The front of my yard looks terrible with brown patches of grass, so I did the following:
1. Mowed the grass.
2. Used a metal rake and dethatched.
3. Top dressed with 1/4" of compost. I used the muncipal stuff that are made from leaves and sticks. Cheap but very clumpy.
4. Seed with a bag of seed. I think I used 2 lbs for about 15 x 15.
5. Watered daily for about 10 min in the morning. More if the sun comes out.
After 2 weeks, I notice new blades of grass. I am going to repeat this on the rest of the yard. Hopefully, I will be equally successful. On the downside, I feel bad for using some water, but I guess I need to keep the seed moist. Rainfall seemed to have dropped off around here.