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Homeowner sparks concerns after sharing their plans to remove lawn for gravel yard: 'Just know that some maintenance is required'

"No matter what you do, you will have some."

"No matter what you do, you will have some."

Photo Credit: iStock

When you get tired of the constant maintenance of a traditional turf lawn, you may eventually decide to tear it all up and replace it with landscaping rocks and gravel. 

One Redditor wanted to do just that and asked for advice in the r/landscaping subreddit on the best way to tackle the project. 

"I got a lot of landscaping rocks the size of tennis balls," they posted in the Reddit community. "I want to get rid of my lawn and put rocks instead. I was going to do the following:

"1. dig out grass
"2. layer with fabric
"3. place rocks on top.

"Are there steps that I should be taking not listed above?"  

A couple of commenters agreed with the OP's plan to use landscape fabric, but everyone else strongly cautioned against using the material. Many home improvement stores advertise it as being able to prevent weeds, but some homeowners have found out the hard way that it doesn't work. 

It also limits the movement of water, air, and nutrients, making it hard for plant roots and soil microorganisms to survive. In addition, it leaves behind an unsightly plastic mess that pollutes the soil and creates more work for the unfortunate soul who has to clean it up. 

While it does work to separate layers of gravel and rocks from soil, as one expert landscaper explained, there are plenty of natural alternatives to landscape fabric, such as bark mulch, pine needles, wood chips, low-growing plants, and burlap, as LawnStarter explained

Commenters had a few suggestions for the OP to suppress weeds in a planet-friendly way.

"No matter what you do, you will have some weeds pop up over time. They grow in the cracks between cement slabs, through astroturf, and through landscape fabric. The key is to set up your yard to minimize this, just know that some maintenance is required," one commenter said, adding that after ripping out their grass, they "put down some hardscape, native low-water plants, and about 3-4" of decomposed granite."

"The best way to stop weeds is naturally with ground cover, be it low growing plants or layers of mulch or rocks," another shared.

"After removing the grass, spray a pre-emergent. If the area is compacted, bring in about 1 "-2" of dg (decomposed granite) it comes in a few different earth tone colors and I suggest that you use a similar color as the rocks. Then lay the rocks on top of the dg. This will keep the rocks in place," someone else suggested.

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