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We want to get rid of our front lawn, which is not a very well maintained lawn. It's basically full of wild grass and weeds. There's also a big tree amongst the grass. We have very dense soil because we live in Los Angeles and we rarely water the lawn.

We know that we need to kill the grass and then remove a number of inches of the top before we can start our landscaping project.

We've been doing research and some sources say that it might be easier to remove the top layer when the grass when is actually healthy. Initially we were planning on just cover our lawn with some large tarps that we have to kill everything and then remove the top.

For our landscaping project we are going to plant some ground cover, inset some stones for a path, add some flowers, native plants, and succulents.

Should we kill the lawn first before we remove the top layer?

  • Are you replanting grass with the goal of having a nice lawn? If so, turning up all that soil is going to bring so many new seeds ready to germinate that killing it all would be an exercise in futility. You should include your landscape project goals. – Evil Elf Jun 11 at 12:00
  • You don't have to remove any of the soil under the lawn in order to landscape it, unless perhaps you have weeds with large underground root systems (like crabgrass). Usually, killing the lawn is enough (light exclusion is a good method, but will impact the tree if it can't get any rain to its roots). EvilElf is correct that disturbing the soil will bring tons of weeds to light. If your soil is compacted, then aerate it before killing the lawn. – Jurp Jun 11 at 12:50

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