Lawn Mowing Tips That Will Make Your Yard the Envy of the Block
Everything from the direction you mow to how often you sharpen your blades can dictate the quality of your grass.
Lauren is a freelance writer for MarthaStewart.com.
When it comes to staying on top of mowing your lawn, it may feel like the grass is greener on the other side—literally. If you have neighbors who seem to have perfected the art of lawn maintenance, it’s easy to compare plots. But achieving an equally gorgeous turf is easy—as long as you follow a few lawn mowing tips and best practices every time you give your grass a trim.
How Often to Mow Your Lawn
The general rule of thumb is to cut your grass about once per week, but the correct mowing frequency can vary based on the season and the type of grass you have. “Mow as often as needed to ensure you’re not cutting off more than a third of the grass blades at a time,” says Ryan Eilermann, senior director of marketing at Spectracide Lawn Garden. “For many lawns, that’s weekly, but some lawns might need mowing more or less frequently. To make sure you are not over-cutting, set a schedule that’s easy to follow.”
When to Mow Your Lawn
While it may be tempting to wait to mow your lawn until later in the day, this can cause unwanted stress on you and your turf. Instead, aim to mow your lawn during the middle of the morning. “Mid-morning is typically best, ensuring the grass has dried from any morning dew or moisture,” says Joe Raboine, director of residential hardscapes at Belgard. “It also helps you avoid the heat that sets in later in the day.”
Set Your Mower to the Correct Height
Not only will keeping your grass at the right height help it look good, it will also keep weeds at bay. “Mowing the lawn too short can expose soil, increasing the potential for a weed to germinate and outcompete lawn grass,” Eilermann says. Wait until your grass is at least 3 inches or taller to mow it, and ensure your mower is set to the right height before going over your grass. “The highest setting is usually best for most lawns, especially when the grass is at the optimal length,” Raboine says. “But for the first and last mow of the season, set the mower at a 2.5-inch setting.”
Alternate Your Mowing Direction
Changing the direction of your mowing pattern results in aesthetically pleasing lines that run across your landscape. This practice is also good for the health of your turf because it reduces the risk of soil compaction.
“In the professional market, we use the clock as our guide when determining our patterns,” says Shawn Kister, associate vice president of horticultural operations at Longwood Gardens. “For example, one time I may mow the lawn starting at the 12:00 position and mow towards 6:00, while alternating back and forth. The next time I mow, I may start at the 3:00 position and mow towards the 9:00 position.”
In addition to alternating directions, you should also consider the dimensions of your yard when choosing a mowing path. “If you have a longer yard, cutting vertically is the best option,” says Raboine. “Wider lawns benefit from horizontal cuts.”
What to Do With Grass Clippings
You can use grass clippings in a variety of ways. “You can leave clippings on your lawn, as they act as a form of fertilizer,” says Raboine. If you go this route, be sure to spread the clippings out rather than leaving them in large clumps. Alternatively, thicker clumps of grass can be composted. “You also can use dry clippings as mulch for garden beds, since they are rich with nutrients,” says Raboine. No matter how you use your clippings, any clumps with weeds or chemical repellents should be bagged and disposed of.
Service Your Mower Regularly
Ensuring your mower is in tip-top shape will also benefit your grass in the long run. One way to do this is by sharpening your blades regularly, as dull blades result in a torn edge rather than a clean cut. “A general rule of thumb is to sharpen your blades twice per season, or after 25 total hours of use,” says Raboine. “You can sharpen blades yourself or take them to a professional.”
Additionally, you should have your mower serviced about once a year, barring any issues that may require more frequent maintenance. “The owner’s manual from the manufacturer will list when specific maintenance items need to be completed,” says Kister. “Typically, the oil change for a homeowner who uses a 21-inch push type rotary mower can be completed one time per year.”
Madeline Buiano is the staff writer for MarthaStewart.com, sharing her knowledge on a range of topics—from gardening and cleaning to home and pets. She has five years of writing and editing experience in the digital publishing industry.
Make cutting the grass a faster, more efficient process and keep your turf in tip-top shape with these techniques.
