. The acidity of the soil can be reduced with lime, if necessary; the ideal pH is 5.5 to 6.5.
Till the soil in the lawn using the roto-tiller or a tractor-mounted tiller. Remove any large stones or debris as well as any existing grass clumps, and add half of the soil supplements (sand, manure, etc.) that you intend to put into the soil.
Till the soil again, and add the remaining soil supplements. Till the lawn one final time, and rake the lawn until it is level.
Use the lawn seeder or your hands to seed the lawn, distributing six to eight pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet. If you are using your hands, cast one handful of seed to one side and then another handful to the other, making sure that you obtain even coverage.
Rake the lawn gently, covering the seeds with about a fourth of an inch of soil. Use a hand roller to compact the soil slightly and create better conditions for seed germination.
Put straw, biodegradable netting, or another kind of mulch on any slopes where the grass was planted, in order to prevent erosion. You can also use this mulch on the remaining soil to help keep it moist until the fescue germinates. You will remove this mulch as soon as the first seeds sprout.
Water the soil daily for two to three weeks. Avoid mowing until the grass has grown to three inches, and afterwards mow no lower than 1.5 to 2.0 inches above the ground.