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How to look after a garden with hills and inclines

A particularly hilly garden is a tricky thing to manage. What could be a simple task in cutting the grass is suddenly much more difficult. But it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. All you need is a change in strategy and the right tools to get the job done.

Weighing up the task in hand

    To truly keep on top of your garden you first need to understand the characteristics of the hills. If you’re looking for a new machine, this will determine what you need to look out for. Hills and inclines will be harder to cut than other lawns so you need to minimise the work required as much as possible.

  • Size of the hill
  • This is a fairly obvious one but you need to be aware of how large the hills are in your garden. Given that, during peak season you will be mowing the grass up to twice a week, this can be very tiring work if the hills in your lawn are sizeable. Pushing up the hill and keeping it under control on the descent will be tiring work, especially if your garden is quite large.

  • Gradient
  • It isn’t just the amount of your garden that is taken up by the hills that is relevant. You also need to understand how steep the hills are. If you are pushing a mower up a hill, the steeper the gradient will equal harder work. To understand the gradient you can measure it using a formula between horizontal distance (HD) and vertical distance (VD).

    Formula Example Result
    Slope Ratio (H:V) HD:VD 100:50 2:1
    Slope Percentage (%) (VD ÷ HD) × 100 (50 ÷ 100) x 100 50%
    Slope Angle (°) ArcTan (VD ÷ HD) ArcTan (50 ÷ 100) 26.6°

    Here is a graph that should also help demystify this further.

    In other words gradient is measured as the distance upwards for every bit of distance horizontally. Once you have understood this you will be better placed to find the right machine for the job. Some machines are not as effective at high angles as opposed to others so you should be aware of what is recommended.

  • Other obstacles
  • Aside from the hills your lawn can also throw up other obstacles. If your terrain is rugged or you have trees or bushes that can block your path this can make life just that little bit more difficult for you. In these instances a large cumbersome machine will not fare well as opposed to smaller lawnmowers.

Mowers that get the job done

    Luckily there are a large number of machines that have been designed to make this type of job much easier. Now that you have identified the challenges that your lawn will bring it is time to make sure you have the right kit.

  • Robotic lawnmowers
  • Depending on the size of your garden and gradient, a robotic mower could very well be the best option available to you. It is a myth that robotic mowers can only work on level ground when in reality they can handle slopes of 25% or 4:1. Robotic mowers will also give you the freedom to enjoy your free time safe in the knowledge that the robotic mower will cut the grass for you, come rain or shine.

  • Ride on Mowers
  • These machines will be the most expensive of all lawnmowers. This is perhaps unsurprising given the level of power and features that these machines will bring. They will be wholly impractical if the lawn is quite small and you don’t have the storage space to accommodate it but if this isn’t an issue this will be the most efficient way of making light work of your lawn.

    You will need to be wary, however, of mowing across hills as riding mowers will have a higher risk of tipping over – which can be dangerous. You should also only use the riding mower when the grass is completely dry.

  • Walk-behind mowers
  • There are so many different variations on the walk-behind lawnmower. These will be often the cheapest option available to you if you are in the market for a new machine. They provide the maneuverability and freedom to move the machine in any direction you need. The majority of the power will come from you as you push the machine up the hill.

    McCulloch do have a lengthy range of power-assisted machines that can help make hills a piece of cake. The top of the range model even has four-wheel drive, which makes even a steep hill seem like a small mound.

What you will need to consider

    If you are looking for a new lawnmower there are certainly lots to choose from. Even if you have decided which type of machine you want, there are still certain considerations you will want to keep an eye out for.

  • Weight
  • Especially if you are using a walk-behind mower, weight is a serious consideration, as you will need to lug that weight up and down the hills. If possible, therefore, you should look for a machine that is powerful but quite lightweight.

  • Size of the cutting deck
  • The size of the cutting deck is very important. The larger the cutting deck, the less maneuverable it will be. This won’t be a problem if your lawn is in a regular shape, as a larger cutting deck will allow you to cut the grass much faster. If, however, you have obstacles like trees or ditches this could become more problematic with a wider cutting deck.

  • Ease of operation
  • In addition to the cutting deck there are other features that can make the operation significantly easier. Lawnmowers that have cruise control or a variable speed will help make the hills seem much less arduous. In addition to this, machines that have extra power will be able to move up the hills without trouble, which will take the strain off your arms.

    Now you know what is necessary to tackle your inclines and small hills you are ready to go get the job done.