Choose grass seed wisely. Because no turf grass is native to Maine, choose a grass species most adapted to your site. Try this mixture that demands less mowing and inputs: 40% Creeping Red Fescue, 10% Southport Chewings Fescue, 30% Perennial Ryegrass and 20% Kenblue Kentucky Bluegrass. Other low input grass mixes include Tall Fescue or Fine Fescue. Our Grass Seed Sources page can help you find a good mix for your situation.
Fertile and sweet soil is essential for seed germination. A simple soil test analyzes soil fertility and pH and recommends exactly what your soil needs for growing healthy grass. Test kits are available from your local Cooperative Extension and Soil & Water Conservation District offices or order online.
Prepare your soil. A minimum of six inches of quality loam is needed but 8 to 12 inches is even better. If construction activities have compacted soil, rototill underlying subsoil before application of loam. An inch of organic matter, such as compost, mixed into the top four inches of soil will improve aeration, drainage and nutrient retention.
Provide surface and subsurface drainage. Grass quality suffers with "wet feet." Divert water from boggy areas by installing tile or a french drain lined with gravel.
Time your preparation. Best seeding dates are late August through September. Next best are May through mid June. Seed must contact soil directly, firmed with a light rolling, mulched and lightly watered frequently to maintain moist seed bed. Mulch lightly with (and this is important) weed seed-free straw or hay. Don't walk on seeded areas until grass is firmly established.
Consider an ornamental ground cover. Turf needs a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight. It's simple: no sun, no grass. Many attractive ground covers like myrtle or pachysandra thrive in less sunlight.