Xeriscaping is the method of landscaping a yard with plants that require very little water. A xeriscaped yard does not have grass, because a grass-covered lawn requires too much water. To prepare a lawn for xeriscaping, the grass must be killed prior to planting the drought-hardy plants.
Mow the lawn as short as possible. In areas where the mower can't reach (such as along fences and buildings), use a weed eater. It's essential to get the grass cut short and even, so that the newspaper or plastic will lay flat.
Lay newspaper over the grass that you want to kill. Use layers that are at least 10 to 12 layers thick. Overlap the sheets by 4 to 6 inches to prevent sunlight from reaching the grass through any cracks.
Lay bricks or stones on edges and corners of the newspaper to hold it down. Use as many as possible to ensure that the newspaper will stay down. If you run out of stones or bricks, use anything in your yard that is heavy enough to weigh down the newspaper (such as flower pots, sprinklers, etc).
Wet the newspaper thoroughly, using a water hose. Wait two months for the grass to die back under the newspaper. If you don't want to wait two months, you can substitute mulch, compost or gravel for the bricks and stones. Completely cover the newspaper with a 4-inch deep layer of mulch, compost or gravel and plant your xeriscaping plants by cutting very small slits into the newspaper.