If you know someone who’s got a great yard, then you probably have seen that they have intricately and delicately placed stripes or patterns in their lawn. If you’ve always wanted to know how to do this, we’ve got a good guide for you. Some people are under the impression that it takes commercial equipment or hired landscapers and lawn care professionals to achieve it, but that isn’t necessary. Anyone can do it, even if all they have is a push mower. The most important part is how the lawn is mowed, and we’re going to tell you some lawn mowing pattern techniques that can give you the stripes you’ve always dreamed of.
Mowing Stripes Isn’t That Hard
At a first glance, it may seem that a special grass, or cutting the grass at alternating heights creates these patterns. The truth is though, that they’re caused because the grass is reflecting the sunlight in different directions, and it creates a sort of optical illusion that brings on the checkerboard or stripes.
Reflection is Everything
When you mow your lawn, the grass bends a little bit in the direction you’re mowing. No matter how long or short your grass is cut, it will always lean towards that direction a little bit. Because of this, you are seeing the flat side of each blade of grass. One thing however that they don’t tell you is that not only do they mow in opposite directions each time (unless you’re mowing over and over again in one day, it is a work in progress – but the final result is the creative stripes that you find in your lawn), and they also have a few other tricks up their sleeve.
Here’s Some Tips for Striping & Patterns
As mentioned above, there are some things that people don’t realize when it comes to creating stripes in their yard, but here are some good tips that can possibly help you:
Quit Mowing Too Short
One thing that people do, is mow the yard longer. What? Yes, that’s right. Most people try to cut off as much as possible when they mow their lawns rather than following the one-third rule. They also try to achieve the minimum grass height possible so they don’t have to maintain it quite as much. However, cutting your yard even an inch higher can help you to achieve good stripes in your yard, and help the grass stay long enough that you don’t have to mow it to lean a little.
Hardscaping is a Good Trick Too
Using your surround hardscaping (rock patterns, sidewalks, driveways, etc.) is a way that you can guide your mower and your lawn to stripe it and keep the lines as straight as possible. By using something as a guide, you can make patterns and striping much easier.
Roll it Out
Another thing you can do is use a lawn roller on your lawn. Not only does this help to maintain a level lawn without as many clumps and bumps, but it also helps to increase and intensify the lines in your lawn by bending the grass a little more. You can even get kits that are made specifically for striping your lawn.
The Grass Seed Can Matter Some
Okay, so we mentioned that grass doesn’t matter, but it may just a little bit. If you’re wanting to have a better stripe pattern (which doesn’t mean a better lawn necessarily), you can opt to have or overseed your lawn with cool season grasses. They often bend better, are more durable, and are able to withstand more stress. Depending on your location and climate, you can also use these to have the higher yields. While summer grasses are tough and resilient, they don’t bend and flow as easy as the softer cool grasses do. Of course, you can always mix warm and cool grass seeds for a good result as well.
Just Like Icarus
If you’ve noticed that someone’s got good stripes in their lawn, it’s also because of the way they mowed in accordance to the sun. When you’re striping your lawn, the direction you bend your grass towards the light also matters. That’s why some people’s lawns who mow in the morning usually will have more visible stripes during the first half of the day, but they’ll be less visible towards the evening and vice versa. And if you mow your stripes in the opposite direction perpendicular to the sun instead of parallel, you’ll see a different type of pattern. Therefore, you should consider this when it comes to striping your lawn.
How Does Striping Help?
Believe it or not, whether you go in a circular or straight pattern, striping your lawn actually benefits your grass more than you know. Rather than knocking it all down and exposing your grass roots quite so much, you can help a lot of things. You keep your lawn short enough to keep pests away, but you also can keep your grass healthier too. When you mow over your yard, you are essentially pulling a little at all of the individual roots of your grass. The less you take off the top, the less your mower is going to pull the blades when it cuts them. Also, if you want the best stripes possible, you may want to ensure that your blades are extremely sharp. The sharper the blade, the easier it will be to cut your lawn and create amazing patterns and stripes.
As you can see, striping is pretty simple, even with the complex details we mentioned. But the truth of the matter is, that it happens naturally. There are even people who stripe their lawns frequently without even realizing it. And the results don’t necessarily come overnight. One thing you can do to ensure that you have good stripes, is to take smaller passes as well. This will ensure a much more even stripe, and if you have trouble keeping a straight line, you can visualize a line before you ever begin your path. This will help you to keep things as tidy and neat as possible