Summer is Coming...And It’s the Perfect Time to Kill Your Lawn

By Jason Tilley

Invasive ivy has choked out this section of San Pablo Creek the way the white walkers overwhelmed the village of Hardhome in season five.

During the worst of our recent drought, Bay Area media bombarded us with water-saving suggestions. Prominent among these was replacing lawns with less water-intensive landscaping. We’ve had a couple of wet winters since, which has reduced the urgency, but we Californians know that the next drought is always around the corner, so I thought I’d revisit this issue.

I went through the lawn replacement process a decade ago (pre-drought) motivated in part by water conservation, but largely by the fact that I hate mowing the lawn. This might sound like an odd statement from someone writing a gardening column, but I don’t consider lawn-mowing gardening. Gardening is a creative endeavor, in partnership with nature. Mowing the lawn is just the outdoor equivalent of vacuuming (which I also hate).

Not everyone feels this way. For some folks, lawn-mowing (or vacuuming, for that matter) is a relaxing, zen-like experience. Also, some people cherish their lawn as a place to run around with the kids or sunbathe, or they just like the way it looks. That’s fine. I’m not trying to convert anyone. Instead, this article is directed to those who’ve considered lawnicide, but been deterred by the amount of work or expected expense. I want to share my experience, and assure you that a lawn replacement doesn’t need to cost a lot, and that you can do it yourself with much less effort than you may assume.

Plotting Your Lawn’s Demise