Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Remove Grass to Install Pavers

Whether you’re creating a patio area, walkway or driveway, the very first step in installing pavers is to remove the grass sod. No matter how large the area, removing the grass is easy if you use the right tools for the job. For most installation projects involving pavers, you can remove the grass using a grub hoe with an 8-inch-wide blade. After the grass is gone, you’ll have an easier time excavating the foundation for your pavers.

Mark the outline of where you’re planning to install the pavers, using either landscaping flags or landscape-marking spray paint.

Make a short, downward swing with a grub hoe, chopping into the grass sod just deep enough to cut into the root layer. Try not to chop more than 1 or 2 inches deep into the soil.

Pull on the grub hoe’s handle to lift up the sod piece, apply just enough force to remove the grass from the soil layer.

Step forward after removing the sod piece and work your way forward instead of backward as you remove the grass with the grub hoe.

Remove another 9 to 11 inches of soil using a flat shovel after removing all the grass sod, if you’re installing a driveway made out of pavers. If you’re creating a patio or walkway with pavers that will have only foot traffic, excavate only 7 inches deep.

Tamp down and even out the soil using a roller or hand tamper. Your area is now ready for the paver-installation process.


Rent a sod cutter from your local home improvement or garden store, if you have a larger area of grass to remove, such as for a large paver patio area or driveway. Also, rent a plate compactor to tamp down the soil instead of using a hand tamper or roller.


Avoid swinging the grub hoe like an axe, because this will apply unnecessary force and tire you out quickly.

Always know where any underground utilities or plumbing systems are located before excavating around your house. Contact your local utility company if you’re unsure about where your underground lines are located.

Garden Guides