Mowing steep lawns

As per the title - about to move to a house that has a garden so large and beautiful that it will probably consume most of my spare time. Being in the Lake District, it is on a very steep slope which is something I've not had to contend with before - does anyone have any tips or suggestions for mowing the lawn? So far from the best advice from google was to buy a pair of spiked shoes with ankle support!

The previous owner described it as a man's job and she got someone in to take care of it - however I am 5ft3 and about 7 stone if that, so I'm a bit worried that as a very petite lady I may not be up to the task! I've only mowed my parents medium sized garden before and that was with a flymo hover mower, so pretty easy.

My partner - who is now no longer able to do mowing due to being incapacitated for the foreseeable - usually did the mowing with our big heavy petrol mower that was probably heavier than me - so is there a mower out there that even a slip of a thing could use that would be up to such a big task - or am I going to have to relent and 'get a man in' to do the mowing?

Other ideas have so far included getting some sheep or goats in  - then realising they would try to eat everything else too....or getting an army of guinea pigs in a pen which was moved round the garden....although I suspect the dogs may want to eat their droppings and the fox will want to eat I've gone full circle back to the mower plan! All advice gratefully received.


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    HI ellerslie. I think you've already got the mower for the job- the flymo. They're just the thing for dodgy slopes if you're small. Been there and done it! Anything heavy can just slide away from you too easily. Little and often is the best way although it will feel like you're spending the summer cutting grass and nothing else! image

    Or sheep...image

  • Thank you Fairygirl! I'll stick to the Flymo and get myself some spiked boots to make sure I don't go tumbling down the slope!!image

  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,754

    I've seen someone cutting grass on a steep slope using a flymo.  They had it on the end of a rope and stood at the top swinging it from side to side.  'Brilliant!' , thought I.

  • Thanks Steve 309 - I just had a peek at You Tube and see what you mean!! Looks like I'll be adding a rope and some really grippy strong gloves to my shopping list too!

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 2,094

    Probably stating the obvious but the 'rope and swing the Flymo' works best with a petrol mower as you don't have the risk of running over the cable.

    Do be very careful when using spiked footwear.  A friend's husband very seriously damaged his knee when he lost balance on the type of slope referred to by the OP.  He fell and twisted sideways but the spikes unfortunately did their job very well and kept his foot exactly where it was!

  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,754


    How about loosely twisting the flex round the rope?

    I suspect a petrol mower would be too heavy for ellerslie?  And the fuel feed might not work on a steep slope.

  • I would seriously consider getting someone in to mow the lawns. There's no point in having a stupid accident and ending up not being able to enjoy the rest of the Lake District.

  • A mower on a rope sounds like a recipe for a bad back to me. I would get someone in to mow the lawns.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,870

    I suppose it's out of the question to terrace the slope and plant it up?  Probably a bigger job than you want to tackle just yet ........ 

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • depends how steep the slope is, but going side to side is easier than up and down if you get my drift. 

    If it's so steep going sideways would risk tipping over, i'd say get a professional in, you don't want to be pushing a mower up or down a steep slope if there is a risk you might lose control or footing. 

    If you are going to be there long term i'd go with dove, and look into terracing it.

    Have a look at the photos of Carrol Kleins glebe cottage on the net, for suggestions of what to do with a really steep slopping garden.

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 2,094


    How about loosely twisting the flex round the rope?

    I suspect a petrol mower would be too heavy for ellerslie?  And the fuel feed might not work on a steep slope."

    Not a bad idea about the flex.  Electric would be much lighter than petrol, but I don't think the slope would affect the fuel feed.

  • On most mowers you wouldn't be able to swing it on a rope as they are designed with 'dead man's handles', i.e. you have to have hold of the handlebar all the time to keep the engine running. I have seen idiots get round this by tying the handle in the 'on' position with a bungy elastic or gaffer tape. This is a recipe for cutting lumps off your own feet.

    Get a grip - pay someone else to have the accident - at least they might be insured (but don't let them do the tying the handle trick on your property!)

  • TootsietimTootsietim Posts: 176

    DANGER!  If you use a hover mower on a steep slope and walk down the slope with the mower in front of you, then you are in danger. Should your feet slip down the slope, you end up under the mower. Best plan, pay someone to do it, second best plan, cut along the slope, not up and down. You can lower a hover mower down a slope which works well but as has been said before, you risk cutting the flex on an electric model, or a hernia from hauling a petrol model. Either way you would need to override the dead man's handle, and that is never a good idea.

    If the slope is really steep, don't grow grass on it.

  • ightenighten Posts: 184

    The house further down the lane had the exact same issue.. His solution was the rope and a flymo - the result was mangled toes on his right foot . Be careful.. If your going to do this (even without the rope) proper footwear is essential. Steel cap toes rather than crocs or flip flops.

  • Hi,

    I am currently in my third year of product design and looking into developing an easier in-expensive solution to cutting slopes and ditches for the general public. If I can take a moment of your time would you mind answering a few questions for the research part it would really help and I would be extremely grateful!


    If you have ever had to deal with the task of cutting slopes on a steep incline, what sort of issues come with doing it?


    What sort of machinery or tools did you use for the job?


    What drawbacks were there with using the tools or machinery you had?


    If a product were to be developed for cutting steep slopes, what characteristics or features should it have to improve it for the job?


    What do you believe would be the ideal set up of the machinery for tackling the task e.g. blade/ strimmer cable, pulleys for extended reach down the hill etc?


    What sort of power assistance would you recommend best for the job out of battery motor, petrol or a manual method?


    Are there any issues to consider when working alone?


    What sort of vegetation is most commonly in need of being controlled?



    Once again thank you for your time, it really will be a great help.

  • 1. Danger of accidents with the machine, slips and falls down the slope, danger to myself and others from losing control.

    2. I use my experience, training and judgement about what slope would be safe to work on - possibly use a strimmer, depending on the vegetation, but anything thicker than rough grass use hand tools. Check my insurance. If in any doubt about safety, tell the customer it's not possible, and why.

    3. Slips, falls due lack of balance or insecure foothold. Machine might be too heavy or not capable of being used at the correct angle.

    4. Anti-gravity app! Otherwise, sheep and goats don't do a bad job.

    5. Go back to basics - why do I need to clear this slope, or is it just a whim? If I clear this slope, will it still be a hard job for the future to keep it clear or pretty?

    6. Depends on size of job, location, steepness, vegetation.

    7. Nothing that anyone hasn't thought of already - any H and S documentation designed for this sort of work covers it.

    8. Managed grass is the most likely, I think. Beyond that, you're looking at restoration jobs, where you could encounter anything from tussocky grass or bramble through to shrubs and trees.

  • Thank you for your response Joe, this really is a big help.

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 3,842

    Hi Ellerslie!

    My garden is on a very steep slope, and was all grass/weeds when we bought the house.  For a couple of years I cut all the grass with a lightweight electric rotary mower (I'm under 5ft tall!) and it was a pain, to say the least.  I've now terraced the steepest parts and grow prettier things than grass on the terraces...  and just mow the flattish bits.  image

    And don't feel a failure if you need to get someone in to do the mowing.  There are other gardening jobs which are far more rewarding to do yourself, in my opinion.  image

    "Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change"    Stephen Hawking
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