# **How to Restore a Green, Healthy Lawn | Ask This Old House**
Welcome to Ask This Old House! In this episode, landscaping contractor Roger Cook travels to Kentucky to help a homeowner revive his lawn. If you’re looking to restore your own lawn to its former glory, this step-by-step guide is here to help.
## **Time and Cost:**
Restoring a lawn can be a time-consuming project, taking approximately 3-4 hours to complete. With a budget of $100-200, you can easily afford the tools and materials needed for this project.
## **Skill Level:**
This project requires a moderate skill level, making it accessible to both experienced homeowners and those new to lawn restoration.
## **Tools List for Restoring a Green, Healthy Lawn:**
– Broadcast Lawn Spreader
– Hose Sprayer
## **Shopping List:**
– Dethatcher (Rental at local home center)
– Aerator (Rental at local home center)
– Lawn Fertilizer
– Grass Seed
– Gas for machines
1. **Dethatching:** Start by using a dethatcher to remove the layer of thatch that blocks water and nutrients from reaching the roots of the lawn. This machine uses tines and prongs to pull up dead grass and debris from the grass roots. Move across the lawn in a straight line and repeat the process by turning.
2. **Raking:** Use a rake to gather all the debris from the detaching step into piles. Recycling or composting the debris is recommended.
3. **Aerating:** Combat soil compaction and allow water and nutrients to reach the roots by aerating the lawn. Use an aerator to remove plugs of soil about 2 inches long. Repeat the process by moving across the lawn in a straight line and turning.
4. **Soil Test:** Before applying any nutrients, conduct a soil test to identify deficiencies in soil health.
5. **Lime Application:** On acidic soils with a lower pH, use a broadcast spreader to apply lime. Lime contains calcium and magnesium and helps raise the pH of the soil.
6. **Compost Spreading:** Spread compost using a rake, ensuring to fill in the holes made by the aerator. This provides nutrients for the soil and creates an optimal seed bed.
7. **Fertilizer Application:** Based on the results of the soil test, choose the appropriate fertilizer mix. Use a broadcast spreader to apply the fertilizer, following the instructions on the packaging.
8. **Seeding:** Use a lawn spreader to distribute a healthy layer of grass seed. Consider the weather zone when selecting the type of seed. For sunny, southern climates, tall fescue is recommended for its drought resistance. In northern climates, a fine fescue may be a better option, as it can stay green year-round when properly maintained.
9. **Watering:** Use a hose and sprayer to thoroughly coat the top of the soil and the seed. It’s crucial to keep the top of the soil moist by watering two to three times a day for the first two weeks.
10. **Mowing Guidelines:** Once the lawn reaches a height of three inches, it’s time to cut it down to two inches. Remember to bag the clippings rather than mulching.
11. **Maintenance:** Regularly mow the lawn to maintain its healthy appearance.
To watch the full episode and see landscaping contractor Roger Cook in action, visit the [Ask This Old House YouTube channel](https://www.youtube.com/c/ThisOldHouse) and [subscribe](http://bit.ly/SubscribeThisOldHouse) for more insightful DIY tips and projects.
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Now you have all the information and guidance you need to restore your lawn to its former green, healthy state. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more home improvement content from Ask This Old House!
Ask This Old House landscaping contractor Roger Cook heads to Kentucky to help a homeowner revive his lawn
SUBSCRIBE to This Old House: http://bit.ly/SubscribeThisOldHouse
Time: 3-4 hours
Skill Level: Moderate
Tools List for Restoring a Green, Healthy Lawn:
Dethatcher (Rental at local home center)
Aerator (Rental at local home center)
Gas for machines
1. To remove the layer of thatch that blocks water and nutrients from reaching the roots of the lawn, use a dethatcher to clean up the grass. This machine works using large tines and prongs to pull up dead grass and other debris from the grass roots. Go across the lawn in a straight line and turn and repeat.
2. Use a rake to gather all of the debris from the detatching step into piles and recycle or compost it.
3. To fight soil compaction and allow water and nutrients to reach the roots, use the aerator. It will remove plugs of soil about 2‚Äù long. Go across the lawn in a straight line and turn and repeat.
4. Before applying any nutrients to the lawn, conduct a soil test to determine any deficiencies in soil health.
5. On acidic soils (with a lower pH), use a broadcast spreader to apply lime. A lime mixture typically contains calcium and magnesium to bring up the pH of the soil.
6. Spread compost across the lawn using a rake, making sure to fill in the holes made by the aerator. This will provide nutrients for the soil and create a good seed bed.
7. The soil test will also determine the best fertilizer mix to choose. Use a broadcast spreader to put down fertilizer, following directions on the packaging.
8. Use the lawn spreader to put down a healthy layer of seed. The weather zone should help dictate what kind of seed to use. A tall fescue is best for sunny, southern climates and is more drought resistant. For northern climates, a fine fescue may be a better option. It can stay green all year, if maintained properly.
9. Use a hose and sprayer to coat the top of the soil and the seed. It‚Äôs important to keep the top of the soil moist by watering two to three times for the first two weeks.
10. When the lawn gets up to three inches tall, cut it down to two inches. However, be sure to bag the clippings and not mulch.
11. Mow regularly after to maintain a healthy look.
About Ask This Old House TV:
Homeowners have a virtual truckload of questions for us on smaller projects, and we’re ready to answer. Ask This Old House solves the steady stream of home improvement problems faced by our viewers‚Äîand we make house calls! Ask This Old House features some familiar faces from This Old House, including Kevin O’Connor, general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscape contractor Roger Cook.
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How to Restore a Green, Healthy Lawn | Ask This Old House