It's not an instant lawn, but sowing grass seed is much less expensive than laying sod. Here's how to do it.
Sowing lawn seed is much cheaper than laying sod, but you'll have to wait a few months before it's ready for use. The best time to seed a lawn is in early fall when the soil is warm and germination quick; sowing in early spring is an option, but the colder soil conditions may prolong germination.
When to Start: Early fall or early spring
At Its Best: All year round
Time to Complete: 3 hours or more for larger lawns
Unlike turf, where you have a choice of just two or three types, lawn seed is available in many forms, including seed for shady spots or dry areas and clover lawns. Prepare the soil as for sod. Mark out a square yard with stakes or string, and weigh the right quantity of seed for that area. Pour the seed into a plastic cup and mark the top level with a pen. You can then use it as a measuring cup.
Cover the soil evenly by scattering half the seed in the cup over the square yard in one direction, and then the other half at right angles. Set out the next square and fill the cup to the marked level; repeat the sowing process. Continue in this way until you have sown the whole area. If you have to walk over soil you have already seeded, stand on planks of wood to prevent your feet from creating hollows in your new lawn.
Rake the seed into the soil to just cover it. Water with a can fitted with a rose, or spray lightly with a hose. Cover the seed with bird-proof netting, raised off the ground about 12 inches. The seedlings should appear in 14 days; continue to water regularly. When the grass reaches 2 inches, make the first cut with your mower on a high setting. For fall-sown lawns, maintain this height until spring, then lower the blades.