Experts and BHG readers answer.
If my house sits on a steep grassy hill, what is something inexpensive can I plant so I won't have to mow?
It sounds as though a ground cover would work for you, and there are some great choices out there. Although you won’t have to mow a ground cover, it will still require some maintenance until it’s well-established. Here’s how to get a ground cover started. Remove the existing plants. Before planting, you’ll have to completely kill existing grass and weeds. The easiest way to do this is to use a nonselective herbicide such as glyphosate (Roundup). Be sure to use it when the air is calm so the drift won’t harm the plants you want to keep. Or smother the weeds with several layers of newspapers or a tarp held down with bricks for several weeks or months. Prepare the bed. Once all undesirable plants are dead, incorporate 2-3 inches of organic matter, such as composted manure, into the top 6-8 inches of soil. Rake the soil smooth and cover it with 3-4 inches of organic mulch, such as shredded leaves or bark. When you plant, spread apart the mulch, allowing 8-12 inches between plants. Give the bed a good soaking, and water as needed the first year to make sure that the plants receive 1 inch of water each week.
Plant. Because you don’t say where you live, whether the hill is sunny or shady, or what kind of soil it has, I can’t recommend specific plants. Check with your local cooperative extension office for recommended ground covers, or visit a local nursery or garden center and ask what plants do well as a ground cover in your region. Maintain. Once plants are established, you should have to do little more than water during dry periods and pull occasional weeds. Replenishing the organic mulch every other year or so will help keep weeds from becoming established.