In order to grow a successful lawn, carefully prepare the soil to ensure the germination of the grass seed and its growth to maturity. For grass seed to germinate it needs adequate seed-to-soil contact and constant moisture. Young grass then needs frequent watering to mature and develop an extensive root system. The most common mistake is to stop watering when you see grass seed germinate. The young plants will wither and die quickly and you will be left with sparse grass and a mostly barren lawn. Performing the right steps will allow you to successfully grow grass in a yard.
Prepare the seedbed by rototilling the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Fill your lawn roller with water and roll the soil to firm it up. Rake any leftover lumpy areas smooth with your garden rake.
Pour your lawn starter fertilizer into your broadcast spreader and set the dial to the correct setting--it should be indicated on the fertilizer bag. Spread the starter fertilizer over the entire seedbed.
Pour your grass seed into the broadcast spreader. Set the dial according to the indicated setting on the grass seed bag. Spread the seed over the entire seedbed.
Rake the seeds into the top 1/8-inch of the soil. Roll the seedbed with your empty lawn roller to promote adequate seed-to-soil contact.
Set up your lawn sprinklers and water your seedbed two to three times per day for five to 10 minutes per watering. The goal here is to keep the seeds constantly moist. You may need to adjust the watering frequency and duration slightly to achieve this.
Reduce the watering frequency after germination and increase each watering duration. (A sample watering schedule might be one week at one time per day for 20 to 30 minutes, then one week at twice a week for 30 to 60 minutes, then move to deep irrigation at once per week at 60 to 90 minutes in duration.) Ultimately you are working toward putting down 1 inch of water per week using one watering to promote deep root growth. You can use a pan to measure how much water is being applied.
Mow your grass when it reaches 3 inches high. Cut it to 2 inches. Mow it frequently enough so that you never remove more than one-third of the grass blade height at each mowing.