How to Control Grass in Flower Beds


Gardeners would love if designing and planting a garden didn't involve weeding. Even the most perfectly planned gardens get subjected to weed incursions at some point. Grass also appears as a great annoyance in a flower bed, detracting from the look of flowering annuals and perennials. Grass removal in flower beds involves proper preparation of the planting site and regular monitoring to deal with sprouts of grass. Methods exist to remove grass without using herbicides to prevent damage to existing plants in the garden.

Step 1

Prepare the planting site before installing any flowers. Dig up grass by stepping hard on the shovel to remove clumps to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Completely remove the clump and roots from the planting site. This initial removal will deal with the majority of the grass from the outset, limiting future growth in the planting bed.

Step 2

Position plants to allow little room for grass to flourish in the nutrient-rich soil of the fertile garden bed. Tight spacing of plants limits light availability to grass. Grasses thrive in bright sunlight. Leave enough space for plants to reach mature height and width.

Step 3

Apply a 4-inch thick layer of mulch to the entire surface of the garden. A mulch layer limits the ability of grass to germinate and cools soil temperatures to make an unfriendly environment for grass seedlings. Additional barriers include the use of porous weed screen to form a permanent barrier in the garden. Remember that weed screen lies beneath the mulch layer and grass seeds can germinate in this environment.

Step 4

Add a border edging around the entire flower bed to limit encroachment from lawn areas. Edging types include plastic, wood, brick and paver-style barriers that beautify the landscape and prevent grass from spreading into flower beds.

Step 5

Attack new sprouts of grass on a regular basis by using the shovel or trowel to dig deeply into the soil for removal. Lift the plant out and shake the dirt off the clump elsewhere in the yard.

Step 6

Smother grass clumps by laying three to four sheets of newspaper over the grassy area. Wet the paper thoroughly with the garden hose and apply a 3-inch layer of mulch to cover the paper. The newspaper will degrade over time and won't harm the garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Trowel
  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • Garden edging
  • Newspapers
  • Garden hose


  • Purdue University: Weed Control for the Garden and Landscape
  • North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension: Weed Management in Annual Color Beds
Keywords: kill grass, kill grass in garden, garden weeds

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.