The first step to creating a garden in your yard is to clear away the grass in the area where you want your plants to go. If you have a thick layer of sod in your yard, this can be challenging. However, there are several different techniques that you can choose from to clear the sod, so you can pick the one that works best for your lawn and your capabilities.
Here are a few options for you to consider when you want to create a garden bed:
If you're not up for a lot of physical labor, you can efficiently clear space by applying an herbicide. Be sure to choose an herbicide that's designed to kill grasses only, not a more general one that's designed to kill other plants. Even if you do choose a grass-only herbicide, apply it with care, because it may still have an effect on other plants.
For best results, apply herbicides on sunny days when no rain is expected. Rain can wash the poison off the grass and carry it through your yard, bringing it in contact with other plants. Be sure to rake the soil and add in fertilizer before you plant anything.
If you're up for a little heavy work, digging the sod out of the space that you're trying to clear is a fast way to get the job done. Unlike using an herbicide, digging allows you to begin planting right away, as soon as the space is cleared.
The sod will be easier to dig up if you water it ahead of time. It should be spongy and moist but not soggy. Overly soggy sod will be even heavier and more difficult to remove. Use your spade to cut the sod into parallel strips, then roll up and remove the strips. You may need to replace your topsoil before planting.
If you have plenty of time before you want to plant your garden, you can smother the grass in your sod. This method is easier than digging and avoids the possible complications of using harmful chemicals that come with using herbicides. The biggest drawback to smothering the grass is that it can take a long time.
You can smother the grass by spreading sheets of sun-blocking plastic over the area that you want to clear. The plastic heats up and eventually kills the grass. Alternatively, you can spread newspaper or cardboard over the garden area and cover it with mulch or compost.
The newspaper won't heat up as much as the plastic, but it will eventually smother the grass by blocking the light. Both of these methods can take several months to work, but if you choose the newspaper method, you can punch holes through the paper to the underlying soil and install your plants in the holes.
When choosing a method to clear sod, consider how much time you have, whether you're comfortable using chemicals in the area that you're trying to clear, and how much physical labor you can put in. Those factors will help you choose the right sod removal method for you. To learn more, contact a company like California Sod Center.