I’m figuring out how to completely strip and replace my garden.

Do I need to hire a turf cutter, or can I can use weed killer to kill the lawn then rotovate it into the earth once dead?

Is one (a lot) better than the other?


  • Your location helps us give you a better answer. Some states/provinces are quite restrictive with allowing homeowners the use of herbicides – kevinskio Mar 29 '20 at 12:41
  • Instead of weed killer, have you considered solarizing? It takes much longer, but does the same job in the end without chemicals. – SethMMorton Mar 29 '20 at 15:21
  • Also, I very recently used a sod cutter. It is heavy and awkward but very effective. Sod is also heavy and awkward to move. When considering your options, remember that going this route will be quite a workout. – SethMMorton Mar 29 '20 at 15:23
  • Where are you in the world and how large is the turfed area? – Bamboo Mar 29 '20 at 18:40
  • I’m in the UK, so - cold weather, no problem with using glysophate. – Andrew Mar 30 '20 at 13:05

I live in Souther California where devil's grass (warm season grass) needs to be removed with a sod cutter, but if you have cool season grass, why not try sheet mulching. It will smother the grass underneath, but also create rich soil in which to plant.


The most straightforward option is to spray the turf with glyphosate (Roundup, for example), wait seven days (assuming average temperatures) and then rotavate. If it's a large lawn, use a knapsack sprayer and also canes to mark out metre wide strips so you can spray methodically. Be aware that glyphosate is not a selective herbicide so avoid drift onto other plants. Chose a calm day and follow all manufacturer's instructions.

  • Thanks, I think this is my preferred approach. I don’t want to rent the cutter and have to deal with the turf, and there’s nothing out there we want to keep so no problem with protecting plants. – Andrew Mar 30 '20 at 13:08

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