Plant a New Lawn Six Steps to Planting a New Lawn
Planting a new lawn is a big job, you may want to tackle this in sections.  You can begin by redoing the worst or most visible lawn areas; then make plans to tackle other areas the following year.  Starting with smaller sections instead of the entire lawn keeps the job manageable and makes the critical step of watering feasible for homeowners who do not have in-ground sprinkler systems.  However, whether you plant a new lawn in stages or all at once, you will need to take the following steps: Read more »

dead-lawn Step 1. Remove Old Turf

The first step is to kill and remove poor-quality turf, which you can accomplish several ways. Solarization: Cut the old lawn as close to grade as possible before you begin.  Solarization kills grass, weeds, and weed seeds by overheating them under a layer of clear plastic.  During warm weather, securely anchor the plastic over the area you want to clear.  You will need two months to achieve the desired effect.  Do not attempt solarization in shady areas, or if you have cool summer nights. Read more »

Toro Dingo with Power Tiller Step 2: Fix Grade Problems

Take the time to fix any existing grade problems, before adding amendments to the soil. For minor grading problems, small versions of earthmoving equipment are often available to rent or buy.  You can also use a landscaping rake for working topsoil to the proper grade. To make minor grade adjustments use a landscape rake. Water the area.  Later, fill where puddles formed using soil from high spots. Read more »  

Amend soil Step 3: Amend the Soil

This is your best opportunity to add amendments such as fertilizer, organic matter, and lime or sulfur.  Use a soil test to determine the best amendments for your particular soil. The best way to test your soil is to send a sample to a Cooperative Extension Service (CSREES), which is usually located at or affiliated with a state university, or to a commercial soil tester.  Read more » 

Rake Smooth and Firm Step 4: Rake Smooth and Firm

Remove stones and vegetative matter brought to the surface during tilling. Rake the area until it is smooth.  Water the ground and check it for puddles.  Read more »


Planting Your Lawn Step 5: Planting Your New Lawn

There are four methods to planting a new lawn: Sod, Seed, Sprigs, and Plugs. Sod: Apply a starter fertilizer high in phosphorus, such as 2:1:1 or 1:1:1 ratio, then lightly water the area.  Have the pallets of sod delivered to a shady spot if possible and begin work immediately upon delivery of your order.  Sod can go bad quickly, especially if it heats up or dries out.  If you cannot start right away, unroll the sod and keep it moist. Read more »

Caring for Your New Lawn Step 6: Caring for Your New Lawn

You have put a lot of work into creating a new lawn, so don’t forget the most important step.  Plan for watering needs before you plant your lawn.  Insufficient water and overwatering are the leading causes of new-lawn failure.  Take precautions to prevent damage.  Minimize play and foot traffic on new and sodded lawns for at least three weeks. Do not fertilize new lawns for at least six weeks. After six weeks, apply a light fertilization of ½-pound nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.  Thereafter, fertilize according to the recommendations given for established lawns. Read more »

compareplantingmethods Compare Various Lawn Planting Methods

Before replanting, spread plastic over the area to let heat kill off old turf.  Seal the edges with boards or soil.  See Six Steps to Planting a New Lawn for further information. Find out the planting method that works best for you, whether you live North or South.
North—Cool Season Grasses: Seeding - Seeding is the least expensive planting option, but requires longer-term care.  The best time to seed cool-season grasses are in the late summer or early fall, when upper soil mean temperatures are between 68 degrees to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.  Read more » 

Understanding Grass Labels Purchasing Seed

There are two ways to purchase grass seed.  One method is to visit the garden section of a retail store and pick out a package labeled with intended use, such as “Shade Mix.”  Alternatively, you can buy the latest cultivars and make up your own mix. Either way you will still need to know the basics about purchasing seed, beginning with the terms species and cultivarSpecies refers to a group of closely related plants that differ from one another in only minor ways.  Tall fescues are one species of lawn grass.  The various members of a species are varieties (which originally occurred in nature) or cultivars (variations that came about in cultivation by deliberate breeding.  Read more »
You may have moved into a new construction home with dirt for a front yard or you may have a lawn suffering from acute soil compaction, rampant weed problems, heavy thatch, or nutrient and organic matter deficiencies.  In either case, it is time to plant a new lawn.  Read more »