By Teresa Odle and Jennifer Noonan | Updated Jan 25, 2022 5:20 PM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
If you have a sprawling lawn it might feel like the more you mow, the more it grows. But keeping your lawn neatly manicured is a must for optimal enjoyment and curb appeal. So rather than go at it in a haphazard manner, follow our tips for how to mow a lawn quickly and smoothly while still ensuring the health of your grass. Then kick off your shoes and love your lawn!
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
STEP 1: Trim and edge the grass.
Before you get behind the lawn mower, trim and edge your yard to reduce the risk of damaging trees, plants, and hardscaping by getting too close to them with your mower. Plus, weed whacking around obstacles like trees, mailboxes, and fences will make mowing the lawn go faster because you won’t have to maneuver around them.
Edging garden beds will prevent turf grass from encroaching onto your landscaping plants, and you won’t need to continually pull that grass back by hand.
STEP 2: Mow often and early.
Although there can be a few good reasons not to mow the lawn, in general, consistency keeps your turf happy and healthy.
- Resist the temptation to let your lawn get knee-high just to save mowing time and then give it a crew cut. Mowing more than one-third of the length of grass blades prevents optimal photosynthesis.
- Make a point of mowing grass approximately every 5 days in early spring and late fall—your lawn’s growth-spurt periods.
- If you are late in mowing, raise your blade height to keep from taking off too much plant tissue. Then, mow the yard again in a couple of days if you’d like a shorter lawn.
- Keep in mind that the best time to mow is in mid-morning, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Early morning dew will have evaporated, but grass won’t be limp from harsh midday sun.
STEP 3: Change direction each time you cut the grass.
Once you fall into a routine for mowing the lawn, you might be inclined to always cut exactly the same way. Don’t! To reduce turf wear and soil compaction, change things up and mow in a different direction week to week.
Position the mower horizontally and follow a straight line this week, for example, then mow vertically next week. You can even try to master the beautiful diagonal stripes of a professional baseball diamond, or mow in circles like a Zen labyrinth. Just be sure to switch it up.
STEP 4: Make Smart use of clippings.
There are two ways to use lawn clippings:
- Some people collect and bag grass clippings in order to prevent a layer of thatch developing at the grass roots. If you choose to collect clippings, add them to your compost pile—they’ll contribute to beautifully rich soil for landscaping and potted plants.
- However, as long as you mow a lawn regularly so that clippings aren’t overly long, it’s fine to leave them where they fall as long as they do not get too thick. A layer of about 1 inch or so will break down and provide much-needed nutrients for your lawn, with no ill effects to the roots.
STEP 5: Finish up by blowing or sweeping away lawn waste.
When running through the steps for how to mow a lawn properly, the last always involves removing any stray clippings from paths and driveways. Whether you blow the clippings back onto the mowed lawn with a leaf blower or sweep them up with a broom, it’s a neat finishing touch that’s also kind to your community and the environment.
Lawn waste left untended can wash into storm drains, leading to clogs, and can make its way into rivers and lakes to cause phosphorus pollution.
Maintaining Your Mower
The quality of your lawn mowing job is directly related to the quality and upkeep of your equipment. Choosing a quality lawn mower is important, as is staying on top with regular mower maintenance, including checking the oil and tire pressure, and cleaning the deck and blades after use.
One of the most important maintenance tasks that we tend to forget about is to sharpen the mower’s blades. Dull blades tear rather than evenly cut the grass, which makes it more difficult for your lawn to recover from a trim. Keeping mower blades sharp will also reduce mowing time. Our rule of thumb for a clean cut is to sharpen mower blades twice a season: once at the beginning of spring, and once halfway through the summer.
Lawn Mowing Tips for a Sharp-Looking Property
How often you mow and the height at which you cut grass can affect lawn health. Be sure to pay attention to blade sharpness; cutting the lawn with dull mower blades shreds grass blades and can introduce diseases. Control weeds in the lawn as needed, and never mow wet grass. That will clog your mower deck, causing it to clump as it discharges and leaving blobs of wet grass to decay all over your yard. Too much gunk can affect your mower’s performance.
Tackling some tasks routinely or as needed will make mowing a lawn more efficient and effective. Fertilize evenly so grass grows at a similar rate throughout the lawn by using a fertilizer spreader to distribute fertilizer and even grass seed. Thatch, which is a mat of dead grass and leaves, can thicken enough so that it blocks sunlight and water from reaching grass blades and roots, encouraging disease from fungus. Regular mowing and some clipping removal prevents thatch from building up, and dethatching can eliminate this thick mat, improving lawn health.
