Answer: I would suggest you begin by running some basic soil tests and working with your local county extension to interpret the test results with the goal of starting a lawn in mind. They should be able to tell you how much fertilizer you will need, whether or not you need to lime to lower the pH, and also suggest specific grass varieties that do well in your local area.
Part of the soil preparation before planting will include adding the above as indicated by the tests along with organic matter such as compost. Then you would grade and level the area and smooth it with a rake. At that point you would seed or sod. Sod is more expensive but gives instant coverage. Many people will sod the front and seed the back yard for this reason.
You also need to be prepared to water the new grass until it becomes established.
Here is some additional lawn care information you may find helpful. Notice that the best time of year to start a lawn is actually September, so you may have to redo your lawn later this season if the results are not satisfactory now. You may need to cut and paste the complete url into your browser to make it work correctly.
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