Want Your Lawn Gone? How to Get Rid of Grass Safely

person with shovel digging up grass

If you live in an area in a drought or simply want a change in the appearance of your lawn, you may decide it is time to get rid of your grass.

Doing so does not mean simply ripping your yard up with all the force you have—this will damage the soil and look horrible. Instead, there are a few different ways you can safely get grass off of your yard. Once you have, there are quite a few options for having a grass-free, beautiful yard.

Check First

Before you begin ripping out your grass, check with local building codes and your HOA if applicable to confirm that there are no regulations in place affecting your desire to rid your yard of grass.


Many lawn removal techniques involve digging. Doing so is much easier if the soil is moist, so water your yard before you start to remove it.

Sod Removal

One method for removing grass is manual sod removal. You can use a shovel or a garden hoe to remove the grass.

This method is not recommended for bigger areas but works well for small yards.

Suffocate It

wheelbarrow on tarp over grass

You can also suffocate your yard to prevent grass from growing. One way to do this is by adding a large quantity of mulch to essentially suffocate the grass. Grass needs sunlight to grow and you will be cutting off its supply.


Instead of going the manual route, you can go the chemical route. Herbicides—chemicals that can kill grass and weeds—are one way to remove grass from your yard.

Herbicides have their drawbacks, however. For starters, they are not good for the environment. They can also be dangerous if accidentally ingested by pets.

Heat the Grass

Another way to remove grass is to overheat it, which will kill it. This method is most successfully used in hot climates. Before you begin the process, make sure your grass is cut short and there are no grass clippings or fertilizers on the ground.

Cover your yard with a sheet and leave it to do its job overheating the yard.

Grass Free Yards

Grass-free yards are much easier to maintain than yards with grass. You will not have to water them or worry about spending your weekends mowing the lawn. There are quite a few things you can do, sans grass, to still have an incredibly attractive yard.


flagstone patio near pergola

Flagstones have a very neat appearance and are incredibly easy to maintain. They are also great for outdoor entertaining because they will allow you to put outdoor furniture and even an outdoor kitchen in your yard.


Gravel is another great option to fill your yard with. Like flagstone, gravel is incredibly low maintenance. Depending on the look of your home, this can also help create a Mid-Century Modern feel.


If you don't want to totally say goodbye to greenery, consider installing raised planters. You can use these to grow food you will actually eat or to add a pop of color to your yard. Consult with someone at your local gardening center on what plants will do best in your climate and in planters.


Cedar, bark chips, and other mulches can also be used to replace grass. Be careful that you are not using mulches that are dangerous to pets if you have them.


You can fill in your yard with concrete. Like with flagstones, this is a great option if you like to entertain because it opens up a large amount of space for you and your guests and creates an area where you can place outdoor furniture.

Water Features

pond in yard with bushes, fence, and flagstones

You can go big and add something like a pool to your grass-free yard, or smaller by adding something like a bird fountain. Either way, a water feature will look great and bring some interest to your yard.


If you want the look of grass without the work associated with it, artificial turf may be for you. Some municipalities will actually give you money or tax benefits for ripping out your grass in favor of turf. Turf is much easier to care for than grass and looks great.