Author Topic: Switching from $$$ Grass to $ Xeriscape  (Read 3215 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Location: Arizona
Switching from $$$ Grass to $ Xeriscape
« on: October 06, 2014, 12:57:20 AM »
Hi all,

My "mother-in law" is asking me to help her convert her Phoenix, Arizona front yard from grass (with two huge pine trees), to Xeriscape or 'desert landscaping' (with two huge pine tress, still in place).

Looking at, it seems very intensive and potentially expensive.

I was just thinking I could get some free rock off Craigslist, tear up the grass, remove some dirt/grass and put down the "grass-proof" tarping and then shovel down rock until she's happy.


She has sprinklers, utility lines, persistent bermuda grass, and a medium size lot (the front yard is about 75ftx25ft).

I need tips/tricks/help. Gotta keep costs low.

Has anyone done this? Anyone live in Arizona and have any ideas for killing the grass? She's very concerned with image and doesn't want plastic tarps laying over the grass with bricks on top to kill the grass off over the next few weeks. She's thinking I can do it all in one day..

Mustachian powers, unite!


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Switching from $$$ Grass to $ Xeriscape
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2014, 04:53:14 AM »
If you want to be quick, you can lay black plastic over the weeds, cover the edges or push them into the ground to create a sealed bubble, and then gas it. This kills all the weeds, and the gas is beneficial to anything planted afterwards. I think it only takes a couple of days. Not sure about the pines, although if they are big, they will probably be OK. If you are interested in this method, I will look up the book I have with it in.

You could also cover the area in concrete, and put the rocks on top. But this is definitely permanent, and the pines might not have enough air on their roots.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Switching from $$$ Grass to $ Xeriscape
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2014, 11:53:46 AM »
Regardless of what she thinks this is a huge job!  We paid someone to do it in our front yard earlier this year <hanging head in shame>.  It took weeks (not full time).

The landscaper used Roundup to kill the Bermuda...spray, wait a week or two...spray again...following week when it looks d.e.a.d. scrape out grass and a couple of inches of earth.  Round up is crappy for the environment but it won't hurt the pine trees since it has to contact the foliage to kill.  She'll probably still need an irrigation system. 

You definitely need landscaping cloth under rocks or DG or whatever you replace the grass with.  Bermuda grass will still somehow pop up so she'll need to keep up on it.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 70
  • Location: Arizona
Re: Switching from $$$ Grass to $ Xeriscape
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2014, 02:39:16 PM »
I see one of the biggest challenges being that it's Bermuda. Pesky weed of a plant.

What do you guys know about scalping? Can I scalp without 'killing off' the grass first? She has sprinklers so I assume I'd have to be wary of the sprinkler lines, etc.

Thank you for your replies so far!