Killing The Lawn

My goal for a while has been to get rid of the lawn in the front yard. It’s large, the soil is almost dead (previous owner, years of chemicals), and four years of trying to bring it back has been futile. The severe drought this summer made that evident.  All the water in the world cannot help soil depleted of nutrients.

The biggest stumbling block was removing the grass. It’s often ineffective, with roots remaining and grass invading the new plantings. It would also mean bringing in new soil to level out the yard.  Then I found a method that seems perfect for what we’ll be doing with the landscaping going forward.

Lasagna Method for grass removal:

Sheet Covering (or Lasagna Gardening)

What is it? : This is a method of killing grass by covering it with newspaper or cardboard and layering it with organic matter and mulch.


  • Efficient
  • Inexpensive
  • Minimal labor
  • Minimal environmental impact

*If you are concerned about the toxicity of using newspaper in your soil, not to worry! While traditional newspaper inks contained toxic cadmium, lead, and chromium, most inks of the 21st century are soy-based and safe to use on your lawn. You can always call your paper to check on the type of ink that they use.

  • Does not require removal/disposal of sod
  • Builds rich soil
  • Provides a place to compost kitchen scraps, leaves, yard clippings, etc. at home

I’m a 3D thinker – 2D design is difficult for me to visualize something. I started with a sketch, and then I grabbed all the bricks, edging and rocks I had lying around and laid them out to get an idea of what the new yard would look like.

 There will be a casual flagstone path leading from the front stoop to the mailbox, with a small flower garden next to it.

There will be another casual flagstone path leading to the back gate with another flower garden next to it (blue line).

The two flower beds will be planted with butterfly and hummingbird attractors.  And a second tree – a flowering honey locust – will be planted where the current butterfly garden is located. I’ll salvage what plants I can from that and winter them over to replant in the spring.

In front of the house will be four ornamental grasses – two Zebra and two Fountain grass. I’ll live with the open space over the winter and decide what to add in the spring, but it will probably be a few Lavander plants, butterfly bushes and a couple of boxwood bushes.

If you’re wondering why I’m leaving grass under the plum tree – it’s because of the plums. Cleaning them up in mulch would be difficult. In grass, I just run the mower over them and they add nutrients to the grass.

I’m about at the point of no return on this decision. I’ll update if I go forward on the progress.




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  1. Pingback: Balloon Juice | Climate Solutions: Killing The Lawn Phase 1

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