So I am tired of the city police going around and measuring length of grass in my front yard and issuing tickets if it is half of inch taller than what they arbitrarily prescribe. I never thought I would want to hurt a plant, but I have to, I am paying too many fines... My front yard is sloping, it is not too big and it is all grassy.

  • How would I best eliminate the grass?
  • I purchased some black cloth to put over it, but I am somehow skeptical about it. For instance, what if some wind blows, it is going all to fly...
  • So, how do I get rid of the grass (and replace it with something that does not grow up too much)?
  • I see some people plant ivy in place of grass. I am not sure I am a fan of that...
  • 3
    We'll need a little more information. Where in the world are you? Does a non-grass alternative have to be below a certain height (how tall is too tall?). How much sun does the lawn area get? How steep is the slope (approximately)? Does your area get torrential rains? Do you want to walk on this area regularly (is this a pathway to someplace else on your property?)? Also, photo of the area may be helpful, if you could add one to this question.
    – Jurp
    Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 4:05
  • 2
    Before you do this to your lawn, just check the bylaws to make sure you are allowed to. If you put in gravel or something and it violates the bylaws, you might get fined and required to restore the grass. Bylaws usually suck.
    – BillOnne
    Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 14:48
  • Robo-mower seems like it might be a solution without removing the grass.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 21:38
  • I do non know what "robo-mower" is...
    – Rado
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 0:16
  • Is some sort of artificial grass-like thing possible? I think the commercial name is Astroturf. Maybe that violates city bylaws also.
    – Boba Fit
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 15:48

2 Answers 2


The black cloth (weed mat) is intended to be covered with bark or mulch or pebbles. Even then, it pays to use pegs to fasten it to the ground.

Weeds will still grow, but they are easier to pull out.

  • 2
    The black cloth will kill your soil be restricting/prevent gas exchange between the atmosphere and the soil. As noted in the answer, it does nothing to prevent weeds. A good groundcover can keep the soil alive AND prevent weeds.
    – Jurp
    Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 15:28
  • Yes, my concern is how the cloth is going to hold and things I put on it, since slope is 45 degrees and it is often windy and rainy. I made a mistake once on another lawn -- I simply dug out all the grass and I thought that was it. Oh boy! It resulted in the most fantastical weeds, some of them 4 feet tall and almost as sturdy as wood... So that "approach" is out of question.
    – Rado
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 0:14

A few years ago I had a garden maintenance contract in east London that included a scrappy area of grass and weeds. I initially sprayed these off using Roundup and then maintained the area by spot treating with Roundup every couple of weeks. The result, eventually, was not bare soil but an unexpected covering of moss (which Roundup doesn't kill). A moss lawn, in fact. Depending where you live, that might be an option.

  • 1
    I accidentally grew a moss garden once in a depression in some woods I used to own. Planted some epimediums there, too, and it was quite lovely. Nice idea. The steepness of the hill that the OP mentioned, however, could be a factor limiting the use of RoundUp, as heavy rains could cause erosion (that's one reason I asked the question in my comment, but the OP has not responded). Also, the sun exposure could of course limit moss growth. Again, no response from the OP about that.
    – Jurp
    Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 17:23
  • OK, here is more info -- this is western Pennsylvania. It is cold for good portion of year, as it is now. I want to eliminate it before the weather improves. The sun it gets is the morning sun. During Summer I suspect 3-4 hours of sunlight. Sloping is 45 degrees. Moss sounds OK. I think the city does not allow more than 5 in grass. Some people put over those chips (what are they called?). Roundup is now illegal and there are lawsuits about it since it causes cancer...
    – Rado
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 0:11
  • @Rado - Roundup does not cause cancer, and there are lawsuits about it because sleazy lawyers can exploit the general public's inability to process scientific data to obtain large amounts of income.
    – kreemoweet
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 3:47
  • @kreemoweet brilliant user name. Lawyers will be lawyers, general public is not interested in processing data, but in getting money
    – Rado
    Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 3:20

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