If you have an uneven or sloped lawn then you may have noticed that certain lawn mowers just don’t cut it. Using the wrong type of mower can make mowing a hilly or bumpy lawn the stuff of nightmares. Not to mention it can be dangerous.
To help you choose a mower that’ll tackle those slopes with ease, I’ve put together this guide on the best lawn mowers for uneven ground and slopes. I’ll be showing you some of my top choices as well as giving you some easy to follow advice on selecting a mower and using it on your uneven lawn.
What Is The Best Power Type For Uneven Lawns?
Lawn mowers come in various power types and that’s great because it offers homeowners versatility. However, if you’ve got an uneven lawn or one with a lot of sloped ground then it’s best to stick with either a hover mower or a self propelled model.
Hover mowers, unlike other types of mower, are not fitted with wheels. Instead, they operate using an air cushion under the deck and this makes them a lot easier to manoeuvre, especially on rough terrain. What’s more, a hover mower will be able to tackle hills and slopes up to 45 degrees so they’re ideal for this type of work.
I would also recommend a hover mower due to its compact size. While petrol mowers with a self propelled drive are also a great choice, and I’ll talk about those shortly, they’re often very bulky which makes it difficult to mow in tight spots.
So, petrol mowers…these are another brilliant option for uneven lawns or slopes; just make sure that you choose one that’s self propelled. Essentially, these mowers make what would be a very tiring job, a lot less strenuous for you.
The powerful petrol engine powers the wheels so you don’t need to push the lawn mower up slopes, just guide it in the direction you wish to go. On top of that, this power, which is far greater than anything you’d get with a cordless or electric mower, will make it a lot easier when mowing over rugged ground.
Best Lawn Mowers For Slopes At A Glance
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Choosing A Self Propelled Lawn Mower
When it comes to selecting the right self propelled lawn mower, there are a few things I would urge you to think about. Let’s cover them now.
There are cordless self propelled mowers but these aren’t as powerful as petrol so I’d always choose a mower with a robust petrol engine. Generally speaking, you’ll want at least three HP as this will ensure enough power to the blade and will propel the mower forward.
A lot of petrol lawn mowers come with a variable speed drive which allows you to alter the speed at which the self propelled function works. Where you might want it a little quicker on flat ground, walking up and down slopes requires something slower so having the option will vastly improve how easy it is to mow and make it safer.
Nobody wants to be lugging around a heavy lawn mower at the best of times, never mind when you’re tackling difficult terrain. Therefore, I would always recommend choosing a mower that’s as lightweight as possible.
Of course, petrol lawn mowers are always going to be heavier than other power types due to the presence of the engine and they’re typically made from steel. However, there are some lighter models out there and this goes a long way in ensuring that the mower doesn’t get stuck. Plus, it’ll be a lot easier to move around.
If you’ve read any of my previous guides, you’ll know that I often talk about the lawn mower’s rear wheels. This might seem like nothing of real importance until you learn that larger rear wheels ensure better stability and manoeuvrability, especially over rugged terrain.
These large wheels will prevent your lawn mower from getting stuck in any bumpy spots or holes whereas smaller wheels will easily catch, particularly in muddy spots.
Choosing A Hover Mower
Hover mowers are perfect for sloped lawns but as with self propelled models, there’s a couple of things to consider before settling on any particular model.
Hover mowers are powered by electric engines and while they’re not as powerful as petrol, there are lots out there that give petrol mowers a run for their money.
In this case, I’d suggest looking for the most powerful model possible as this will ensure the strongest cushion of air. If you go for something weaker, you’ll find the machine is much more challenging to move up hills.
As I talked about with self propelled mowers, you want to find a hover mower that’s lightweight and easy to work with. A lot of these mowers have plastic decks so that helps in bringing the weight down. However, you don’t want to go too light as this typically means the mower will be smaller. That’s OK if you have a small lawn but for bigger gardens, it’ll increase the mowing time.
Cutting width is important when choosing any lawn mower as it’ll determine how long it takes to mow and how easy it is to get into nooks and crannies. If you have an uneven lawn with a lot of tight spots then you’ll want to go for something with a smaller cutting width that’ll give you easy access. Of course, the smaller you go, the longer it’ll take to cut the entire lawn which is something to consider if your garden is pretty big.
This applies to both self propelled and hover mowers as the cutting height will have an effect on how easy it is to mow the lawn. When you’re mowing on uneven terrain, it can be harder for the blade to make contact with the ground which means you’ll need to set the cutting height lower than normal.
