Ask a Question forum: Advice: easiest way to remove lawn

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Otago, NZ
NewGardenerNZ
Dec 15, 2017 4:50 PM CST
Hey folks,

I have a reasonably big lawn and we want to kill off all the grass and replace it with a stone garden. We've done a test on a small patch and killed all the grass off, but the stems and roots are (obviously) still there and are somewhat resistant to just being raked up. What's the best method for completely removing lawn that doesn't involve digging up couple of hundred square metres of soil?

Thanks :)
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Dec 15, 2017 4:58 PM CST
You can rent a sod cutter and get it out easily, or hire a landscaping firm to come remove it. I've tried killing lawns myself, and most times I was fighting it forever.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Dec 15, 2017 5:08 PM CST
First of all, congratulations Hurray! Hurray! for getting rid of lawn grass.
You could water an area thoroughly, then lay clear plastic, weighted down with bricks or rocks or whatever comes to hand. This will effectively kill the grass over time. You can use clear plastic or black plastic. Either will work but it could take about 8 weeks or so. Do this when your temperatures are high rather than during the cold months for faster results.

There are other methods and I'm sure someone will chime in soon.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Dec 15, 2017 7:14 PM CST
A couple years ago, when I wanted to get rid of my lawns, my daughters and I rented a sod cutter on a little trailer for $120 for 24 hours from Home Depot. We took out my front and back lawns, my neighbor's lawn and my daughter's lawn and had it back the same evening. Easy Peasy! Smiling
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Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Dec 15, 2017 7:53 PM CST
Sod cutter.
That way roots will be gone or cut to a level they die easily.
You can poison, black plastic till hell freezes and the seeds of weeds will still be in the top fractions of an inch of soil.
Name: Sue
SF Bay Area, CA (Zone 9b)
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Zuni
Dec 15, 2017 10:56 PM CST
Pigs. I'm not kidding. But, unless you're rural and it's allowed, you'll probably have to settle for a sod cutter.

When I bought a couple different properties in WA state, I used pigs to help get rid of blackberries and to deal with brush/weeds, etc. They do a great job of clearing and turning over land - and they are smart and funny, and well, some people even find them tasty lol. I used to, but I'm vegan now.

I also used black plastic to great effect. If you have any dairy farms around, they usually have thick plastic they'll give you or sell cheap. They use huge "tubes" of thick black on one side/white on the other plastic, to cover huge cow manure piles with, and they will have ends they will get rid of. I happened to live near dairy farmers, and I'd use this plastic to cover areas I was trying to replant.

I'd just leave it in place at least over the summer.

Forget horses, as they just eat the good stuff and leave everything they don't like. And then poop out seeds with fertilizer added lol.

And forget Roundup. It's worthless - but expensive.

I didn't have an actual "lawn," per se, but just wild acreage.

What I also did, by the way, is plant a really thick-growing clover as a ground cover to choke out other plants/weeds and so it would at least look green and nice until I could do something more formal with the land. The nice thing about the clover ground cover, is it also feeds the soil.

But, you could try removing it by whatever means, and immediately planting a bunch of seeds of a desirable ground cover that will help you fight the battle of the re-seeding lawn. Depending on what your future plans are for it, of course.
[Last edited by Zuni - Dec 15, 2017 10:59 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Dec 15, 2017 11:46 PM CST
The sod cutter cuts under the roots so you are cutting a piece that's 1.5 to 2 inches or more deep. I had to take the edges out with a pick (that's amazingly easy too) but, I never had a problem with the grass growing back. It was gone!

We got rid of all our lawn piles in one night by advertizing "free sod" on Craig's List. Smiling

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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