If you want to start a new lawn in your backyard, you have two options: sowing grass seed or laying down sod. Sod is a type of artificial lawn that is easy to lay down and gives you instant results. While it is more expensive than seed, you aren't starting from scratch. The grass has already grown in pieces of ground that are then implanted onto your lawn. Here are instructions for starting a new lawn by laying down sod.
Remove Your Lawn
If you have any lawn existing in your backyard, you need to remove it first. This includes any remaining grass, sod if you had it before, and removing any weeds you see. For weeds, the best tool to use is a flat-bladed shovel. You want to remove them from the roots, otherwise the weeds will just keep growing over the sod after it is laid down. You can also try using an herbicide to kill the weeds and grass, then use a sod cutter to remove them completely from the root. Once the lawn is removed, test your soil's pH level to be sure it will take to sod.
Break Up the Soil
Your soil at this point is probably very compacted, which makes it hard to lay down sod. You will need to break it up, which can be done with a tiller, also called a rototiller. If you don't have a tiller at home, you can rent one from an equipment supply company or your local hardware store. This helps save you money so you aren't spending a lot for equipment that won't get much use. Run the tiller over the soil to break it up and loosen it.
Fertilize and Condition the Soil
Once the soil is broken up, you can spread fertilizer over it. You want to choose a fertilizer that is phosphorous in order for the sod to take and continue growing into a beautiful, green lawn. You should also use a soil conditioner on the soil once the fertilizer is spread around. This further improves the quality of your soil. If you have compost, you can use that in place of the soil conditioner. Till the soil once more after you are done with the fertilizer and soil conditioner to prepare it.
Flatten the Soil
The last step before actually laying down the sod is leveling out your soil. Use a rake to start leveling it out, removing debris and rocks you come across as you do so. You also want to have site grading that allows water to flow away from your house. Now is a good time to do that. Continue raking until all the soil is flat and even. If you need to, you can use a roller to get the soil even flatter, as it doesn't compact it too badly.
Lay the Sod
It is now time to lay the sod. You should start on the outer edge of your yard, unrolling the sod starting at one side, then moving over to the other side. Lay out the sod by unrolling it onto the soil one piece at a time, being sure there are not large gaps in between the rolls. You may need to cut rolls of sods so they fit closely together without overlapping. You want to go in a brickwork pattern by staggering the ends of the rolls. After laying the sod, use the roller again to press it into the soil. Water the sod every day for a few weeks until you see the lawn starting to develop. You can find more information by talking to a company like California Sod Center.