DIY Message Boards
Turn-over Yard

This topic can be found at:

Jun 14, 2013, 02:04 PM
Turn-over Yard
I live in the city and have a small lot which may help explain my ignorance for using a rototiller. My goal is to get rid of all my grass, so I can replace it with mulch, flowers and perennials. The existing grass/weeds is real sparse and thin in most spots, not worth saving. I started to take a shovel, scoop by scoop, and turn it over before I realized there's got to be a better way. Does a rototiller get in and do enough damage so nothing will grow back?
Jun 17, 2013, 06:57 PM
It is really helpful to know where you live. A rototiller can make things worse here in AZ but might be effective elsewhere.
Jun 17, 2013, 07:59 PM
Is there a particular reason why the grass and weeds are sparse? I'm thinking that something might be preventing them from growing, and that cause may also affect your eventual flower garden.

I agree that where you live would make a difference in whether or not rototilling would be effective. I also think the issue of the poor existing growth should be addressed as well.

Another option is to use one of my favorite tools, a scuffle hoe.

(I'm sure there are cheaper ones; this is just a good photo of the hoe.)

It's used like a mop, back and forth, but the hoe (which rotates) loosens the roots and makes them easier to remove.

Assuming the poor growth has shallow roots, once you loosen them then all you have to do is rake them up and add them to a compost pile, if you're starting one.

Before you till or dig, I'd address the soil issue first. If it needs to be amended, you can use well rotted compost and till it under.

As to whether anything will grow back, unfortunately that's one of the facts of life of gardening. Something you don't want is more than likely to grow back whatever you do, but you can control it by planting thickly so that the flowers crowd out the weeds.

And BTW, I used to use mulch but it didn't keep the weeds out; it does keep the soil more moist though. Eventually I moved to just leaving the soil unmulched and planting heavily. With bare soil, any weeds that dared to invade the garden just got scuffle hoed out.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,