Getting rid of lawns is one of my favorite activities....not that I dislike lawns,...there's just something indescribably satisfying about replacing a patch of grass with a patch of food or medicinal herbs
There are a number of ways to do this, but I'm going to list my favorites. Here goes.
1) Take some cardboard boxes and flatten. Lay them out over your lawn, with edges overlapping to ensure no grass gets through.
-- Cover cardboard with aged manure or compost. Be sure to find out if the animals the manure's coming from have been fed antibiotics or hormones. If so, find a different source. Aged manure is preferable over fresh manure if you'll be planting in it soon. (fresh manure will be too hot for the plants).
If you're leaving it over the winter, you can use fresh manure -- just be sure to either plant a cover crop (your local seed store will know), or mulch with hay, dried grass, leaves, etc.
The manure will leave you a great bed to plant in.
2) Dig up all your sod:
-use a sharp knife to (carefully) make a cut-out where you'd like your garden bed to be. A serrated bread knife worked well for me. I found cutting the sod into 1 ft x 1 ft squares make them easier to pull up. You'll want to fashion yourself a screen that you can use to recover soil from you sods (build a wooden frame that will fit on top of a wheelbarrow, and affix some hardware cloth or other mesh to it....otherwise some garden supply stores may carry the screens). Rub the sod against the screen, until all that's left is a bunch of grass roots in your hand, and a pile of finely sifted soil in your wheelbarrow. Return the soil to the garden bed once you've gotten rid of the grass.
Some grass will be persistent -- thats ok. It may take a few seasons to fully rid yourself of the lawn....but you'll be able to garden this space you've created.
more to come..........