How do I kill off grass without making the ground infertile?

I have recently moved into a property that has a small garden. We wish to get rid of the grass (as it's not worth the hassle of mowing a small lawn). The grass is currently knee-high. Our plan is to put down landscaper's cloth later this year and cover with gravel/bark/pebbles/etc. We'll want to... show more I have recently moved into a property that has a small garden. We wish to get rid of the grass (as it's not worth the hassle of mowing a small lawn). The grass is currently knee-high.

Our plan is to put down landscaper's cloth later this year and cover with gravel/bark/pebbles/etc. We'll want to leave some areas as beds for flowers and shrubs, so won't cover these parts with cloth (to allow plants' roots to develop in the ground).

Until we plan the design of the garden it would be helpful to kill off the current grass, without damaging the soil for future plant growth.

Since I'm a gardening novice I'd appreciate some advice please... what's the best way to go about this?
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