Starting a new lawn – Chapter One


Its pert near time for the old green stuff to start sprouting up , and try as you might; you just haven’t been able to get your mind around the concept of spending another summer tending to that half acre of wreckage you call a lawn.

Ok. Maybe its not all that bad, but if you’ve been thinking about putting in a new lawn, you probably already have already realized that you could be looking at a significant investment in both time and money.

Of course you could hire someone to come in and do it for you. And if you’ve got the means to buy the greens, then more power to you. But for those of us still trying to pay off the car or the mortgage or the mortgage on the car, we’re going to have to consider as many cost cutting options as we can. And that means doing it yourself.

So, lets take a walk down “How to” lane and figure this stuff out together. Don’t worry. It’s OK to be scared a little, just don’t show it.

Step One: A clean canvas

Before we start the planting and the seeding and the watering and the stuff, we need to clear off a spot to work. That’s right, you have to remove the old lawn and there’s no magic technique to make it all go away overnight. It’s going to take time and effort. And…easy costs money.


The quickest method is probably going to get a front loader and just scrape off the top few inches of soil. I’m just going to say “Be Careful”. Soil can yield surprises; like water meters and utility lines and Jimmy Hoffa. (They never did find him.) Hit a water line or a gas line and Oy! Now the city’s involved with the geyser and the screaming and all of the things….but what’s a little moisture between friends. Right?

All jokes aside, mechanically removing the sod and root system is a viable method to prep the area. It’s time consuming and can involve a metric butt load of elbow grease, but it will get the job done. Given the size of the area, investing in a mechanical sod cutter for the afternoon might not be a bad idea. Check your local rental house for more information.


Plants need water, sunlight and food to grow. Deny any of those and the plants die out. It takes time, of course. But it’s guaranteed to work.

Covering the lawn with heavy mulch, plastic, newspapers, anything to interrupt the lawns supply chain and its only a matter of time.


Herbicides can work well if used right, but they can be costly. There are several on the market that are eco-friendly (??) and I hear Roundup puts out a good product.

Step two: Level the playing field

All that rooting and cutting and hollering may have revealed a pitted, pock marked landscape, filled with ruts and shame. Not to worry though. It just needs a little grading.

Light grading can be taken care of with a landscapers rake and a good pair of gloves. For bigger jobs, there are residential or light commercial graders on the market. Just remember, soft, separated soil, that will soak up ground water evenly is the way to go. When in doubt, water the soil and see if any of the water pools up.

So, first things first….we gotta start with a clean slate.

Git on it.


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Bill Brown

Bill is the head of content creation for the LawnMowerPros Blog and DIY section. He’s been in the Outdoor Power Equipment Industry for years and he’s still learning new things everyday. You can often find him creating featured articles, DIY guides, videos, graphics and much more.