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In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook resuscitates a dying lawn.


1. Put the collection bag on your mower and then mow the lawn, cutting the grass to just 1½ inches long.

2. Run a de-thatching machine over the lawn to remove all the dead grass and leaves.

3. Rake up all the thatch and dump it into a wheelbarrow.

4. Run a core aerator over the lawn, punching air holes into the soil.

5. Rake up and remove the soil plugs deposited onto the lawn by the core aerator.

6. Use a shovel to spread a ½-inch-thick layer of compost over the lawn.

7. Lightly rake the compost across the lawn and down into the core holes.

8. Use a walk-behind broadcast spreader to apply 9-3-4 fertilizer to the lawn.

9. Over-seed the lawn with a blended grass seed. Use a hand-crank broadcast spreader to apply seven pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet of lawn.

10. Use the backside of the leaf rake to lightly work the seed into the lawn.

11. Lightly water the lawn twice a day until the grass seedlings sprout.