• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook breathes new life into an old lawn.

    Steps:
    1. Put on hearing protection and mow the lawn to a height of 1½ inch. Be sure to collect the grass clippings.
    2. Run a de-thatcher across the entire lawn to remove dead plant matter.
    3. Use a leaf rake to collect and remove all the thatch pulled from the lawn.
    4. Run a gas-powered core aerator across the lawn.
    5. Rake up and remove the soil plugs extracted by the aerator.
    6. Spread compost over the lawn and rake it down into the holes.
    7. Analyze the physical structure of the soil with a soil test kit; amend the soil as necessary.
    8. Use a broadcast spreader to over-seed the lawn with new grass seed. Adjust the spreader to dispense seven pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet area.
    9. Use backside of leaf rake to lightly work the grass seed into the lawn.
    10. Lightly water twice a day to keep the lawn damp, not soaking wet.

    See Products and Services from This Video
    • 4 to 6 hours for average-size lawn
    • About $200 and up, including equipment rental fees
    • Difficulty: Easy
      There are several steps, but none is too strenuous
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      Tools List

      • lawn mower
        Lawn mower
      • power dethatcher
        De-thatcher
      • plastic rake
        Leaf rake
      • Core aerator
      • hand spreader
        Broadcast spreader
      • square shovel
        Shovel
      • wheelbarrow
        Wheelbarrow

      Shopping List

      Compost

      Soil test kit

      Grass seed