If you have kids or animals and are concerned about where they will play, then might I suggest using synthetic turf. It is much easier to maintain than regular turf, requires no watering and you never have to reseed or mow. You will on occasion have to sweep it to ensure that you get whatever dirt may be there, but not often enough to be bothersome.
OK so now that you have thankfully decided to kill your lawn let's talk about how to kill it. First identify what type of lawn you have and then follow the steps to appropriate removal.
Cool Season - Fescue, Marathon, Bluegrass & any grass blends that stay green in the winter - With this type of grass you can do the following steps to removal...
- Smother with mulch - this will prevent the grass from receiving the sunlight it needs to grow.
- Strip and flip using a sod cutting machine.
- Rototill, only if no rhizomatous weedy grasses are present.
- Stop watering it.
- Hand removal by weeding & digging out the roots.
- Herbicide usage - This can be pricey and somewhat toxic so use with caution.
- Do not rototill as this will spread the seeds for more new grass to grow.
Update: in designing lawn-less gardens I have come to learn many things, tips and tricks and one that I have learned after writing this post is about a safe method to killing the lawn. Before I get to that I would like to state that if you use RoundUp then you are putting yourself at high risk. On the one hand it is water soluble and on the other hand it is cancer causing. NO JOKE! This is a post I did about RoundUp and a safer method of killing your lawn using vinegar.