OT: Replanting steep grass hill to avoid mowing

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Hi, we have a steep hill that always makes me nervous cutting it with our zero turn. My wife is adamant about not trying to mow on a hill, so alternative is to use 21" self-propel Honda, which takes time and is pain in the butt. Our zero turn is 52". Thinking about replanting it with something like vinca or similar that won't have to be mowed, maybe wild flowers even, but not sure what to do about the grass there now. I think you have to kill the grass, but it's a pretty big area- don't want to use Roundup, and the size prevents covering with black plastic (also takes long time?). Can it just be rototilled and then the replacement plants can go into ground? Thanks for ideas,
 
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I’ve tried researching this too... but my hill is just a steep bank into a runoff creek. Would like to hear some good ideas!
 
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I’m no expert but what pops into my head is a sod cutter and pull it out. You would need some strong stuff to kill the grass and hopefully you’re above the hill or you’ll get some runoff into your lawn.

Have you thought about creeping junipers instead?
 
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Hi, we have a steep hill that always makes me nervous cutting it with our zero turn. My wife is adamant about not trying to mow on a hill, so alternative is to use 21" self-propel Honda, which takes time and is pain in the butt. Our zero turn is 52". Thinking about replanting it with something like vinca or similar that won't have to be mowed, maybe wild flowers even, but not sure what to do about the grass there now. I think you have to kill the grass, but it's a pretty big area- don't want to use Roundup, and the size prevents covering with black plastic (also takes long time?). Can it just be rototilled and then the replacement plants can go into ground? Thanks for ideas,
I have a friend who had the same thing and put white rock/stone down.
Loved it. Looks good and limited work once u put it down. He strays one a season
 

ClifSpliffy

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Hi, we have a steep hill that always makes me nervous cutting it with our zero turn. My wife is adamant about not trying to mow on a hill, so alternative is to use 21" self-propel Honda, which takes time and is pain in the butt. Our zero turn is 52". Thinking about replanting it with something like vinca or similar that won't have to be mowed, maybe wild flowers even, but not sure what to do about the grass there now. I think you have to kill the grass, but it's a pretty big area- don't want to use Roundup, and the size prevents covering with black plastic (also takes long time?). Can it just be rototilled and then the replacement plants can go into ground? Thanks for ideas,
cheez and crackers man, the easiest thing to do is nothing. starting this season, new stuff will start popping up on its' own, and in a season or two, u'll have quite the lovely appearance of 'landscape au natural.' one step up on the do nothing spectrum is to plop a few rose of sharons in there, and by the time u turn around, they'll have spread like weeds, leaving you with a sea of gorgeous flowers for years to come, iffn there is some sun on there.
signed, sam clemens, 'the laziest man alive.' or dead, in his case.
 
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Stone wouldn't look right, maybe if closer to house. Definitely want plants, probably will consult landscape company or gardener. I've looked up plants that might work, beside vinca minor (periwinkle) there is creeping juniper, partridge berry english ivy, wildflowers, bearberry, sweet woodruff, low spreading roses. I'd like a mix so different things might be blooming at different times. But what to do with the existing grass is what I can't solve yet
 

storrsroars

Exiled in Pittsburgh
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English ivy never goes away and will not cooperate as part of a mix of plants. It will take over. It looks ugly on a hillside and will catch whatever garbage is flying around. Not to mention it's a great hiding place for critters you don't want.

A rototiller on a steep hill will be difficult and could be dangerous. And with a large piece of land as you suggest, it'll take time and wear you out. A sod cutter isn't the most efficient way, but on a steep slope it might be the best solution if you're opposed to chemicals.

I have a different problem with a strip on the far side of my driveway. A silver maple there has so many exposed roots it's near impossible to mow except on highest setting. The previous owner had half the strip planted with English Ivy which I spent most of last summer removing, but there are stubborn areas trying to regrow. I plan on ripping out the grass with grass killer as there's no way I can navigate a rototiller through the roots. Hoping to find some rather large rocks to work a garden around. Lots of hostas and daylillies I can split, along with phlox (which you may want to consider in your mix), and then whatever else I need, annual or perennial, for color.

Edit: add some Dusty Miller to your mix. That and the phlox were first to bloom in my yard (in Pgh, so account for that growing season).
 
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I have an incredibly steep yard as well. If you don’t feel comfortable cutting with a zero turn have you ever thought about getting a commercial walk behind? I’ve been thinking of purchasing one as using the self propelled is annoying and time consuming.

I have some periwinkle in a bed of mine and it looks great at times but a lot of other things have been growing within the ground cover so its become rather high maintenance. I did not plant it so I don’t know if the previous homeowner mixed in other things or just never fully got rid of what was there prior to planting it. If your starting from scratch just be cautious to really turn everything up so no grass will sprout within the ground cover. Have you thought about a mini excavator to help with removing the current grass?

I also need ideas for landscaping a slope along my woods line. It’s a steep drop and right now it’s just growing wild with all types of weeds, vines. etc. I’m considering throwing up a split rail before the drop with some arborvitaes or burning bush or something along those lines.
 

