What You Should Know Before Removing Grass to Save Green

by Megan WildMay 9, 2017

Removing grass from any area can be a big job. This goes double if the area is large or if you’re unfamiliar with the process. There are some situations where you may want to remove a small patch of lawn to put in a garden, and others where you might just want to rip it all out.

Even for a small area, there are plenty of things to take into consideration. Time invested, the environmental damage, noise for the neighbors, local laws and potential underground utilities all factor into any project. You want to make sure you have a solid plan in mind as well, knowing the area size and preferably mapping it out with a laser to get straight lines — and always, always mow first.

A key point to make: before digging anywhere, call 811 a few days before you start any digging project. Better safe than sorry!

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Digging up Small

If you’re looking to put in a new flower bed or maybe install a frog pond, then you probably don’t need to pull out all the stops. This is a project you can do yourself in a weekend. One of the cheapest options is just to grab a shovel, wheelbarrow, and a rake and start working at it. This by-hand method is commonly called chopping.

If you want the job to go a little faster and be easier on your back, then rototilling might be a good option. A larger rototiller would work better to remove the grass stolon and keep it from growing back. A small one will work, of course, but you’ll find yourself ripping out grass shoots all summer long.

Rototilling also has some distinct advantages. It’s a great way to get rid of grass, but it also works to effectively spread fertilizer into the soil. With regular use, around once a season, it can also help to improve the soil structure.

Stuck in the Middle

For projects that aren’t big enough to get excited about but feel like more than an afternoon’s work, you have a variety of options. Many of these will work for small areas, like a frog pond, as well.

If you have some time on your hands, you might want to try sheet mulching the grass. Cover the area you want to kill the grass in with something the sunlight can’t get through, like cardboard. Make sure it’s slightly overlapping. Then soak it thoroughly, but gently, with water. Once it’s all down, layer thickly with mulch, soak it again and then wait. Pull any grass shoots you see, and continue wetting the area once a week. Eventually, the mixture of cardboard and mulch will turn into fertilizer for the soil.

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Going for the Big Guns

In some cases, you just want to remove a lot of grass. You might be looking at regrowing your yard, decreasing the size of your yard or removing weed-damaged areas. Either way, this is a situation where you might want to consider heavy equipment. To keep the time to a minimum, you might want to think about a multi-terrain loader with a landscape tiller attachment.

It’s kind of like a rototiller on steroids. This equipment can turn a full weeks’ worth of work into a weekend job. Unless you’re well trained on how to handle heavy equipment, this is one time you should call a professional. There might be some initial sticker shock, but it’s well worth it. Spending the extra money to have it done right the first time is a huge benefit to spending weeks on it yourself, or ending up with a hospital bill.

It’s also important to remember how to work around objects. If you have trees or bushes in the area that you want to remove grass from, be careful. Go slow, and try chopping the grass to at least the edge of the canopy around tree trunks. This will help protect the roots and prevent damage to the tree.

There are tons of options for removing grass from your lawn. The key is not to have it replaced with weeds. A bit of planning and knowing when to trust the professionals makes everything easier.


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About The Author
Megan Wild
Megan Wild enjoys finding easy and low-stress ways to improve your home. In her downtime, she enjoys flipping flea market finds, hanging out with her dog, and writing on her home-themed blog, Your Wild Home. She's passionate about sustainability and environmentalism, and you can find her tweeting about both @Megan_Wild.

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