Answer: To reseed a bare patch, loosen the soil and work in some compost, rake it smooth and then sprinkle seed. Rake the area gently and then tamp down the area lightly so the seed is in good contact with the soil. Then top it with a bit of loose straw. Alternatively, you can use one of the lawn patch kits made just for this purpose. Water as needed to prevent the soil from drying out until the seed germinates.
Lawns will green up in the spring naturally as the weather changes, but it may need fertilizing if you did not fertilize last fall. You should run some basic soil tests and check the fertility levels and pH as well. This will tell you how much to fertilize and if you need to add lime to adjust the pH. Your local county extension should be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results.
The best time to reseed and fertilize are actually in the late summer to early fall, so you may want to try that this year. Your lawn area might also benefit from core aeration and a top dressing of good quality compost. The better your soil, the better the grass will grow.
The most important thing you can do for lawn health is to mow often. Mow often enough that you do not remove more than one third the grass height at a time. This helps the grass grow dense and thick and crowd out weeds.
If your flowers will be in full sun, try marigolds, salvia, petunias or geraniums. If they will be in the shade, try impatiens or begonias. These annuals will bloom all season until frost.
Enjoy your yard this summer!
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