Achieving success with seeding a lawn depends on the physical condition of the soil along with its chemical composition. Taking the time to prepare the soil and planting area properly will produce a more desirable outcome once the grass is seeded. The benefits of planting seed over using sod is that seed is less expensive and it allows you to choose a specific seed variety based on your particular light conditions and soil. A seeded lawn also has a durable root system.
Loosen the soil and existing vegetation with the tiller. Remove all vegetative growth and rocks from the planting area. Smooth the area with a rake and fill in any low areas with topsoil.
Test the soil pH prior to seeding the lawn. Use a home pH test kit to verify the pH is between 6.5 and 7.0.
Add limestone to the planting area to increase the pH number if is lower than 6.5 to 7.0. Add ground rock sulfur to lower the pH if it is higher than 7.0. Rake the amendment into the top 1 to 2 inches of soil. Roll the entire lawn area with a lawn roller filled half full of water for weight.
Apply a lawn starter fertilizer to the soil surface, making sure it does not contain a weed controller as this will prevent germination.
Apply grass seed to the lawn area using a broadcast lawn seeder. Set the seeder to drop 10 seeds for each square inch. Push the seeder in straight lines across the lawn to get an even application of seed throughout the area. Make a second pass across the lawn to create a criss-cross pattern. This will maximize the seed coverage.
Rake the seeded lawn with the back side of the rake to gently push the seed into the soil 1/8 of an inch.
Gently sprinkle the lawn with water for 10 minutes to moisten the soil. Apply straw mulch over top of the seed to prevent seed loss and assist with moisture retention during germination.
Water the lawn for 10 minutes twice a day for the first two weeks. Continue to water the lawn for three to four weeks at a rate of 30 minutes a day each morning after grass sprouts are visible.
Remove the straw mulch with a rake once the grass seed has sprouted and grown to a height of at least 2 inches.