How to spruce up your lawn
All lawns inevitably thin with age. If you'd like to improve yours and choke out weeds, now is the time. Temperatures are cooler than at the peak of summer, but not as cool as they are in early spring. And we're likely to get some rain in the fall, which will help new seeds along. Plus, new grass will have nearly a year to establish a strong root system before the summer heat sets in. The process of "overseeding" refers to seeding over your existing lawn, not to seeding more than usual, as many people assume. It's an easy endeavor but requires diligence and commitment for several weeks, so don't plan on any vacations. By Jessica Damiano
1. Choose the right seeds Look for disease-resistant, drought-tolerant varieties. No grass will grow in full shade, but for partial shade, consider a 100 percent fine fescue blend sown at a rate of 4 to 5 pounds per 1,000 square feet. For a low-maintenance lawn in a sunny area, consider using a 100 percent tall fescue blend sown at a rate of 7 to 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
2. Cut it short Mow the existing grass using the lowest possible setting on your mower. This is the only time I'll ever recommend that, as a healthy lawn should never be cut shorter than 2 or 3 inches. So have a party, and use a grass-catching bag if you have one. If not, get in there with a leaf blower or garden vacuum and remove as much debris as possible before proceeding.
3. Improve your soil The best way to do this is to add compost. Spread about 1/2 inch over the entire area. Rake it in gently.
4. Sow, baby sow For best results and even distribution, use a seed spreader.
5. Water Sprinkle lightly but thoroughly immediately after sowing. Water lightly several times a day - taking care not to wash away seeds - until grass is at least 1 1/2 inches tall. Begin mowing when grass reaches 4 inches. Email this photo gallery to your family, friends and favorite blogs. More gardening how-tos