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Home > Yard & Garden > How to Start a New Lawn

How to Start a New Lawn

By Karin Mangan
How to Start a New Lawn

Anyone can have a beautiful lawn if they have healthy soil. Begin by grading the area so that it looks nice and has good drainage. Remove sticks, stones, weeds, and old grass. You can use a flat shovel, herbicide, or sod cutter.

  • Break up the soil with a tiller.
  • Before amending the soil, check the soil's pH level, as most lawn grasses prefer a pH of between 6 and 7.5. If the pH isn't acidic enough, add sulfur or fertilizers containing ammonium-N. If the soil isn't alkaline enough, apply lime.
  • Spread a lawn fertilizer.
  • Add compost.
  • Till the soil again to a depth of 6 inches.
  • Rake the area to level it and then use a water-filled drum roller to finish leveling.

Sod or Seed?

After the ground is ready, you can either lay sod or grass seed.

If you choose to lay sod -- which is more expensive, but gives you an instant lawn -- work your way toward the center of the yard by unrolling it on the far-left side of the lawn, and then unroll the next strip on the far-right side of the lawn and repeat. Stagger the ends so they don't line up, similar to brickwork, and try to keep all the sod at about the same level. Use dirt to shim up pieces that sag. Next use the roller that you used for leveling the soil to level the sod and remove air pockets. This allows the grass to immediately take root.

If you choose to seed your lawn, use a grass seed spreader and follow the directions outlined on the grass seed package to determine how much to spread and at what rate. Once you're done sodding or seeding comes the most important step in achieving a lush, green lawn: water it every day.

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