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Bought a new house with a yard that was neglected for years. This is in Kansas, so I think USDA zone 5b.
There are two areas. One that's shaded which has no grass at all.


Then another area that gets moderate amount of sunlight and has some grass.


I heard that around labor day is the best time to sow a lawn. (and it's supposed to rain for the next couple of days) I search online and there are so many guides giving different advice.
So what's the correct plan of action here?

for the dead area
- loosen the soil, spread seed, spread potting soil
for the rest of the lawn
- spread seed, spread potting soil?
Is that correct?

I heard lot of people saying not to buy cheap seeds? Does it matter? If so can anyone suggest a brand that's available at Wal-mart or Home Depot?

Thanks in advance :)
 

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A comprehensive place to go for lawn advice would be the Scotts web site. For local advice the local garden center(not big box stores) Here in NY we also have the Cornell Coop Extension for gardening. Your local college might also have one.
Grass need the proper soil amendments, Ph and water levels. The ground should not be compacted and be properly aerated and dethatched(not a lot of dead grass lying on the ground).
 
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This is the primo time to seed a lawn . I would recommend scarring up the dirt , lightly sprinkling some composted manure , then seeding .
 

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The season is right, but those areas look pretty dry and hard packed. I don't see any seed starting there without some help. I'd recommend getting a lot of compost and tilling it into the dirt until you get something resembling loose soil. Then spread a healthy amount of seed, rake it in to make sure it has good contact, and then be ready to water for several weeks to keep that soil moist 24/7 until the grass gets established.

I think you can have some nice grass in those areas if you do this. A lot of grasses like cool shade and that will help it get through the hot summer next year.
 

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Sod may be more expensive.
Instant lawn.
But easily replaceable.
Dead spots, torn up spots, etc., just pull up and replace.
No wait.
perfect match
 
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