Then we rented a sod cutter. Because I value my back and my marriage. It only took us thirty minutes to cut the sod in the front and back yard. Charlie pushed the sod cutter and I pulled on the front bar to keep the cuts accurate around the curves.
The lawn lifted right up after cutting it with the sod cutter. I highly recommend using a sod cutter for bigger projects.
Our front yard slopes down to the sidewalk, so we had to dig in the raised beds to make them level. Of course we decided to do this during the heatwave. We bought green fir boards for the beds at Home Depot. They made all the cuts for us and didn't charge us. Sweet! We assembled the boxes with leftover deck screws. The beds are filled with a mix of soil, potting soil and compost.