With the tons of water we had here in Houston, Tx the last few weeks my backyard is a mess. The weeds have taken over and killed all the grass. How can we start all over with our backyard? I want to kill ALL the grass and weeds back there. Once that is done I want to lay out new dirt (dogs have dug up holes all over). Then get grass to start over again. Any ideas that are effective and safe for my Grandchildren and the dogs?
Sounds like you want to do a lot of work. I'm too lazy for most of that. So I'll tell ya what we did, we tilled. Till and let it sit for a few days. Everything will die. Tilling also fills in any holes you might have had. Then seed and BAM, done. Of course if you want to be really cool and permaculturey you should plant something diverse and if possible, no mow.
If your backyard is reasonably sized you could just sheet mulch the whole thing, and then just landscape from there. Put in grass, herbs, shrubs, trees whatever you want...it's the proverbial clean slate! No tilling, fast, easy, and you end up with way better soil!!!