If you’re looking to get rid of your lawn and replace it with something more useful, there are several ways you can go about it. The cheapest and least damaging way is to dig up the grass yourself.
Before you begin, water the area to soften the soil and make it easier to work with. You also want to call 811 to ensure that there are no underground pipes or wires near where you’re digging.
Get the Right Tools
The right tools can make digging up grass easier, lessen body aches and muscle strains and help you dig more efficiently. Whether you’re digging up soil for planting new flowers or for weeding, you need tools that are the right size and weight for your specific job.
For instance, a shovel will be great for digging up most of the soil in your yard or garden, but if you uncover rocks or tree roots you may need a “digging bar” and/or an axe or mattock.
A pick axe or mattock has a blade on one end and a slim chisel on the other. Both are excellent for breaking up hard soil and cutting through stubborn tree roots.
A spade has a flat blade that is sharp enough to cut through sod and transplant plants or bushes. It’s also useful for creating clean edges around flower beds, lawns and between driveways and patios.
Prepare the Site
Whether you are lucky enough to have an oversized backyard or a tame cul de sac, reserving a spot for your newfound green thumbs is the best way to go about it. For the best results, make your selections based on a mix of horticultural requirements and a bit of forethought about your goals and limitations. The following tips are sure to help you weed the wheat from the chaff: Before you get started, don’t forget to check with your local authorities about a permit to be on the safe side. The last thing you want is a finely tuned garden that you can’t afford to mess up.
Cut the Grass
Before you start digging, make sure to remove any weeds. This will make it easier for your grass to spread and fill in. It will also help keep the lawn healthier, as weeds can compete with grass for space and water.
Before digging up grass, you can trim it down to a height of three inches or less. This is known as scalping. Scalping removes two-thirds of the leaf blade, which stresses the grass and can weaken it over time.
To cut your grass, you can use a lawn mower, which makes it easy to control the amount of leaf tissue removed. But you don’t want to cut off more than one-third at a time, as this can damage the root system of your grass.
You can also dig up the grass yourself, but it will take a little bit more work and may take longer to completely kill off the roots. If you’re not comfortable doing the job, a landscaping company might be able to take care of it for you.
Dig Up the Soil
One of the most challenging parts of getting your garden up and running is digging up your soil. So, before you begin the actual work, it’s a good idea to give your lawn a few days of watering to loosen up the ground and make the task a little easier.
Digging also increases aeration of the soil, which helps plant roots grow better. This is especially true for heavy clay and mucky soils that are often a pain to handle with a spade or shovel.
Double digging is a great way to increase aeration of the soil. This is where the topsoil is broken up to a greater depth than in single digging and then thrown onto a trench or pit containing a forked surface.
Other methods include rototilling and even skidding. If you want the best results, try using a combination of the above to get your garden started off on the right foot.