killing grass

Other years I have put down newspapers and chopped leaves in the fall to make my beds larger the next year. (My aim is more room for flowers and less grass to mow.) Now I would like to do it earlier. Can I put down layers of newspapers and top with a thin layer of topsoil now? Then I'd like to plant through it.
Marilyn in Ohio
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Hi Marilyn,
You can do it that way, although if you don't wait until the grass is absolutely dead before you plant through it, you'll get annoying sprouts pushing up right near where you've planted.
I recently expanded one border in my back yard by about 50%; I marked the new edge and used a sod cutter. I then flipped the grass over in place and layed about 4 inches of purchased compost. That's how it is now, and when I'm done planting in I'll lay thick newspaper and a thin layer of shredded hardwood mulch on top.
Dave

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