These mowing tips sound easy enough, right? Are you ready to get started? Not so fast. You might need to break a few bad mowing habits before you earn the reputation as the top groundskeeper in the neighborhood. Watch our video or read our article to learn some of the biggest mowing mistakes you should avoid. Then get out in the yard and put your newfound knowledge to use.
FAQs About the Best Way to Mow a Lawn
Even those with prizeworthy yards can encounter a problem or question every now and then about the best way to mow a lawn. Here are answers to a few frequent questions people have about caring for and mowing the lawn.
Q. In what pattern should I mow my lawn?
The mowing pattern you choose is a matter of convenience and preference. What matters most is that you mix it up from time to time. If you always mow the yard in the same pattern, the grass will tend to lean toward the direction you mow and not stand as upright. Change up directions every few times you mow instead of always following the same vertical or horizontal lines.
Q. How much do you overlap when mowing?
The exact amount to overlap depends on your mower’s deck width and spacing from the edge of the mower body that you can see. In general, overlap a couple of inches on each pass, then increase it by an inch or two if you spot any strips of missed, taller blades.
Q. How do I stop my grass burning in the summer?
Preventing summer grass burn starts with planting the best grass seed for your region. Avoid cutting the grass too short just to save on mowing frequency. In fact, mowing grass fairly often (and removing no more than about one-third of the grass height each time) helps keep grass healthy.
You might cut back on mowing frequency during especially hot, dry periods, but keep the grass watered. Finally, avoid mowing grass during the day’s peak heat, mowing instead in early evening or in the mid-morning once the grass is not too wet.
Q. How short should you cut grass?
Short grass can become too weak to survive summer heat or periods of drought. Keep the height of most grasses at about 2½ to 3 inches, depending on the grass type. Bermuda grass and some other warm-season types can handle a shorter mowing height. Check the seed package or with a local source such as your cooperative extension office if you are unsure of the optimal height when you cut your grass.
With all grass types, aim for cutting no more than one-third of the grass blade height with each mowing session.
Q. Can you weed whack wet grass?
As with mowing, it is best to wait a day or so to trim the lawn if it is raining or has rained recently. The wet grass tends to bend or lean from the weight of water, making grass trimming harder. Clumps of wet grass can affect the trimmer’s operation and even damage it. Finally, consider your own safety. It is never a good idea to weed whack during a summer storm because of potential lightning and slippery turf.
Lawn Mowing Patterns Techniques
An improper grass cutting pattern can result to an unsightly final appearance due to certain missing spots. But here is the question that brings everything into a clear perspective: What is the most efficient way to care for your lawn?
Since there are plenty of lawn mowing patterns techniques, it quite hard to choose which pattern suits your garden. We’ll explore five lawn mowing technique patterns to help you find which mowing pattern suits your yard.
Lawn Mowing Patterns Benefits
There are a lot of benefits associated with mowing patterns. Mowing patterns into grass helps to keep the grass short, even and neat, giving it an orderly appearance.
Lawn mowing patterns eliminates pests from the grass. Mowing your grass a little bit higher will make it healthier. Various debris is picked up from the soil, making sure that nothing accumulates on the grass.
Regular mowing with zero-turn mowers will help your lawn remain consistent because most of the resources gained are spread out evenly throughout the yard.
You can give your lawn a healthy start by doing proper site preparation and selection of turf before planting. This will also help you manage pests.
Best Lawn Mower Patterns Techniques for a Healthy Yard
When grass cutting seasons nears, it becomes cumbersome to keep your lawn looking nice and healthy. Instead of following the same cutting patterns to keep your grass in great shape, try some of these unique lawn mowing designs.
The most efficient grass cutting pattern is mowing in rows. It’s one of the fastest ways to cut your grassplot. To produce a pleasant layout, several factors like size, grass type, and shape of the yard will guide you in the direction where the rows should go.
You can start your row by making a diagonal 45-degree angle from the hardscape surface that borders your lawn. In the end, you’ll have lines that look completely straight. Just make sure you start at a different point in the yard as you make each mow.
