Steep grade lawn. Look at photos..Need Ideas.


LawnSite Bronze Member
I would like some ideas on what I could do for this customer of mine. As you can see in the photo's, the house is on a steep grade. The problem is.....erosion has destroyed 2 sod jobs over the past years. ( home owner installed)
This is a current mow only w/ occasionally a hedge trim customer of mine.

He is going to put the house on the market to sell and wants to dress up the lawn for the potential new owners (go figure).

Price is definitely a factor for this customer.
Sod is out of the question because of the poor results with the last sod.

Lay out is simple....Steep grade...most areas gets minimal sun while the open area in the photo gets about 6hrs of sun a day.

I recommended a fescue applied by hydro-seeding. Would this work on a steep grade. I think it would be the only way for fast germination to prevent erosion.

The owner also wants a cross tie retaining wall built next to the woods in photo 1 & 8. This is to redirect runoff to the side of the lawn.

Give me some ideas on what you would advise.

thanks a million

D Felix

LawnSite Bronze Member
Frankly, I wouldn't tear it up based on what I can see in the pictures.

You already have some grass there. It would be best to try to make what is there grow. No telling how long the house will be on the market, it could sell in a day or six months, so go with the long term approach...

Here's what I would do:

1. Mulch around the tree in the picture titled "j hope 006". Go out to dripline if possible. Plant shady perennials and shady annuals underneath. Probably could add 2-3" of thouroughly composted compost before planting/mulching. Compost should be light and airy enough that it won't hurt the tree. That will effectively reduce the amount of grass you will be dealing with as well.:)

2. Aerate, aerate, aerate! Chances are the reason the grass doesn't look good is because the soil was not properly prepped. Aeration will help with this matter.

3. Slit seed. Up here we use red fescue in shady areas, bluegrass in sunny. In this instance, I would use about an 80/20 blugrass/rye mix. The rye will germinate faster and be greener sooner than the KyBG, though the KyBG will last longer in the yard than will the rye. You may use something different down there, I dunno.

BTW, we have a slit seeder we are trying to sell, if you are interested.:D

4. Slow-release fertilizer. I'm not sure about formulation, that's generally my boss's department...

5. WATER! You should know the proper watering methods....

Hope this helps. I just don't see any reason to completely tear out a lawn and start over when there is already a semblance of one in place. It just needs a little encouragement.


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