Before planting grass seed be sure to have a level area (without any low places) and have at least six inches of good topsoil.
Spread lime over topsoil at the rate recommended as the result of a soil test.
Spread a high quality starter fertilizer with a 1-2-1 ratio at the manufactures recommended rate.
Next a good blend of lawn seed, 4 to 6 lbs. per 1,000 square feet, depending on mixture.
Rake these in, raking both ways to get an even distribution.
It is important to mulch the whole area with straw or hay. This prevents birds from eating seed, prevents washing in case of heavy rain, and moderates soil temperatures. Do not rake mulch off after grass starts to come through. Start to mow when grass in 3 inches tall and leave the clippings. This protects the tender grass roots.
NEWLY SEEDED LAWN MAINTENANCE
WATERING: Improper watering is the biggest cause of failure in a newly seeded lawn. How much water to apply depends on soil type. Keep the soil constantly moist to a depth of 4 inches.
NEVER let the surface dry completely. After 4 mowings you can reduce the watering to 1-2 inches a week, depending on your soil type. Apply the water in 2 sessions (applying large amounts of water in fewer sessions promotes deeper rooting than applying less water more often).
MOWING: NEVER cut more than 1/3 of top growth at a time. Cutting more growth can stop root growth for up to 28 days. When grass has reached 3 inches, mow to 2 ¾ inches. Continue mowing at 3 inches until Sept. 1. Then mow to 2 ½ inches until the last mowing of the season, which should be to 2 inches. In spring, mow 2 ½ inches until May 15, then back to 3-3 ½ inches. ALWAYS keep mower blade sharp. This is especially important the first 4 mowings, as the roots are shallow.
FERTILIZING: If your lawn was properly installed, a fertilizer with a 1-1-1 or a 1-2-1 ratio was added to the soil at the time of installation. Re-apply fertilizer with the same ratio every 6 weeks (up to 4 times total per season). After the lawn is a year old, go to a turf builder with a 6-1-2 or 6-2-2 ratio 4 times per season. Natural organic is best, as it builds the soil while feeding the plants. Apply at a rate so you are achieving 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.