Answer: The fastest way to a successful lawn is to prepare the soil thoroughly and then lay sod. The next best way is to seed the lawn area, again after careful soil preparation. Sod is more expensive than seeding. Either way, the long term success of the lawn depends on preparing the soil adequately so do not be tempted to skip this step.
I would recommend you begin by running some basic soil tests to check the soil, its fertility and pH levels. This will help you determine how best to prepare the soil. You will probably need to lime to adjust the pH and also add organic matter to improve the soil. You will need to loosen the soil down at least six inches or so, then fine grade it and rake it smooth before starting the lawn.
Your county extension should be able to help you with the soil tests and interpreting the results. They should also be able to recommend the best specific grass varieties for your location.
Last but not least, they should also be able to help you develop an ongoing care and maintenance program for your lawn to keep it healthy and vigorous on an ongoing basis. Enjoy your new home and lawn!
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