• Home Home

Homeowner seeks advice on low-effort solution to control overgrown grass: 'How would you take care of that?'

"I could use chemicals as a last resort, but obviously I don't want to."

"I could use chemicals as a last resort, but obviously I don't want to."

Photo Credit: iStock

More and more homeowners are going native in their landscaping choices — but for most of them, that means they have to get rid of some stubborn grass first.

One homeowner turned to the subreddit r/NoLawns to ask for advice on their grass removal quest.

"I have a big strip of grass behind my fence. It would be so easy to turn it into a cool little meadow … a nice native strip that's beneficial to pollinators," they wrote. "I could use chemicals as a last resort, but obviously I don't want to. … How would you take care of that in order to rewild it?"

Commenters were quick to jump in with advice.

"Buy a thick tarp. … Cover area you want to smother, leave for minimum 6 months," one person wrote. "12+ is better but 6-8 months should sufficiently smother everything and give it time to decompose. Remove tarp, rake clean, plant away."

Many people use this method, stifling unwanted grass and weeds with canvas tarps, newspaper, cardboard, mulch, or wood chips.

Another commenter suggested "a more natural route" for rewilding the yard.

"Take out invasives/unwanteds as you come across . … Do not rake up the debris as it is needed for beneficial insects and mulch over the winter months," they advised.

"Try tilling the soil and spreading seed in the grassy parts. Still foster what is there and what you planted … so the plants can grow and out compete the grass and start taking over. Adding ground cover to the seed mix and throughout will help keep grass at bay as well."

By eliminating water-guzzling grass to clear the way for a natural lawn, this homeowner can expect significantly lower water bills. Native plants also require much less upkeep, which means no polluting the air with gas-powered lawn tools or poisoning soil with chemical pesticides or herbicides. And even better, native lawns create crucial habitats for wildlife and local pollinators.

The OP also mentioned that they'd have to keep their project safe from the eyes of their homeowners association. Many HOAs require expensive, environmentally unfriendly grass, but people are standing up for native plants and succeeding.

If you want to convince your HOA to allow native plants or another eco-friendly option, check out TCD's guide to changing HOA rules.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider