How To Mow A Lawn With Stripes

So, your lawn is lookin’ swell–that is great to hear! There is nothing better than a sea of lush grass. But hey, just because your lawn is in tip-top shape doesn’t mean you can’t do more. Cue lawn striping.

You Can Do It Yourself

Let's be real, lawn stripes make your grass look like ballpark grass. Clean and professional. Like the fields you see in college and professional sports stadiums (and maybe dreamed about playing on). You're in luck, because it's really not too hard to make stripes in your lawn if you have cool-season grass. Here's how.

The Way Striping Works

The effect of stripes you see on a lawn or playing field is just light reflecting off the grass blades. Blades bent towards you look dark, while those bent the opposite way look lighter. Simple, right? You can see some of the same effect with normal mowing, and creating patterns just takes it to the next level. To get the blades to bend, you'll need a striping kit for your mower or a roller. You can buy a striping kit online or find instructions on how to build one yourself.

Pick a Pattern

Before you start mowing, take a minute to decide on the pattern you want to create. It may help—especially when doing this the first time—to make a sketch of how it will fit the layout of your lawn. The possibilities are practically endless, and for most of them all you really need is a ruler. Stripes, checkerboards, and diamonds are the most common patterns.

Watch Where You're Mowing

Unless you're purposely going for a wavy pattern, you've got to make sure to mow in a straight line. Start by mowing parallel to a straight sidewalk or driveway. To keep mowing straight, look at least 10 feet in front of you while you mow, rather than at the ground right in front of the mower. When you come to the end of a row, lift the mower deck as you turn, then mow in the opposite direction next to your previous pass. To get that fancy checkerboard look, mow the lawn a second time at 90 degrees to your first mowing. Finish by mowing a strip around the edges of the lawn. Sweet.

Intensify Your Stripes

Your mowing will create a basic pattern but it may not get the neighbors talking. The next step is what the professionals do to make their patterns more pronounced. The secret is to bend the grass blades further, and you can do that with a lawn roller. If you don't own a roller, you can rent one or splurge on one. Then, go back over your mowing stripes, rolling the grass in the same direction you mowed. The difference will be pretty dramatic, so prepare for some seriously well-deserved shout-outs.

Additional Striping Tips

To create a vivid pattern, mow high (no, not that kind of high). Mowing at the highest setting creates softer grass that bends over more easily. A shorter grass blade will not bend over as far, and the pattern won't be as noticeable—so really, what's the point? Raising the mowing height even a half-inch can make a difference. Don't forget to feed your lawn every 6-8 weeks with Scotts® Turf Builder® Lawn Food. A lawn fed 4 times per year will grow thick and lush, helping make those stripes stand out even more. Finally, always mow with a sharp blade for a nice, healthy cut.

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