Lawns provide an area for playing games, resting and reading a book and are visually pleasing. Green grass sets off flower borders. Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. Lawns do take up a lot of time for mowing, weeding, fertilizing and trimming. If you would like to decrease the size of your lawn, it is possible to plant a garden on top of it without removing the sod.
Cover the area for the garden with black plastic. Garbage bags work fine. The lawn will die from the increased heat, lack of water and light. Remove after two weeks. If you don't want to wait two weeks go directly to the next step.
Lay a 2-inch layer of newspapers on the ground where you would like the new garden. The newspapers block light so the grass will eventually die. The paper will decompose and add organic matter to the soil. The roots of the new plants will penetrate the newspapers.
Outline the newspapers with bricks, cement blocks, wooden posts or wood boards to build a raised planter that is at least 12 inches deep. Old tires with the metal centers removed make individual planters and are good for annual flowers and vegetables.
Fill the planter or tires with topsoil. Another alternative is to mix one-third your garden dirt, one-third purchased top soil and one-third compost with slow-release fertilizer per package directions. Water until the soil is soaked. It will probably settle a bit. If it does, add more soil so it is within an inch or two of the top of the planter.
Plant sun-loving vegetables like tomatoes, squash, eggplant and peppers in the center of the bed. If you're planting seeds, space them in groups of three seeds 3 feet apart or 3 seeds per tire. Thin to the strongest seedling in each group. If you're planting larger plants, dig a hole that is as deep as the root ball. Cover the root ball with 1/2 inch of soil.
Surround the vegetables with marigolds, which keep away some pests and will bloom all summer.
Grow cucumbers and pole beans up trellises in the back of the bed. Or plant them on the sides of the bed and let them grow over the lawn. You will have to move them out of the way to mow.