Great brochure (pdf) by North and South Rivers Watershed Association in Massachusetts explaining how to get a green healthy yard in just seven easy steps.
Basically, here they are:
1.) Go cold turkey – Don’t make a slow transition. Organic is about creating healthy soil to nurture plant growth – synthetic is about stimulating plant growth above ground. They are not compatible.
2.) Get your soil tested -This is imperative, because you must know your soil’s deficiencies, including ph levels to provide the right soil conditions for healthy root growth. Go to the MSU Bookstore to get a Soil Test Kit Self-Mailer, which is comprehensive and very inexpensive!
3.) Add the soil amendments that the test results suggest.
4.) Top dress with compost- Put 1/2” of compost on your lawn. Compost provides organic matter, teeming with microbes, that will make the soil more porous and nutrient- rich.
5.) Overseed in the spring and the fall. Mowing does not let grasses form the seed heads necessary for them to self-sow, which is why overseeding is important. When overseeding, use a blend of fescues, which grow deep roots and are very drought tolerant.
6.) Spray compost tea on your lawn once a month during the growing season. You can make your own or you can buy liquid or dehydrated compost tea at many nurseries.
7.) Apply organic fertilizer in the fall. Organic fertilizer is much coarser and less soluble than synthetic fertilizer, so it tends to stay put.
The end result – a beautiful, and green healthy yard!