3 Ways to Remove a Grass Lawn

San Diego droughts are becoming a major problem, so what can you do to maintain your property? It’s time to get rid of your grass lawn and replace it with a beautiful, water-smart landscape!

There are several ways you can remove turf and replace it with an organic, drought-tolerant landscape. This blog post will discuss the 3 most popular grass removal methods and we’ll also tell you about California’s turf replacement rebate program, which can help offset some of the cost of turf removal. 

How to Remove Your Existing Turf

There are a few different grass removal methods that you can use to get rid of your lawn. The method you choose will depend on the season, the size of your property, and your personal preference.

Physical Removal

If you have a smaller yard or feel particularly ambitious, you can physically remove your turf by digging it up. This method is pretty straightforward:

  1. Mow your grass on the lowest setting.
  2. Water thoroughly and wait for a day or two to make your turf easier to work with.
  3. Cut your lawn into long strips with a sharp spade or an edger.
  4. Slide your flat shovel underneath the sod to loosen the roots.
  5. Roll up your turf, and dispose of it.

Alternatively, steps 3 and 4 can be done using a sod cutter to make the turf removal much easier. Sod cutters can be rented from most hardware stores.

Apply Herbicide

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of physically removing your turf, you can apply an herbicide. Herbicides with glyphosate are a popular choice for turf removal because they have fewer residual effects on the soil, making it easier to replant.

When using herbicides, follow the instructions on the label carefully and take care not to damage any nearby plants.

Note: avoid using herbicide if rain is expected within 48hrs. Rain will wash away your herbicide and can harm the local wildlife by ending up in streams or rivers.


Solarization is a grass removal method that uses the power of the sun to kill grass and weeds. This method is best used in the summer when the sun is strongest.

To solarize your turf, you’ll need to:

  1. Mow your grass on the lowest setting.
  2. Wet your turf thoroughly.
  3. Cover your turf with a transparent tarp or plastic sheet.
  4. Wait about 4-6 weeks for the sun to do its work.
  5. Remove the plastic sheet and remove the dead lawn.

Turf Replacement Program

Before starting your project, you may be eligible for a turf replacement rebate from the state of California. The turf removal rebate program is designed to help offset the cost of turf removal by offering a $ per square foot rebate.

Click here for details.

The Best Drought Tolerant Landscaping in San Diego

Our team at Stepping Stone Landscape Design specializes in creating beautiful, drought-tolerant landscapes that beautify your property while reducing maintenance and conserving water.

We use a variety of drought-tolerant plants and hardscaping features to create stunning landscapes that are built to last. If you’re interested in our turf removal and drought-tolerant landscaping services, we invite you to call us at (619) 762-8988 or request an estimate online.