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How to Revive a City Stoop

Ask This Old House landscape designer Jenn Nawada travels to Brooklyn to revive a stoop that has been taken over by weeds

1. Start by removing any and all weeds that have grown in through the cracks in the sidewalk.
2. Add planters in key locations to add visual impact to the stoop.
a. Pour crushed stone at the bottom of the planters for drainage.
b. For soil, add a mixture of 2 bags of potting soil per 1 bag of compost.
c. For plants, Jenn planted two kousa dogwoods, which she underplanted with coleus. At the top of the stairs, she added an additional planter with a crepe myrtle.
3. Add lighting for added security and to highlight the planters at night. They can be plugged in if there’s already power run to the outside.

Jenn recommends removing weeds by hand or with a spray of vinegar, salt, and dish soap.

Jenn used fiberglass planters for durability outside. She started with a layer of marble chips for drainage, then filled the containers with a mix of potting soil and compost.

For the plants, Jenn used two kousa dogwoods underplanted with coleus. On the stairs, she planted a dwarf crape myrtle.

Jenn added low voltage landscape lighting under the trees for safety and drama.

All of the tools and materials for this project can be found at garden centers and nurseries.