To create a checkerboard pattern, create straight lines back and forth. These are effective by starting with a row pattern.
Walk around your grassplot and remove any dangerous objects like stones that might be harmful to your Mower. Attach a roller to your mower to mow the first row.
Turn a 90-degree angle to the first row and more another set of row perpendicular to the beginning. Create a mow line around the end of the perimeter to polish off the look.
Spirals are among the most efficient lawn mowing pattern in the grass. To more your yard into spiral pattern means you have to start outside the lawn then move in the entire perimeter in a circular pattern.
Another way of creating a spiral is by using a double spiral pattern where you go around the perimeter of the yard in a square spiral.
To mow your grassplot using a diamond pattern you need to mow a diagonal stripe in the center of the lawn and move another strip next to it. Cut the second strip in the same direction to create a light stripe with two dark lines next to it until both sides are stripped.
Mow the crossing stripes, making a diagonal one in the opposite direction, making a return pass right next to it like the first time. To complete the lawn, continue with the same pattern starting with one stripe then two stripes.
A mower will help the curved patterns to look graceful. The way you’ve framed your yard or walkaways will make it have more curves than straight edges. To achieve curved designs, just like the spiral pattern, work your way inwards while following the outer edge of the yard.
Mowing Patterns Tips and Tricks
Every time you cut your grass, you create a way for your lawn’s success or downfall.
Here are four important tips regarding lawn striping patterns.
- Purchase a Lawn Roller to bend the grass further.
- Use cool seasoned grass to get a better stripe pattern.
- Mow your grass taller to create dark lawn stripe.
- To keep the grass growing, change the direction of your stripes every 2-3 hours.
General Tips for Proper Mowing
- Always make sure that the blade is sharp for a clean-cut and keep your lawnmower in good shape.
- To avoid dead spots in the grassplot, remove all the leaves and other debris before winter.
- Keep your grass taller in the summer months to help shade the soil so that you won’t have to water as much as possible.
Mowing a lawn is not a simple exercise, as many would imagine. If you want to cut your grass, make grass mowing fun by experimenting with different designs as discussed above.
The comprehensive view of the six Lawn mowing patterns techniques should get you started. Once you get practice, try some other patterns to see which ones please you the most.
How do you take care of your lawn, and what is a “well-groomed grass” for you? We will be glad if you share your advice below in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев.
Lawn Mowing Tips and Tricks
Are you tired of faddish lawn care advice that over-promises but under-delivers that amazing, professional-looking lawn?
In this article, we’re getting back to basics with time-tested, easy-to-follow mowing advice. These tips may not make your lawn look like 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue overnight, but they’ve been used by generations of homeowners to help their lawns become stronger one season at a time.
Start with a sharp blade
Chefs say that a sharp knife is safer than a dull one, and the same is true for your lawn mower blade. A sharp mower blade will cut, but a dull blade will tear or rip. One blade of ripped grass may not make much of a difference in your lawn, but multiply that times the thousands of grass blades in your lawn, and a sharp mowing blade becomes an important part of your lawn care.
A torn or ripped grass blade can make your grass susceptible to fungal disease in wet weather and excessive transpiration (water loss through the leaves) in dry, hot weather. During the warmer months, the grass blade tips dry out more quickly and can turn whitish or hay-colored due to the amount of dried, torn surface area. In addition, your lawn will be less able to withstand drought stress during the hot months.
Certain grass varieties like Zoysia will wear down a home mower blade in as little as one month. Check your grass blades after each mow. If they start to look ragged, it’s time to sharpen your blade.
Pro Tip: One more reason to keep your mower blades sharp is that you can mow at a slightly faster pace while still maintaining a high-quality cut.
Time your mowing
For most homeowners, the best time of day is whenever they have the time. A few general rules can help you make the most of the time you have:
- Mow when it’s dry.
- Don’t mow during the hottest hours of the day (you and the mower will suffer).
Mid-morning, as long as the grass is dry, and late afternoon or early evening, after the hottest part of the day is over, are the best times.
Change your mowing pattern
Variety is the spice of life, right? Well, your lawn loves it, too. In short, changing your mowing pattern is one of those “best practices” for your lawn.
