There are basically two ways of removing a lawn - the quick and lazy way or the slow and correct way. Which ever way you choose you must carry through to complete each step in order for this project to be successful. Bermuda grass is a perennial grass that has become a popular choice as a lawn in the Valley for many years. Although well adapted to the heat, it takes 40 inches of water a year to keep the grass looking green. According to the EPA, 30% to 60% of urban fresh water is used for watering lawns each year. Lawns require two to three times the water of a xeriscaped lawn. Removing an established grass lawn takes persistence but is very rewarding in water savings.
The best time to implement this method of lawn removal is in May when the grass is actively growing. Water your lawn for 30 minutes every day for one to two weeks before starting this project. Apply an herbicide like Round Up to the entire area you plan to remove. Wait two days then thoroughly water your lawn again for 10 to 14 days before applying the Round Up again. Do not cut your grass during this time. At this time your grass is growing.
This method requires at least three treatments. The first tilling should be at least 12 inches deep with compost and lime added before tilling. After several weeks, repeat the tilling process but with shallow tilling to remove new weeds. Repeat this process in another week to get any remaining weeds.
This technique involves heating the ground to a point that both the grasses and their seeds cannot survive. This can be done by laying thick black plastic over the ground and anchoring with gravel or several small boulders without interfering with the sun's ability to heat the plastic to be radiated and contained underneath. It is difficult to adequately seal in heat in large areas which is why it is very important to anchor the plastic very securely without detracting too much from its heat radiating properties. If your lawn is in a shady area, it will be difficult to keep the plastic at high enough temperatures to kill the grass alone with its roots. Take thick sheets of black plastic and cover all grass in the entire area to be removed. Cover with gravel for six months. By this time most of the grass should be dead and the plastic can be removed so the soil can breathe again.