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How to Plant Grass on a Slope

By Christina Wheeler ; Updated September 21, 2017
Lush grass is only a few steps away.
lawn,grass image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com

Adding beauty to your home is only a weekend away, with a new lawn. It can be a tiresome task to plant grass seed on a sloping lawn only to find it has washed away with the first watering. Preventing this erosion and washout is only an extra step in the seeding process. Soon, you will be on your way to enjoying your newly planted lawn with a lush green you can take pride in.

Prepare the area to be planted by removing rocks and debris from the soil. Use a pointed shovel to remove large rocks and debris. Rototill the area using a gas-powered rototiller or a hand tiller. Turn the soil so it is free from large clumps and the dirt is loose. Inspect the soil to deem its worthiness for planting. If there is a large amount of clay soil or the soil is unhealthy in appearance, proceed to Step 2. Otherwise, move on to Step 3.

Enrich the soil with a layer of sand 1 inch thick across the area to be planted. Mix the sand into the soil using the rototiller or a metal rake. Add 1 inch of compost to the top layer of soil and repeat the tilling process until the compost and sand have been worked into the soil. This will create a heaven for new sprouts and allow for proper germination in previously poor soil conditions.

Rake the lime and fertlizer into the soil.
rake in the grass image by Kathy Burns from Fotolia.com

Spread 1 inch of lime dust onto the soil using a walk-behind spreader. Pour the contents of the lime bag into the spreader and open the controls to one-quarter open. Spread across entire area to be seeded. Add fertilizer in the same manner, opening the controls to one-half open. Do not mix the fertilizer and lime as they need to be spread at different rates to the soil. Rake 1 inch into the soil with a metal rake to allow the lime and fertilizer to sink into the soil.

Cover the area with grass seed.
grass seed image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com

Choose a grass seed for the region in which you are planting. Avoid grass seeds with "quick" and "mixture" in the name as these are usually low-quality seeds that will not promote long-term growth. Empty the seed into the walk-behind spreader. Open the controls to one-half open and walk across the face of the incline, making laps back and forth to cover the entire area. Repeat this process, walking up and down the slope to ensure all areas are covered by grass seed. This criss-cross pattern will aid in seed germination.

Keep the soil moist to promote growth.
water hose image by tomcat2170 from Fotolia.com

Cover the entire slope with a seed blanket. These protective coverings are available in any home supply garden center. Most are generally green in color and will be absorbed by the soil over time. Roll the seed blanket across the slope, not up and down. Water generously. The water and elements will seep through the seed cover, but it prevents the seed from being washed down the slope and away from the ground. Water daily until grass shoots can be seen poking through the seed blanket; then every other day.

Once seedlings are grown, erosion is rare.
Hill image by Andrew Korobejnik from Fotolia.com

Mow the new sprouts once they reach 4 to 5 inches tall. Do not remove the seed blanket; it will sink into the soil and decompose. Once grass shoots reach the first mowing, the roots are deep enough and the risk of erosion is minimal.


Things You Will Need

  • Pointed shovel
  • Rototiller
  • Metal rake
  • Lime
  • Fertilizer
  • Grass seed
  • Walk-behind spreader
  • Water
  • Hose
  • Seed blanket


  • Do not use hay as a seed blanket. It is full of other seeds, which will grown weeds and hay. Do not use weed control products for the first six weeks.


  • Use a dust mask while spreading lime, compost and grass seed.