Starting a New Lawn
Soil preparation is the key to developing a good lawn. Soil that is properly conditioned will be easier to maintain and cost a lot less to keep-up now and in the future.
Two other important considerations are drainage patterns and contouring the lawn so it looks nice and drains properly. Always establish drainage patterns so the water runs away from structures, not toward them. And, establish contours that look nice and are easy to maintain.
Decide what type of lawn you want. Do you want a tough, durable lawn for children to play on; a durable but nice looking lawn; or an attractive show type lawn. The type of seed or sod that you use will be determined by whichever type of lawn you desire.
To get started on the right footing you need to have your soil tested. What is needed in fertilizer; is it necessary to add top soil; is the soil acid or alkaline; what's needed to improve the quality of the soil? All these and other questions are quickly answered by observing the soil texture and by having the soil tested. The local Cooperative Extension Service has the forms and information on soil testing, and can advise you of the costs and time involved in getting the test results. Or, there are independent soil testing laboratories where you can have the testing done. In addition, there are soil test kits that you can purchase and do the testing yourself.
Whether you seed, sod or hydro-seed there are a few basic steps you need to accomplish first, to get the soil ready for planting:
At this point the lawn is ready to be seeded, hydro-seeded or sodded. Some of the steps as outlined above may not be necessary, depending upon soil conditions, so eliminate those steps.
If you are seeding, spread the seed then lightly cover with about one sixteenth on an inch of peat moss. Then roll again with a lawn roller only half filled with water.
If you are sodding, simply lay the sod, cut-out for flower and shrub beds and roll with half filled lawn roller.
If you are having the lawn hydro-seeded, everything is ready to go.
Whether you seed, sod or hydro-seed the entire area should be fenced-off with a string or wire fence to keep the children and animals off the soft ground until the seed or sod has taken hold.
Keep the entire area moist until the seed germinates or sod has become re-established.