Mowing in different directions won’t create the dramatic stripes you see on baseball fields; that requires a roller kit to push the grass in the direction you mow.
Alternating your mowing pattern will prevent soil compaction (from mowing in the same direction) and prevent the grass blades from leaning over in a particular direction. (This is called “grain” in the lawn care industry.)
Here’s an easy step-by-step way to start:
- Week 1: Mow horizontally (left to right or vice versa)
- Week 2: Mow diagonally starting from one corner of the yard
- Week 3: Mow vertically
- Week 4: Mow diagonally in the direction opposite Week 2
Mowing in a different direction each week is a simple mowing practice that encourages stronger growth, less soil compaction, and a healthier lawn.
Mow when it’s dry
Think of it this way, if you had a choice, would you rather mow when it’s wet or dry? We bet you said “dry.” Good news: Your lawn agrees.
Here are a few reasons why your lawn prefers to be mowed when it’s dry:
✓ No clumps of grass on the lawn (which can harm existing grass and looks unsightly)✓ Grass cuts more easily, giving you a better-quality, even cut✓ Grass won’t clump on the underside of the mowing deck or clog your mower✓ Less risk of compacting the soil as you mow✓ Mowing wet grass reduces the effectiveness of a mulching mower✓ No ruts in the lawn
There are times when the rain won’t let up and you may have to mow a wet lawn. If so, don’t mow early in the morning and have a sharp blade on the mower to avoid tearing the grass.
Leave your clippings
The easy answer here is: not to bag. There are many reasons to leave your clippings on the lawn, but the most important reason is that it will give you a healthier lawn over the long haul.
Mulching mowers do this best because they chop up the clippings multiple times before they land on the lawn. This allows them to break down more quickly and provide slow-release nutrients to your lawn.
Reasons to leave mulched grass clippings on your lawn:
✓ Mulched grass clippings provide the equivalent of one free fertilizer treatment per year.✓ Saves you time as you mow (no emptying the mower bag)✓ Saves you money (no disposal fees)✓ Better for the environment (grass clippings don’t end up in the landfill)✓ Reduces erosion (soil stays in the same place)
There are a few instances when it’s better to bag:
- Fungus: If you have a fungus on the lawn, bag the clippings to avoid spreading the fungus to other areas.
- Leaves: If the leaves cover over 50% of the lawn, bag the leaves and grass clippings and add them to your compost pile or as a light mulch in your ornamental beds.
- Weeds: If the weeds in your lawn have gone to seed, you don’t want those seeds going back into the lawn.
- Jungle lawn: If your lawn looks like the Amazon rainforest, bag the clippings and toss them in the compost pile to break down.
Before you think about how tall your grass should be cut, remember the One-Third Rule of Mowing. This rule states that you should never remove more than one-third of the grass blade per mow. Taking off more than this puts undue stress on the grass. Simple, right?
Now let’s talk about height. Mowing at the proper height is very important. Every grass has a particular height at which it prefers to be cut. Recommended cutting heights are based on shoot density, internode length, and blade width.
Here are height recommendations for warm-season and cool-season grasses:
|Grass Name||Grass Type||Best Height for Lawn|
|Fine fescues||Cool Season||2.5-3 inches|
|Kentucky bluegrass||Cool Season||2.5-3.5 inches|
|Perennial ryegrass||Cool Season||1.5-2.5 inches|
|Tall Fescue||Cool Season||3-4 inches|
|Bahia||Warm Season||3-4 inches|
|Common bermudagrass||Warm Season||1-2 inches|
|Centipede||Warm Season||1-2 inches|
|Hybrid bermuda||Warm Season||1-1 ½ inches|
|St. Augustine||Warm Season||2-3 inches|
|Zoysia||Warm Season||1-2 inches|
Since fine fescues are often planted in shady areas, you may be able to mow up to 1 inch higher. A taller leaf blade allows the grass to produce more food for itself.
Seasonal differences also apply. For example, the University of Georgia (see Lawn Calendars) recommends that you increase the cutting height ½ inch in hot weather.
