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How to Install a Lawn

Posted by in Home: Gardening  ~  May 08, 2012 05:56:06 PM

They say the grass is always more greenish on the other side of the fence, but not if your lawn is tanned and burned down from a abrasive winter or baking hot sunlight. As you stare out of your window, you can to be sure picture summer barbeques on a splendid, healthy lawn, but the cost of having one set up can costs hundreds of bucks. If you are willing to put in the necessary effort, you can be on your way to experiencing all that a lush new lawn can do for your property. By following the steps in this complete guide to a new lawn, you can take back control of your yard and make your friends and neighbors green with envy.

Removing Dead Grass

Before you can begin planting and growing your new lawn, you must first prepare your yard for the installation of fresh grass. Removing the current dead or dying grass is often considered to be the most labor intensive task on this list, but it is a necessary hurdle to overcome. For best results, you will need to make sure the soil in your yard is free of current dead grass, rocks, debris and other debris that can inhibit the growth of healthy grass. To begin, grab a large yard shovel and a wheelbarrow and head out to a corner of your yard to begin. Start by digging down deep and pulling up the grass in large clumps. Toss the dead grass into the wheelbarrow along with any rocks, sticks and plants that come up with it.

Leveling Your Soil

Once you have removed all of the old grass and debris from your lawn, you should have a big, uneven looking patch of dirt for a yard. The next step in the process is to level your yard and even the soil. Using a metal landscaping rake, rake the dirt back and forth to break up big clumps of soil and fill in holes that your shovel left behind. As you move across your yard, you should be leaving fine soil in your wake that is free of uneven mounds and holes. The more careful you are here the better, as inconsistencies in the soil will make it harder for your new grass to grow well.

Preparing The Soil For New Grass

A likely reason why your old lawn dried up and died was from a lack of nutrients in the soil. In order to reinvigorate your yard and make it a hospitable place for new grass to flourish, you must first add fertilizer to it. The easiest way to do this is to purchase a fertilizer spreader from your local Lowes or Home Depot. These tools look like small wheelbarrows and hold a great deal of fertilizer that is spread evenly across your lawn as you push it along. Don’t make the mistake of walking across your yard and tossing fertilizer from a bag as you go. Doing so will result in an uneven distribution of fertilizer and missed spots, and is generally not recommended for a quality job.


If you have a neighbor’s yard connected to your own, or a garden that you do not want the grass to encroach upon, you must install edging. Edging is installed below the surface of the soil to prevent the grass from spreading into unwanted areas. You can install edging with a variety of materials including brick, wood, and plastic. To install edging, dig a trench about six inches or more into the ground along the boundary you wish to protect. If you purchased plastic edging, stick it into the trench with the top sticking out above the ground. If you decided to go with a fancy edge, such as wood or brick, lay it down in the tench and stack it as high out of the ground as desired. Next, fill the in the trench with soil and stomp hard along the edges of it.

Sod Installation

Now that your yard is leveled and fertilized, it is ready for the installation of new grass. You must decide whether you want to install sod (pre-grown grass that is ready to be laid down on your yard) or plant grass seed to grow from scratch. If you choose to go with sod, get yourself a small knife for cutting the pieces as needed. Your sod will likely come in square pieces or small rolls, depending on how you purchased it. Starting at one corner of your yard, begin laying the sod down in rows and cutting the pieces where needed. Once all the sod is laid, water it every day for the first week, and avoid mowing it for the first two to three weeks while the roots take hold.

Seed Installation

If you want your lawn installed this summer, you must choose sod, as seeding can only be done in the spring or fall months. However, if you can afford to wait, seeding is a much cheaper way to start your new lawn. If you choose to go this route, make sure you know the size of your lawn in square yards as you will need to buy the appropriate amount of seed to necessary to cover it. Once you have the seed in your possession, you can either spread it by hand or with the spreader you purchased for the fertilizer. Using the spreader will ensure a more even distribution of grass and will result in a less patchy lawn as it begins to grow.