For this reason, I’d suggest choosing a mower that has a versatile range of cutting heights. Generally speaking, the lowest is usually around 25mm but there are some that go lower.
Can I Level Out My Uneven Lawn?
Buying a good lawn mower will certainly make taking care of an uneven or sloped lawn a lot easier but some people might want to put an end to this for good. If you’re keen to flatten a rugged lawn then it’s probably not as difficult as you imagined.
If there are a series of lumps and bumps that are no higher than 2 centimetres you will probably be able to use top dressing and the job’s a good’un. Anything deeper than this then it’ll be a case of digging it up, filling in any holes and adding new turf on top. This isn’t a difficult job but it can be labour intensive so make sure you’re physically able to do it.
But with all the will in the world, if you don’t look at why your lawn is uneven, the problem will likely return. There could be drainage issues or the holes could be caused by local wildlife. Take a look at what’s causing the problem and deal with that before you do anything else otherwise you’re just sticking a bandaid on it.
The Right Way To Mow An Uneven Lawn
If you’re happy to keep your uneven or sloped lawn then that’s fine. However, you should be mindful about how you mow it if you want the best results.
Before you go anywhere near the lawn mower, I’d recommend getting rid of any debris like stones that may be on the ground. In a lot of cases, this can drastically improve the unevenness and make mowing so much simpler. What’s more, with them there, there’s a risk of damage to the mower blade or deck and that’s not what we want after spending a few hundred quid on a new mower.
Take Your Time
I know that many of you will want to get the lawn mowed and get on with your weekend but I can’t stress enough the importance of taking it slowly if you want a good result.
You may have chosen the best mower for uneven ground and slopes but it’ll still require a bit more work than usual so taking your time will ensure you get every blade of grass. That said, you’ll probably still need to make several passes to get a very even finish so patience is key.
It may be worth doing one pass with your lawn mower and then going over it again with a trimmer. This is especially helpful if there are tight spots that you can’t get your mower into properly.
Lower The Cutting Height
I talked earlier about choosing a lawn mower with a better selection of cutting heights as this will ensure that the blades make proper contact with the grass. So, when you’re mowing on a bumpy or hilly lawn, it’s important to set that cutting height to a little lower than you would on the flat as you’ll have a much neater and more uniform result.
The Right Direction
One of the first questions I get asked about steep slopes is which direction you should mow in. If you look in your lawn mower user manual, there should be information regarding this but as a rule of thumb, the mowing direction will depend on the type of slope.
For slopes that are not especially steep, it’s usually best to mow up and down but for anything with more of an incline, it’s often safer to mow laterally.
That said, if you are mowing up and down then you should move in a slightly diagonal direction rather than straight up and down. This will stop the lawn mower from slipping.
It’s not very often you’ll find a perfectly flat lawn, at least naturally. Unless you’ve had your lawn landscaped to within an inch of its life, there may be some lumps and bumps. At the extreme end of the scale, there are lawns with steep inclines, potholes and uneven areas and this can make things really tricky.
However, by choosing the right lawn mower, you’ll find that the job is far less of a challenge. Self propelled petrol mowers and hover mowers are generally the best option but still keep an eye out for optimum power and other features like large rear wheels that’ll make life safer and easier.
I know there’s a lot to think about when it comes to choosing a lawn mower, but it really is worth taking the time to weigh up your options. If you’re still unsure, I have lots of helpful information throughout this website to make it easier for you. Why not try out my tool where you can simply enter your requirements and I’ll recommend the best matched mowers for you. Together, we’ll find a great lawn mower for you and your garden!
My Guide to Buying a Lawn Mower Video
As a seasoned expert in the field of garden power tools, I have dedicated over a decade to working with and reviewing a wide variety of lawn mowers. My extensive experience has allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the benefits and limitations of different types of mowers and garden tools.
Over the years, I have honed my skills in writing informative articles and creating helpful videos for various blogs and publications. This has given me the ability to not only recognise what makes a good lawn mower, but also to help you choose the perfect garden tool for your specific needs and requirements.
With my wealth of knowledge and expertise, I am confident that I can provide you with valuable insights and recommendations when it comes to selecting the right lawn mower for your lawn. So, whether you're looking for a battery cordless, electric, petrol, or robotic mower, you can trust in my expertise to guide you towards the best option for your garden.