Last year we had a terrible drought in the Midwest and by the end of the summer, my back yard was in pretty bad shape. As I feared, it appears that about two-thirds of the yard is not going to recover. A third of the area looks like it will be okay. The rest is pretty much dirt and dead grass. A lot of this has to do with not only a lack of rain, but also the fact that that portion of the yard is completely exposed to the full strength of the sun on the east and south sides. There are no trees and no houses to provide shade. The question now becomes what can I do next? I've never had experience in seeding a yard, but I can't afford to hire a professional landscaper either, especially with the size of the yard involved (about 1/4 acre.) What is involved in trying this myself? I assume I have to rake out the dead grass. Do I need to do anything else to prepare the soil? Fertilizer...frequent watering? What is involved in laying the seed? Do I need to throw topsoil on top of it? I have two dogs, but I've thought about using snow fencing to keep them and anyone else off the affected area. As you can see, I'm a novice at this and would appreciate any advice anyone can offer. Thanks much.