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How to Clear a Tall & Overgrown Yard

Tall grass
Christine Mariner / Design Pics/Valueline/Getty Images

Whether you've moved into a new house or just haven't been able to take care of your lawn, a tall, overgrown yard can make your property look unsightly. Clearing this type of overgrowth requires more than a basic lawn mower, though. Getting through thick grasses, weeds and woody saplings requires the proper tools -- and some patience because the project definitely requires significant time.

Work Slowly

If your yard is large and overgrown, don’t try to clear it all in one day. Instead, break the job into smaller pieces to make it more manageable. Depending on the yard's size, you could clear 10-by-10-foot or 20-by-20-foot sections. Rocks or other objects can mark the corners of each section so you'll know where to work. When you finish clearing one section, bag all of its brush and debris before moving to the next section.

Mow Open Areas

Clearing large areas of heavily overgrown weeds, grass and saplings by hand is usually too difficult and takes a long time. A brush mower is an ideal tool for clearing difficult overgrowth because it easily cuts tough grass and weeds and can even chop 3-inch-diameter saplings. A walk-behind model is similar to a regular lawn mower and should work in areas through which you can walk. If the yard is so overgrown that you can’t walk across it, then a tow-behind brush mower is a better option. Home improvement and tool rental stores rent brush mowers.

Define Edges

Although a brush mower effectively clears the center portions of an overgrown landscape, the yard's edges and fence lines require more precision clearing. A string trimmer is an option for those locations because it can cut thin grasses and weeds. You can choose from a handheld string trimmer for small areas or a walk-behind trimmer for a large yard. Attachments make a string trimmer powerful enough to deal with some woody brush and weeds.

Get Rid of Stumps

Usually, the hardest part of clearing an overgrown yard is getting rid of saplings and other small trees. A brush mower may leave behind their stumps, and stumps may remain from larger trees that were removed. Digging out stumps by hand can be an incredibly difficult task. Chemical solutions can dissolve a tree stump, but the process often takes months and sometimes years. If you want an entirely clear yard, though, using a stump grinder is usually the best option. You can rent one from a home improvement or tool rental store, and use it to grind the stumps, leveling them.

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