How To Grow Turf On A Hill: Four Helpful Tips For Gardeners

15 July 2015
 Categories: , Articles


Few things are more appealing to the average gardener than a beautiful, flat lawn, but some homeowners have to deal with rather more difficult terrain. A steep slope can create several problems for anyone looking to grow a lawn, and gardeners often need to take special steps to get the turf they want. If you're looking to grow healthy turf on a slope, get the results you want with these useful tips.

Prepare the ground carefully

Sloped land is generally poor terrain for growing turf. The gradient of the land means that water is likely to wash away any seeds you sow before turf can grow, and you'll just end up with a bare, muddy patch.

With a hill, it's probably even more important to prepare the ground carefully than you would for flat terrain. High-quality soil will encourage seeds to germinate more quickly, allowing you to cultivate grass plants more quickly. Remove all debris from the area, carefully removing rocks, roots and any other items that may get in the way, and clear out any weeds.

Till the soil thoroughly before sowing seed

Tilling is often back-breaking work, but this process is essential for soil on a slope that has become compacted over time. Tilling breaks up the soil, helps you find and get rid of hidden rocks and roots and prepares the area for seed planting. You can till the soil by hand, but for large areas, you should probably hire an engine-powered tiller. Till to a depth of around six inches to give the seeds a good chance of germination.

Choose the right type of grass seed

Some types of grass seed cope better with sloped ground than others. For example, Zoysia grass needs deep soil, so this variety will cope better with shallow slopes than areas where the gradient is steep and the soil shallow. Alternatively, Korean grass does not grow to the same length as other varieties and is a good choice for slopes where you don't want to mow the turf too often.

An ornamental variety like St Augustine may work well on a shallow slope, particularly because this turf prefers not to grow in high-traffic areas. St Augustine is also a good choice if the soil is in a shaded position for long periods.

On a steep slope, you need to choose a grass variety that can help stabilize the soil. Varieties like Red Fescue form clumps and matted roots, which can help bind the soil together. Dry slopes may have quick-draining soil that is only suitable for plants like Love Grass that can cope with drought conditions.

Choose the variety carefully, and talk to an expert for more advice. The species you choose should also depend on how easily you can mow and water the area.

Stabilize the soil

In the early days of growth, you will need to consider how you can stop rainwater washing your new seeds away. Fortunately, there are several ways to do this.

A sprinkling of straw may do the trick on a shallow slope. Cover your newly planted seeds with around 1/4-inch of soil and then scatter straw over the area. You only need a thin covering, and the soil should stay visible.

You can also buy special netting that helps gardeners avoid soil erosion. Choose a variety of netting with large openings, as this will allow the grass shoots to continue to grow. Erosion-control blankets work in a similar way. You normally buy this material in a roll, which you then staple to the slope. Alternatively, you can use cheesecloth, which you cut to size and staple to the ground.

Many gardeners shudder at the thought of growing turf on a slope, but a high-quality lawn can still happily grow in these conditions. Prepare the area thoroughly and help the grass seeds stay in place to get the results you want. For more information, check out websites like