Anyone ever deliberately kill their lawn?

Our lawn is a hot mess with very little grass, mostly cats ears and crab grass. I'm not keen on the idea of a high maintenance, water sucking lawn, so the plan is to kill it off and next year plant mini/micro clover. We're considering several ideas, and wondering what ideas folks have tried and how they've worked.

I'm attracted to the idea of putting down a lot of newspaper, wetting it, and then covering with mulch, but I'm wondering what happens with the mulch once it's time to plant the lawn? If we did this plan, we'd do it in the late summer/early fall and plant the clover in the spring.

So, how have you folks destroyed your lawn and started over? Is the newspaper/mulch idea the best? I just want to kill everything to start over and I'm afraid that just tilling it over won't kill all the cats ears.
  7 answers
  • Gma Kirk Gma Kirk on Jun 03, 2017
    You are on the right track! do this and by next year when you are ready to plant, just turn under the mulch. It will greatly enrich your soil. I wanted a clover lawn, myself. The landscaping guy I talked with suggested mixing half annual rye with the clover seed and then twice as much sand, mixed well, spread evenly over the lawn, then top dress lightly with straw. The rye sprouts quickly, and keeps the dirt from washing off while the clover gets a foothold. The rye will die off. The straw helps hold everything to the dirt and keep birds from getting all the seed. This is working well for me so far! (I just did this!)

    • See 1 previous
    • Gma Kirk Gma Kirk on Jun 03, 2017
      He was just consulting for us so there's no long range incentive for him for a high maintenance lawn.
      We just built a getaway/future retirement home in a rural area on a bluff & did NOT want to be mowing. (Or spraying chemicals. Our bluff is above a creek, so I wouldn't want that running off anyway & I am totally with you about bees!) Bunnies, butteflies and an occasional hummingbird are also welcome to stop by! Best of luck to you!

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Jun 03, 2017
    I've never killed my lawn on purpose, but my dogs do a fine job with their big feet and running around!

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    • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Jun 04, 2017
      If we lived in your vicinity I would let you borrow them, they do a fine job of beating down everything around, especially our white shepherd that is over 100 pounds at 19 months and still filling out. He is a fetch fiend so is running all the time!

  • Rhonda S Rhonda S on Jun 03, 2017
    We had patchy grass in the back, and I wanted to put in a xeriscape. I put out large sheets of 4 mil (or heavier) black plastic. Then we left it through summer, fall, winter and most of the spring. When we planted in spring, the ground under the black plastic was bare. We took up the black plastic because it does not breath or allow rain through, and put down black landscape fabric. Then we put mulch on top of the fabric, and it really lasted nearly 10 years. I'm working on it again this year, and working around the existing plantings. I heard about a lady who collected newspapers, and just put down layers and layers and layers of newspapers, then mulch and her plantings. Good luck.

  • C Van Houten C Van Houten on Jun 04, 2017
    We thought about the black plastic, but if we covered it in mulch, we'd have to pull it up and I want to do the *entire* front yard. But it did work well for you? Right now I have two neglected flowerbeds covered with black trash bags, to see if I can't kill all the grass and weeds that have shifted into there.

  • Rhonda S Rhonda S on Jun 06, 2017
    The local Bermuda is aggressive anywhere there is sun. We have had good luck but I missed adding mulch for too long and now have grass in with cactus. Don't skimp on the mulch when you replant and then keep up with refreshing it and you should be okay for years.

  • Gay24239618 Gay24239618 on Jun 06, 2017
    You can put black plastic over the lawn for a while and kill everything and then put the paper down, put in the plants and then mulch. Just my opinion.

  • Brenda Brenda on Jun 06, 2017
    Just rototill it, don't use poisons that will stay in the ground a very long time.