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Do's & Don't's for installing new lawns


LawnSite Senior Member
Akron, Ohio
I was wonder your steps of installing a new lawn.
1. Rock hound the whole yard and level it out.
2. Spread top soil.
3. Put down seed
4. Put down starter fertilizer
5. Straw blow all the straw down
6. Water it
7. Clean up

Is there any tips or trick ( Do's or Don't's) you guys use when you are installing new lawns.

I can't wait till the weather breaks :D
Thanks for all your help

Jeff Smith
JRS Lawn & Landscape

hole in one lco

LawnSite Bronze Member
rocky river ohio
Unless you are laying down 3in of good top take a soil test. Grass seed needs 3in of healthy soil to thrive into a grate looking lawn. imo


LawnSite Fanatic
Rigby, Idaho
I think the answer to that probably varies widely. I usually rough grade first, then rock rake it if its real rocky, then rip with a scarifier, and rerock rake, then seed. I have found simply rock hounding the soil isn't enough. They don't loosen the soil enough just by themselves. As a result the grass is slower growing and takes longer to fill in. With the rippers I can mix the soil and loosen it down to 7 inches. The yards drain better and they are easier to level. But this is just me.

Strawbridge Lawn

LawnSite Senior Member
If you are in the Transition Zone I would not persue broad scale
seed renovations. Here along the east coast summer temps of 90+ for days and weeks pratically nurn fescue blends planted in thespring. Heavy watering does not even guarantee survival.
If you choose to do it in the spring explain this to customers and do your best to ensure seed is raked or topdressed completely over to help roots establish deeper intially. The deeper the root structure of new seed the better chance of summer sutvival of Fescues.

D Felix

LawnSite Bronze Member
If you can get the client to spring for top soil, great. Around here people are tight-a$$ enough that we won't ever be able to sell top soil when seeding.

That being said, I don't think bringing in top soil will do much. It really creates too many hassles than it's worth. A lot of times, the rough grade is so close to the maximum allowable on the house, that top soil realy isn't an option unless you remove 3-6 inches from the entire yard. That gets to be REALLY expensive.

All lawn install customers need to fully understand that it really takes 2-3 years, minimum, before you have a good, healthy stand of grass, with proper fertilization and maintenance. And sod really doesn't gain you much at all except a better looking lawn the first year. It generally goes downhill fast after that...



LawnSite Platinum Member
Obama Land.
Mine are simple.

1: level
2: sod

Couldnt have put it better.

I rip the hell out of it with an eliminator rake.
Grade where needed.
Hydroseed or seed straw/fert
Get Paid!

If you dont use either a tooth bucket or the elim rake before rockhounding you end up in general with a crappy seed bed.
See plenty of part timer know it alls who just turn up with a rockhound and run over it once........


LawnSite Senior Member
Spread top soil.

Put down seed , take a spring tine rake and tap the seed in,making like rows in a garden.

Once you have completed tapping it in, overseed it again.

Shake the straw loosely over the yard and water in.You should be able to see the ground through the straw.

Best germination ever.