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How to Prepare a Healthy New Lawn

Seeds or grass that fall on weedy, uneven ground are a wasted effort. Follow these steps to ensure your new lawn thrives.
Although low-maintenance lawn alternatives are becoming increasingly popular, many
homeowners still like a bit of turf grass. The lawn is a great place for entertaining. Children can play and pets can run around. But what if you need to add a new lawn, or your existing lawn has exceeded capacity and you need to start over? Is this a good DIY project for someone with average skills? As a result, yes. But like most things, a successful lawn begins with proper preparation.
Materials and tools
✓ Soil test
✓ Lawn mower
✓ Hoe
✓ Tiller
✓ Hard rake
✓ Spreader
✓ Soil improvement
✓ Fertilizer
How to prepare new lawn
Test your soil. The only way to find out what’s in your soil and what’s not is to test it. For about $15, you can have a soil sample tested at your local county extension office. There are basic kits that you can use to test yourself, but it may be worth the cost as your extension office can provide more extensive information about soil conditions.
A good soil test will tell you what your soil pH is. What type of soil texture do you have? Relative amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The amount of other minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and copper. Once you have this information, you can prepare your new lawn by properly amending the soil.


Remove existing grass, plants and weeds. It’s important to start with a clean slate. You don’t want to waste time and money on a new lawn if all you’re doing is laying a lawn over a field full of weeds. How you remove this unwanted material is up to you and will largely depend on the size of the area you wish to remove and the type of plant material. For small areas with old grass and weeds, a hoe is fine, but for larger areas, consider renting a lawn cutter typically $70 per day. If you have large plants, shrubs and woody perennials, decide whether to remove them first and replant them in another area or move them to a compost pile.

Loosen the soil with a tiller. This is an optional step because there are several ideas for cultivating the soil. Some experts believe that tillage is necessary to fully combine old soil and amendments. Others believe that tilling simply disturbs weed seeds and creates a mess. My recommendation is that if your soil is very hard, it may make sense to use a rear tiller to break the soil down to a depth of 6 to 8 inches before adding soil amendments typically $55 per day rental. But if not, you can skip this step.

Add compost. Regardless of soil test results, all soils can benefit from applying 2 to 3 inches of compost. This can be done using compost you have on hand or purchased from a landscaping supply store. Use compost that is well rotted, as compost that is too new or “hot” will not break down sufficiently and will not benefit your new lawn. Good compost costs about $30 to $50 per cubic yard, depending on the type you buy and where you live. There are many different mixtures to suit different garden purposes, so let your landscape supply store know what you need to create your new lawn.

You can also add other soil amendments, such as sand, to break down soils such as clay. Soil amendments deal with the physical condition of the soil texture, drainage capacity and should not be confused with fertilizers, which deal with nutrient levels in the soil.

Add fertilizer and rake smooth. Depending on your soil test results, you may choose to add some starter fertilizer to get your lawn off to a good start. A soil test will give you some recommendations on what to add to keep your particular soil at healthy nutrient levels. Look for a lawn starter fertilizer that contains these ingredients. If you have any questions, please contact your county extension office for clarification to avoid performing unnecessary tasks or steps.

Use a spreader to spread the fertilizer evenly, then use a sturdy rake to even out the soil surface. The soil should be about 1 inch below ground level, taking into account the height of the installed turf. Make sure there are no “hills and valleys” in the soil surface. This will make your lawn look uneven and unprofessional.

Plant your lawn or sow grass seed as soon as possible after completing the prep work. The longer unplanted soil is exposed, the faster weeds will regrow.

Special considerations

Every geographical area has soil characteristics. There are too many stones, sandy soils, clay soils, etc. Knowing your soil can help you better solve your gardening problems.

When planning a new lawn, don’t skimp on soil preparation. In the end, a healthy lawn will be your reward, even if you can’t see the specific ingredients.

Always use grass or lawn seed recommended for your region and location.

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360' MoTo
360' MoTo
Great work! Highly recommended+++
Hunter Vasanth
Hunter Vasanth
Well serives
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anne gorman
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