How to Mow Stripes in Your Lawn Like a Pro

The National Gardening Survey found that the DIY yard and garden industry is now a $36.9 billion business. What's more, the average American spent $401 on their back yard and balcony in 2015. This is a reflection of how much people value their garden's aesthetics.

Some of the best-looking lawns can be found at soccer or baseball fields, so its not surprising that many people want to replicate the stripe design in their backyard.

You can only imagine the amount of time and hard work it has taken to achieve grass fit for a professional. It might be music to your ears to learn that it is possible to achieve the look of Wrigley field in your own garden.

While it will take time and practice, there are some simple skills you can learn to create your own lawn stripes. Here's how to mow stripes in your lawn like a pro. You can further learn about the basics of how a lawn mower works.

What You'll Need to Mow Stripes

Lawn stripes are due to light reflecting off the blades of grass in various directions. Have you ever ran your hand over a carpet and noticed the color changes? Well, that's a little bit like your lawn, too. The blades bent towards you will offer a dark appearance. The blades bent in an opposite direction will appear much lighter.

It is possible to achieve a similar look without needing to hire a professional.

If you don’t have a reel mower, you will need to invest in a striping kit to mow stripes that resemble a ballpark.

Lawn professionals use a reel mower or a separate heavy roller to achieve their stripes. You can buy a household striping kit that can attach to a rotary mower. This will achieve almost the same look without the expense of buying a new mower.

Pick the Perfect Stripe Pattern

Before you power up the lawn mower, pick the pattern you want to achieve in your garden.

If you want your lawn to appear as if it is has come straight from Wrigley Field, choose from three basic patterns:

  • Basic stripe
  • Checkerboard
  • Diagonal

It might even help to draw a sketch before you mow stripes, so you have a frame of reference.

How to Mow Basic Stripes

Basic stripes are the best pattern for a beginner to try. You should start out by mowing the perimeter of the yard in a North/South direction.

Try to use a driveway or sidewalk to make the necessary turns.

To move the blades in opposite directions, you must mow stripes in opposite directions.

This will help to achieve a basic stripe effect. You can always go over the lawn perimeter one more time to smooth off any mistakes.

How to Create a Checkerboard Pattern

Once you have mastered basic stripes, it should be a doddle to create a checkerboard pattern.

All you have to do is follow the basic stripes instructions above. Then, mow stripes in the opposite direct of a basic pattern, mowing in either an east/west direction.

It's advisable to always mow the lawn for a second time at 90 degrees following the first attempt.

You should also finish off the design by mowing a strip along the lawn's edges.

How to Mow a Diagonal Design

Again, once you have learned how to master basic stripes, mowing a diagonal design should be easy.

All you have to do is create the checkered stripe the same way you would the checkerboard pattern. You simply need to mow in a diagonal direction.

How to Achieve the Perfect Stripes

To achieve professional-looking stripes, aim to look 10 feet ahead as you mow the lawn.

Once you reach the end of one row, pick up the mower deck before making a turn. You should then mow the next stripe in the opposite direction.

It's important to pay close attention when you mow the stripes. If one stripe is crooked, the rest of the lawn stripes will be crooked, as a result.

Invest in a Lawn Roller

If you want to create a garden that will have the whole neighborhood talking, you should buy or rent a lawn roller. Many lawn professionals use a roller to intensify their stripes. It creates a more pronounced pattern.

Once you mow stripes into the lawn, use the roller over the grass in the same direction it was mowed. You can guarantee you'll notice a big difference to your lawn.

The Perfect Grass

Your garden's grass will determine the intensity of a design.

Different grass types will bend in different ways. For instance, Northern grass will often bend much better than southern varieties.

There are some grass varieties that will make it much more difficult to achieve stripes. For instance, Bermuda grass has more stem and less blade, so it isn't ideal for mowing stripes. If you have fescue grass, you're in luck, because this can mow stripes well and is often used in ballparks in the north.

Also, to achieve a professional pattern, your garden will need healthy, green grass. If it's patchy and weed infested, it will look nothing like a ballpark, no matter how many times you mow it. So, aim to remedy any weed issues you have first. Check out our guide to the best garden weeders.

It's also important to note that longer grass will give you a better bend. So aim to cut the grass when it's quite long to achieve a better stripe.

If you want to speed up its growth so you can quickly get to work, you should aim to feed your lawn every 6 to 8 weeks. This will help to grow lush, thick and healthy grass that will make your lawn stand out from your neighbors.

The Right Mower Setting

The mower setting you choose will determine the pattern's intensity. So, aim to mow the grass at the highest setting, as this helps to create soft grass that bends with ease.

A short grass blade will be unable to bend far - and you'll see it for yourself in the final result. Even raising the mowing height by just half an inch can make a big difference to your pattern.

Remember, every great lawn needs a great mower – take a look at the best cordless, the best corded​ and the best gas lawn mowers on the market.

​Additional read: Maintaining and storing a lawn mower for winter.

Have you got any helpful tips to mow stripes onto a lawn? Have you faced any issues when creating a pattern? Tell us your tips and stories in the comment section below.

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How to Mow Stripes in Your Lawn Like a Pro | Josh Green Blog - April 8, 2018

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