The Q&A Archives: replacing backyard lawn

Question: I am looking to replace my backyard lawn, which is a fairly small area (400 sq feet), gets direct sunlight until about noon each day, and is currently some type of blade grass that is overrun with weeds. I am looking to replace it with something a bit more hardy, St. Augustine is what I had in mind. I don't have a green thumb but am willing to learn. Can someone please advise me with the best steps to take? Thanks for your help.

FYI: I am more more interested in starting the new lawn with seed rather than buying already grown sod.

Answer: The summers are not quite hot enough for St. Augustine or Bermuda grasses to thrive (although you can certainly try them). I'd recommend a tall fescue or a specialized grass seed mixture available at a local nursery or garden center. These mixes are a variety of grasses that do well in your specific area, and are custom mixed for either sun or shade conditions. Since you're replacing a lawn, you have two options: First, you can rototill the entire area, rake out the debris and level the area, then broadcast seeds. Or, you can use a weed killer on your existing lawn, rake out the old dead weeds and then overseed with new grass seed.

I'd vote for the first option. It's more work but you'll end up with a brand new lawn that's lush, green and healthy. If you put your new lawn on a regular feeding and watering schedule you'll be rewarded with a beautiful grassy area.

Best wishes with your new lawn!

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