To prevent grass from growing under your fence, first mark a straight line along your fence 3–5 inches (8–15 cm) from the fence itself. Then, dig along this line to uproot the grass growing along the fence, as well as under it. Once the grass is removed, install a landscaping border where the grass meets the excavated area. Next, lay water-permeable landscape fabric over the dirt under the fence. Finally, cover the landscape fabric with a layer of mulch to fully stop grass and weeds from taking root there.
5 Steps to Stop Grass From Growing Under Your Fence
Grass growing under your fence can be a nuisance. It is very difficult to trim grass along a fence without damaging the fence itself. While there are special tips for trimming grass around a vinyl fence, the steps below prevent grass from growing under any type of fence.
Mark an Excavation Line Along Your Fence
The first step to stop grass from growing under your fence is to mark an area along the fence where you will remove any currently growing grass and weeds. Starting at one end of the fence, measure 3–5 inches (8–13 cm) from the fence and stick a marking flag into the ground there. Add additional flags every 5 feet (1.5 meters) along the fence until you have a line of flags from one end of the fence to the other.
- Use a measuring tape to mark a location 3–5 inches (8–13 cm) from the fence.
- Stick one of these marking flags into the ground at the point you measured.
- Add additional marking flags every 5 feet (1.5 meters) along the fence.
- Make sure the marking flags make a straight line along the fence.
All the grass between the flags and the fence itself will be completely removed in later steps. So will the grass growing under the fence. The 3–5-inch “no grass zone” will make it easy to use a string trimmer to cut the grass growing along your fence without damaging the fence itself.
Dig Out the Grass Under Your Fence
Use a shovel to begin digging a straight line along your fence. Follow the line indicated by the marking flags. Dig to a depth of 4 inches (10 cm). This is just deep enough to cut through the grass thatch and root material. Then, use your shovel to remove the grass between the line and the fence. Make sure to cut through the grass and fully remove all grass growth under the fence.
- Use a shovel to cut a straight line through the grass along the line you marked with flags.
- The shovel should cut 4 inches (10 cm) deep to fully cut through grass roots.
- Work the shovel under the grass to remove the top 4 inches of grass and topsoil.
- Remove all the grass between the line you marked and your fence.
- Take special care to remove all grass sprouts growing under your fence.
It is a great idea to use your shovel to cut the pieces of grass into sections, like strips of sod. Work the shovel under the grass, parallel to the ground, to cut through grass root material and fully remove the grass. Then, dispose of the grass you removed as green waste or add it to your compost pile.
Install a Border
With the grass removed from along your fence, you will have a section of bare dirt along and under your fence. To keep grass from invading this area in the future, install a landscaping border where the bare dirt and grass meet. You can use a landscape border made of metal, wood, plastic, or stone, depending on your preference.
- Install a landscape border where the grass and newly grass-free area meet.
- A landscape border will stop grass from spreading into the area under your fence.
- Use a tough border that will not be damaged when you trim the grass along the border.
When installing your landscape border, make sure there are no gaps where grass roots or runners can sneak through and grow under your fence. It is also helpful to choose a border that will not be visibly damaged when you use a string trimmer to cut the grass growing up to the border. This metal landscape border is our choice for the job.
Lay Landscape Fabric Under Your Fence
After installing a landscape border, cover the bare dirt along and under your fence with water-permeable landscape fabric. You can use a pair of scissors to trim landscape fabric to fit. Alternatively, you can fold the landscape fabric until it fits the bare dirt area perfectly. This barrier will allow water to reach the soil, but it will physically stop any weeds or grass from sprouting up from the dirt.
- Lay a layer of this water-permeable landscape fabric on the bare dirt area where you removed grass.
- Use scissors to trim the fabric to fit, or fold the fabric over on itself.
- To keep the landscape fabric in place, drive in one of these landscape staples every 12 inches (30 cm).
- The landscape fabric will smother any grass or weeds that attempt to grow under your fence.
After you lay your landscape fabric in place, use a mallet to hammer landscape staples through the fabric and into the dirt below. Drive in one landscape staple every 12 inches (30 cm). This will keep the landscape fabric in place regardless of weather, so it will continue to prevent grass growth from sprouting under your fence.
Cover the Landscape Fabric with Mulch
To provide a finished look and further discourage grass growth under your fence, cover the landscape fabric with 3–4 inches (8–10 cm) of mulch. Mulch smothers any weed and grass seeds that do find their way through landscape fabric. It also makes your no-grass zone look planned and professional.
- Pour mulch on top of the landscape fabric to fill the entire grass-free area.
- Make sure the mulch layer is 3–4 inches (8–10 cm) deep.
- Your border will help contain the mulch.
- Mulch prevents grass from sprouting and looks nicer than exposed landscape fabric.
- Use wood or bark mulch—gravel can be flung dangerously by a weed eater.
It is best to use wood chips, nut hulls, or other light mulch. Although the landscape border will help to keep the mulch in place, some may spread onto your lawn. It is best to avoid using gravel or rock instead of mulch. Using a string trimmer or mower near gravel could send rocks flying at dangerously high speeds. So, it’s best to go with light, harmless mulch.
How Do You Get Rid of Grass Under Your Fence Line?
To remove grass from your fence and keep it from growing back, follow these steps:
- Mark a straight line along the fence, 3–5 inches (8–13 cm) from the fence.
- Remove the grass and the top 4 inches (10 cm) of soil inside the marked line and under the fence.
- Install a landscape border where the grass and bare soil meet.
- Lay water-permeable landscape fabric on top of the soil under and along your fence.
- Cover the landscape fabric with 4 inches (10 cm) of mulch.
This system works to keep the area under all fences grass-free. Whether you have a chain-link fence, wood, vinyl, or metal, this solution is good-looking and easy to maintain.