The Best Ways to Kill Lawn Grass

If you're tired of the maintenance that a lawn requires, or if you decide you'd rather grow vegetables and fruit trees instead, you can remove your grass in several different ways. Perhaps you live in an area where water is rationed and you need to find less thirsty alternatives to that lush, green lawn so many homeowners crave. Whatever the reason, removing all or part of your lawn doesn't have to be a time-consuming, backbreaking task.

Layering With Cardboard

Homeowners can spread layers of cardboard over lawn areas and then top it off with 4 to 6 inches of compost or any type of organic mulch, as suggested in an article from the Los Angeles Times. No chemical products are involved in this old permaculture technique called "sheet composting," which organic farmers have been using for many years. Covering your lawn or any other area where you want to kill weeds works within two months. And a bonus is that you can begin to plant other types of plants immediately, according to the book "Lasagna Gardening." Just dig through the compost or mulch, punch a hole in the cardboard if the roots of your new plant are longer than 4 to 6 inches deep, and set in herbs, wildflowers, other flowering plants, vegetables and anything else your heart desires.


Mow your lawn as low as you can set your mower and then water it deeply---run a sprinkler on the area for at least one hour to wet it thoroughly. Next, cover the area with a sheet of heavy-duty clear plastic and anchor it around the edges with bricks, rocks or boards. The sun will heat up the area so much that the lawn will die. Solarizing works best if you do it during the hottest six weeks of the summer.


If you don't mind the idea of using herbicides, you can use a spray product such as Roundup to kill your lawn. Spray your lawn well and repeat the application immediately to make sure you have covered every inch of your lawn. Reapply the herbicide one week to 10 days later. Products such as Roundup don't remain in the soil, according to the Los Angeles Times, so it is safe to plant other plants as soon as your lawn is brown and dead.

Lawn Alternatives

Many plants can serve the same purpose as a lawn. If you plant creeping mint (Corsican), creeping thyme, Roman chamomile, English daisies or other low-growing ground cover plants right in your lawn, they will spread or reseed themselves, eventually winning the competition with the lawn. You can create a meadow-like environment that you can walk over and that will turn into a more attractive environment than your existing lawn provides.

Keywords: lawn grass, killing weeds, sheet composting

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.