ClifSpliffy

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I have an incredibly steep yard as well. If you don’t feel comfortable cutting with a zero turn have you ever thought about getting a commercial walk behind? I’ve been thinking of purchasing one as using the self propelled is annoying and time consuming.

I have some periwinkle in a bed of mine and it looks great at times but a lot of other things have been growing within the ground cover so its become rather high maintenance. I did not plant it so I don’t know if the previous homeowner mixed in other things or just never fully got rid of what was there prior to planting it. If your starting from scratch just be cautious to really turn everything up so no grass will sprout within the ground cover. Have you thought about a mini excavator to help with removing the current grass?

I also need ideas for landscaping a slope along my woods line. It’s a steep drop and right now it’s just growing wild with all types of weeds, vines. etc. I’m considering throwing up a split rail before the drop with some arborvitaes or burning bush or something along those lines.
' Have you thought about a mini excavator to help with removing the current grass?'
wait, what?
 
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Hi, we have a steep hill that always makes me nervous cutting it with our zero turn. My wife is adamant about not trying to mow on a hill, so alternative is to use 21" self-propel Honda, which takes time and is pain in the butt. Our zero turn is 52". Thinking about replanting it with something like vinca or similar that won't have to be mowed, maybe wild flowers even, but not sure what to do about the grass there now. I think you have to kill the grass, but it's a pretty big area- don't want to use Roundup, and the size prevents covering with black plastic (also takes long time?). Can it just be rototilled and then the replacement plants can go into ground? Thanks for ideas,
One thing you can do is just let the grass grow higher. There is most likely no change that will be maintenance free. Things migrate in by seed or bird droppings. Bittersweet is the worst but then you have poison ivy, autumn olive, and winged euonymus as well as native trees and shrubs. Vinca does seem to keep some weeds down but I still have to go out and pull saplings every couple years. The last few winters the deer have been mowing our vinca in the winter for food but it still grows back in the spring and flowers which surprises me. When mowing a slope on a zero turn wear your seatbelt and it is smart to have the roll bar up. I have found 3 passes laterally to be tolerable safety wise. With higher slopes I would go up on an angle. It is the return down the slope that is dangerous and you need room at the bottom if the mower starts to slide and you have to move forward very slowly. Forget doing it on wet grass.
 

ColchVEGAS

Still buckin like five, deuce, four, trey.
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I have the same steep hill issue with my back yard. I sold my ride on for a self propelled 30" when I first bought the house solely because of the back yard. No ride on is handling a 30 degree or so pitch.

I have been thinking of ways to turn it in to a terraced garden. Not sure I want to dish out the money to have a professional do it, but also cannot seem to find the time to do it myself.
 
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Not sure how to achieve it, but our area is about 100 feet wide by 80 feet long, and it gets full sun. I'd like it to have mix of plants, some flattish rocks here & there with phlox hanging off it, maybe a small pond at bottom. I'll let the landscaper take out the grass whether with mini-excavator or something else. To mow it now, I'll have to use our 21" self-propelled unless I can convince wife there is a safe way to mow slopes with zero-turn; I have a Ferris ISX800 52".
 
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I have a zero turn as well as now my front and a part in the distance back with it no issues and they are "hills." I change the cut as well sometimes straight up and down, then diagonal then east to west. Until you get used to it a lil scary but eventually you realize piece of cake.
 
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Yeah, I have mowed this hill before but is does make me nervous. I have read always keep the wheels pointing up the hill and go sort of diagonal/sideways but not straight up & down. Maybe it depends how steep the slope is, I don't know.
 

ClifSpliffy

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hehe 'zero turn.' there were tons of zero turn machines way before the recent branding of say, mowers, as 'new technology,' accomplished by simply having a steering single wheel in the back. hey Bucky, bring it!
of course, made in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA.

after that, sumguy invented the first zero turn mower simply by flipping the script.
'In 1949, Warrensburg, MO resident Max B. Swisher invented the very first commercially available zero-turn mower and called it the "Ride King". It was a three-wheeled machine:'
Zero-turn mower - Wikipedia
i still use a decades old scag beast at times. it wasn't commonly branded as 'z-turn' at the time of it's newness, at least as far as my research revealed.
img.axd (1024×768) (sandhills.com)

Scag Rules! (would be nice iffn they brought back the 72 inch walker...)
also have one of these exmark turf rangers kicking around out back in the tbd/recycle barn. darn thing just caught fire one hhh summer day years ago. pretty funny event as i was far away from water at the time and i had to be selective as to where i tossed dirt on it.
img_3218-jpg.99593 (800×600) (lawnsite.com)
 
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We used to have a steep lawn and I thought about putting in retaining walls and then either flat grassy areas or gardens. We ended up moving so I never got to it.

 

dennismenace

ONE MORE CAST
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I mow my steep hill sideways, using nothing but arm strength and foot grip as my aids.
I alternate from sideways mowing with an occasional "charge up San Juan Hill". Good workout. Now that I am getting older I am considering using a weed wacker on one part.
 

CL82

Unfinished Business
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Mountain Goat GIF by Nat Geo Wild
 
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Clear the whole thing and toss down a native grass seed mix. You can let it grow all growing season and mow it down once per year in the fall. You'll get some really cool colors mixed in.

 

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