How to Mow Stripes in your Lawn
Have you ever admired the uniform stripes on the field at a baseball game? It’ll take some practice, but with some work you can create your own striped lawn.
The striped effect is achieved when light reflects off of the blades of grass bent in different directions, creating the dark and light patterns. It’s the same effect you’ll notice after running your hand back and forth across a suede jacket or a thick carpet. This is often the result of grass being bent down by the pressure applied by rollers attached to the back of a lawn mower. The pros use reel mowers with multiple rollers.
Mowing stripes into your lawn actually benefits your yard and encourages healthy grass growth. Mowing too often in the same direction can cause taller grass to bend over, shielding other blades from the sun and killing you lawn over time. Not to mention, you could create ugly tire marks from repeatedly mowing in the same pattern.
To get a landscape design worthy of its own baseball league, you’ll need to start with proper care. Green lawns start with proper care. Always use an organic lawn fertilizer or all season lawn food. Harsher, chemical lawn products can be eaten, ingested or passed on to your dog. This exposure has been linked with a higher risk of canine cancer.
Whether you’re mowing stripes or not, a good cut begins with a sharp mower blade. A dull mower blade tears grass and can cause brown spots. So, sharpen your mower blades every fall and spring. Keep the mower blades high (3” or higher) to encourage healthy roots. If your mower blades are too low, you’re scalping the lawn.
Not all grass types will stripe equally. Choose cool-season grasses, such as fescue, for the best stripes.
5 Steps to a Striped Lawn
1. Get the right materials. Check with your local garden center to see if they sell striping kits or purchase one online. Or, use brooms and squeegees to achieve the stripe effect you desire.
2. Plan your pattern. With a little skill and a big vision, you can put your mower to work. The first time you do this, sketch a pattern of what you want your yard to look like to help you visualize it.
3. Keep your mower straight. It’ll help you to mow if you start parallel to a sidewalk to begin with. To continue mowing in a straight pattern, keep your eyes looking 10 feet in front of you while you mow.
4. Make clean turns. At the end of a row, make a Y-shaped turn to reduce the chance of damaging your lawn. Then mow in the opposite direction alongside your previous pass.
5. Take it to the next level. Make your stripes look professional with a lawn roller. Using the lawn roller, roll it across the grass in the same direction you previously mowed.
TIP: Create a checkerboard by mowing your lawn a second time at a 90 degree angle.
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