The Q&A Archives: Transforming cement to a gorgeous lawn.

Question: I would like to know, what is the best approach to change my back yard. I have a cemented back yard with a tree in the middle. Living in NYC, there is not much room in a backyard. I would like to get rid of the cement, and begin growing some grass. I have a child and think grass would be better than gravel for a yard. Any suggestions on how to begin the process? I am clueless as where to start.

Answer: Removing cement is a hard and laborious job, but it can be done. Once you break up the concrete, expect to find 3-4 inches of gravel beneath it. This, too , can be removed and then you can prepare the soil for planting by bringing in topsoil and amending it with organic matter to make a good planting bed for a lawn. Or, you may want to simply build some raised beds (8-10 inches high), fill them with topsoil and plant turfgrass in the raised beds. I had an extensive concrete area in my backyard when my boys were small and their biggest delight was riding their scooters and Big Wheel tricycles in the area - maybe you want to rethink your backyard project?

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