• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook beautifies a boring backyard.

    1. Dismantle old brick raised bed and carry away the bricks in wheelbarrow.
    2. Use transplanting shovel to dig up plantings from the raised-bed area.
    3. Remove the old lawn with a transplanting shovel.
    4. Turn over and loosen heavily packed soil with pointed shovel.
    5. Amend soil by adding 2 inches of compost; turn compost into soil with pointed shovel.
    6. Dig down 3 inches deep to create a seating area, then cover the area with landscape fabric.
    7. Install steel edging along edge of seating area. Secure the edging by using a hammer to tap in ground stakes.
    8. Dump pea gravel onto landscape fabric; spread gravel with rake to 3 inches deep.
    9. Dig holes along fence line for new plantings. Set plants into the holes, making sure not to bury them too deeply.
    10. Backfill around the plants with soil and compost. Thoroughly water the plantings.
    11. Spread 2 to 3 inches of bark mulch over the new planting area, but don't pile the mulch against the plant trunks.
    12. Sprinkle starter fertilizer over the exposed soil where the old lawn was excavated. Lightly rake the fertilizer into the soil.
    13. Lay sod over the soil to create a new lawn. Thoroughly water the sod.
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      No experience necessary, but digging and raking can be tiresome
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • wheelbarrow
      • transplanting shovel
        Transplanting shovel
      • pointed shovel
        Pointed shovel
      • metal garden rake
        Garden rake
      • hammer
      • sod-cutting knife

      Shopping List


      Landscape fabric

      Steel edging

      Pea gravel

      Variety of landscape plants

      Starter fertilizer