Eventually everyone is faced with the same choice when it comes time to start the lawn from scratch.
Seed or sod?
Both methods need the same prep work and require roughly the same maintenance to get them established.
1.) Good lawns start with a good foundation. Your goal is to create a soft, even bed of soil high in organic matter like peat moss. During this process, a roto-tiller will really come in handy. Put down a couple inches of peat moss or compost and work that into the top 6 inches of soil with the rototiller and rake the bed smooth. Be sure to even out high and low spots so you don't end up with a lumpy lawn.
2.) Both methods will require frequent and adequate watering until they establish a good root system.
Now you have to make a choice.
There are benefits to both methods.
-Seeding a new lawn-
Less heavy lifting
Longer wait until you see green
-Sodding a new lawn-
Instant gratification, instant green
More heavy lifting
Finding good sod can be difficult
For the most part, it really just comes down to price and timing. After all the costs of prepping your soil are taken out (which will be the same for both methods), seeding an entire lawn can cost you under $50 while sodding it can cost hundreds.
If you decide to go with seeding, you can click here to learn how to do it like a pro.
If you decide to go with sod, simply calculate what you need, roll it out, tamp it down, (especially the edges). Keep it well watered and the kids and pets off until it roots down (usually 2 to 3 weeks or so)