Sheet mulching (or Lasagna Composting) is an effective way to not only get rid of pesky weeds (or unused lawns) but it also a great way to build organic matter up in your soil. I like to think about it as the lazy person’s answer to better soil, healthier plants and a weed-free garden all done in one task. If that does sound good enough to make you a believer, what if I told you that you could get most of the materials needed for sheet mulching for free or for very little money?

  1. Manure/Compost.
    1. Depending on how adventurous you are feeling, you can get manure for free (stable manure from a horse ranch is great). Call your local feed store for free manure ideas or ads on Craigslist/Freecycle.
    2. You can also save time by purchasing steer, chicken or other manure in bags or bulk (preferred) from your garden center.
    3. Cardboard
      1. For free cardboard try places that sell appliances like refrigerators and ask if you can have any leftover boxes.
      2. Place an ad on Craigslist/Freecycle.
      3. Ask local retail stores in your neighborhood if they would save boxes for you for one week- most people are happy to help since they usually get recycled anyways.
      4. You can also save time by purchasing cardboard in rolls from a packing company. Do a Google search ‘corrugated roll’.
      5. Water
        1. I know it sounds counter intuitive to use water when you are removing a lawn in order to save water but this is a step you can’t skip. Think of keeping your lawn at a moisture level similar to wrung out wet sponge.
        2. Mulch.
          1. This is the top dressing that you get to look at for a couple of months while your weeds or lawn are decomposing, so if you care, choose wisely. I like to call local tree trimming companies and ask if they can delivery free ‘arbor mulch’ directly to my driveway. The only down-side to this free method is that you don’t have a lot of quality control over what tree parts you get (expect a lot of green leaves with the brown wood). You can ask your arborist to avoid delivering mulch from Eucalyptus, Walnut or other allopathic trees that will inhibit future plant growth.
          2. Again the only way to guarantee your results is to purchase mulch at local garden materials site like Lyngso.

The hardest part of this process is gathering up all the materials. But once you have everything at the ready, you can sheet mulch your lawn in one day with a little help from family or friends.