The quickest way to renovate or start a lawn is laying new sod. Establishing a lawn over existing grass is a common practice but still requires preparation. Condition of the soil, the amount of ground exposure, traffic that the area experiences and terrain are all determining factors to the success of establishing sod.
Select a grass variety adapted to the area and conditions for the new lawn. Full-sun grasses such as Bermuda grass and St. Augustine will not do well in shady areas. Also, fescue-type grasses do not tolerate full sun well and should not be planted in these areas. The local county extension office is the best resource for helping determine the optimum sod grass to plant.
Remove or eliminate weeds from the area before further preparation. Either pull the weeds by hand, or use a herbicide, to remove all weeds from the area.
Mow the grass as short as the lawn mower will allow. Rake and remove the cuttings from the area. Expose as much soil as possible with a leaf or garden rake.
Saturate the ground with water. Wetting the area will loosen the top layer of soil, making it easier to skim the surface while raking it. The excess moisture will also help establish the sod.
Lay the sod end-to-end and placed next to one another as tightly as possible. Cover the entire area with sod. Do not leave cracks or gaps between pieces of sod that will allow sunlight to reach the ground below. The weight and coverage of the sod will smother the old grass and deprive it of sunlight.
Soak the newly sod area several times a day for the first week. Apply enough water so that it will penetrate into the soil for several inches below the sod. Roots from the new grass will penetrate down into the soil. Gradually reduce the amount of water during the second and third week, depending on how well the grass is growing.