The Q&A Archives: Ground Cover for Hill

Question: Hi,

I have a steep hill in front of my house in Pittsburgh, PA which has grass on it now, but is very difficult to mow. I was wondering whether you could recommend a ground cover for that location that would not need to be mowed. The hill gets a mix of sun and shade. There is no foot traffic on this location.

Answer: There are many plants you might be able to grow there. A hillside or slope is usually well drained, so you need to select something that likes soil on the dry side. Most plants have a preference for either sun or shade. Depending on how shady vs. how sunny the different parts of the area may be, you may not be able to use all one same kind of plant across the entire area. For this reason, and depending on the size of the area to be planted, I would suggest you work with your local county extension and/or professionally trained nursery staff to analyze the growing conditions where you want to plant and identify plants that would thrive there, then make your selection(s) from among those. A few you might consider for sun include low growing junipers, daylilies, and Phlox subulata. A few to consider for shade might be Vinca minor, Ajuga reptans, and spreading varieties of hosta. Keep in mind also that you will need to weed and water the plants the first year or two while they become rooted and established. Have fun with your project!

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