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How to Redo a Lawn

By Faith McGee
Redo cool season lawns in fall and warm season lawns in spring.
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Redoing or starting a new lawn is called for if your turf grass problems are severe. Planting new grass seeds may not be sufficient to fix the problem; homeowners must identify and address the underlying issues that led to the grass demise. Thick thatch, soil compaction and a high weed population prevent new grass from establishing. Homeowners must prepare the soil for grass seeds for a successful, thick-growing turf.

Spray your lawn with a broad-spectrum herbicide that contains glyphosate to remove existing grass. Glyphosate kills existing turf by inhibiting its ability to produce proteins. Wait at least two weeks before sowing grass seeds.

Push a power dethatcher across the lawn to remove dead grass and thick thatch. A thick-thatch layer of over 1/2 inch contributes to poor grass root establishment and prevents grass seeds, which must have adequate soil contact, from germinating. Rake up the dead lawn debris.

Push a core aerator over the lawn. Core aerators remove plugs of soil to increase airflow and soil drainage.

Pour starter fertilizer into a rotary spreader and distribute over the yard. Starter fertilizer is high in phosphorous, which encourages strong grass seedling development. Distribute a starter fertilizer with a NPK amount of 5-10-5 at a rate of 20 lbs. per 1,000 square feet. Work the starter fertilizer into the first 2 to 4 inches of soil.

Broadcast grass seed over the soil. The amount that you distribute depends on the type of grass you are growing. For instance, Kentucky bluegrass is distributed at a rate of 2 to 3 lbs. per 1,000 square feet. Cover the grass seed with 1/8 inch compost. Water the lawn.


Things You Will Need

  • Herbicide
  • Dethatcher
  • Rake
  • Fertilizer
  • Rotary spreader
  • Grass seed
  • Compost


  • Keep the soil moist while the grass seeds are germinating. Dry soil prevents grass seed germination.


  • Avoid planting grass seed in the summer. Grass seed has a difficult time germinating and spreading when temperatures are hot.