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The Best Way to Mow a Hill

By Laura Wallace Henderson ; Updated September 21, 2017
Carefully mow the grass on hills and slopes.
hill with grass, sky and clouds image by Alexander from Fotolia.com

Green, grassy lawns provide useful and appealing groundcovers for hills and slopes. Without vegetative covers, these sloping areas may experience soil erosion. These areas require routine maintenance, including regular mowing. Mowing these uneven areas poses difficulties and dangers for many homeowners. Maintain and enhance your landscape by safely mowing all areas of your lawn, including the hills.

Mow gradual hills and gentle slopes with a riding lawnmower. If your tractor has wheel weights, install these before cutting hilly areas. Consult your operator’s manual for specific instructions regarding the installation of these weights. Do not cut wet grass, especially on slopes. Use an up-and-down pattern with your riding mower to remove the grass on slopes. Do not travel sideways on a hill with a riding mower. Slow down when turning your riding mower on a hill.

Cut the grass on steeper hills and slopes with a walk-behind lawnmower. A steep slope that may cause riding lawnmowers to slip or tip requires small, easily maneuverable mowers. Starting at the bottom of a slope, mow sideways with your walk-behind mower. Although-up-and down patterns work well with riding mowers, walk-behind mowers may slide backward when going up a hill. Slightly overlap your horizontal swaths to create a smooth, even appearance. Go slowly and use caution when turning the mower on a hill.

Cut the grass on very steep hills and slopes with a string trimmer. Steep slopes that make it difficult to operate a walk-behind mower or cause you to lose your footing. Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, while moving the rotating strings a couple of inches above the surface. Keep the cutting head level with the slope to avoid uneven gouges in the lawn. Do not use a string trimmer on damp grass.


Things You Will Need

  • Lawn mower
  • String trimmer


  • Consider planting a very steep hill with a low-growing groundcover that requires little maintenance to avoid having to mow it.


  • Follow the manufacturer's safety instructions when cutting your grass. Wear safety goggles to avoid eye damage from debris that may get kicked up.

About the Author


Laura Wallace Henderson, a professional freelance writer, began writing in 1989. Her articles appear online at Biz Mojo, Walden University and various other websites. She has served as the co-editor for "Kansas Women: Focus on Health." She continues to empower and encourage women everywhere by promoting health, career growth and business management skills.