Taller mowing heights help strengthen the grass during times of heat stress. Here are a few ways taller mowing heights benefit your lawn in the warmer months:
- Taller blades shade the grass crowns
- leaf area, which means it can produce food for itself at a faster rate
- Deeper roots, which strengthen the plant and help it reach water deeper in the soil
- If your grass is tall enough, it shades the soil and prevents crabgrass seeds from sprouting
In areas with cold winters, cut the lawn at the lowest mower setting before you put the mower away for the winter. This will prevent the grass from folding over and trapping moisture — prime conditions for fungal growth. (Note: If the lawn is too tall, take down the height over several mowings: Remember, no more than ⅓ of the blade per mow.)
Remember, cutting at the right height leads to a healthy lawn. Cutting too high can encourage matting and disease. Cutting too low reduces the plant’s leaf area, which means it may not be able to make enough food. A lawn cut too low also can leave the grass unable to deal with common stresses like heat, foot traffic, and drought, not to mention greater weed pressure.
Repeat as needed
How often should you mow? When your grass increases by ⅓ of its height. Here’s a handy chart to help you based on the type of grass in your lawn.
|Grass Name||Best Height for Lawns||Mow Grass At This Height|
|Fine fescues||2.5-3 inches||3.25-4 inches|
|Kentucky bluegrass||2.5-3.5 inches||3.25-4.5 inches|
|Perennial ryegrass||1.5-2.5 inches||2-3.25 inches|
|Tall Fescue||3-4 inches||4-5.25 inches|
|Bahia||3-4 inches||4-5.25 inches|
|Common bermuda grass||1-2 inches||1.25-2.5 inches|
|Centipede||1-2 inches||1.25-2.5 inches|
|Hybrid bermuda||1-1 ½ inches||1.25-2 inches|
|St. Augustine||2-3 inches||2.5-4 inches|
|Zoysia||1-2 inches||1.25-2.5 inches|
If you’re unsure whether you should mow on the tall or short side of the range, err on the side of longer grass. There is a direct relationship between blade length and root system depth: Taller mowing (within range) increases the root depth; shorter mowing reduces the root depth.
Raise the mower height by ½ inch during the hottest time of the growing season, and increase by ½ to 1 inch if you are mowing in the shade.
Finish with a flourish
No mowing session is complete without edging the lawn. To get a straight edge on the lawn takes practice, but here are a few tips to achieve a professional finish:
✓ Flip the string trimmer upside down. Make sure the line is at a 90-degree angle to the ground.✓ Walk left to right if the line spins clockwise. Walk right to left if it spins counter-clockwise. This will prevent excess drag on the machine.✓ If you already have an established edge between a paved surface and the lawn, a string trimmer works fine. If you need to establish an edge, use an edger to cut through the tough grass.
Don’t forget to bring out the blower to blow the clippings back into the lawn when you’re done.
As with any living thing, the amount of time will differ depending on the type of grass, germination rate, weather conditions, and so on.
A sodded lawn can be mowed much sooner than a seeded lawn, even as soon as two to three weeks after planting. (Most say to wait at least three weeks.) Grass doesn’t grow by calendar dates, though, so before you get out the mower, test for root development:
— Tug test: Pull up on several sections of the sod after two weeks. If the sod pulls up easily, you don’t have good root development yet. If the sod feels rooted to the ground, root development is coming along.
Let the new sod grow one-third higher than the mowing height before you mow. In other words, once the roots are established, you can treat it as you would an established lawn. If you prefer to mow on the lower side, let the grass grow to the high side of its range before the first mow. Then bring it down gradually.
A seeded lawn will take much longer before your first mow, up to two months. (Sod, sprigs, and plugs won’t take quite as long — three to six weeks.) Treat it as you would an established lawn: Mow when it reaches one-third higher than the recommended mowing height.
Follow the other lawn tips like not mowing when it’s wet and using a sharp mower blade. This will ensure you don’t pull the new grass roots from the soil but give them a nice clean cut.
As early in the day as possible. You can start the sprinklers before the sun comes up but finish watering no later than 10 a.m. This gives the lawn ample time to dry out and prevents evaporation.
Effective weed control requires a multi-pronged approach, but mowing can reduce or weaken some weeds. Lower-growing weeds aren’t tall enough, but taller weeds can be taken down with your weekly mow. Mowing taller weeds also will prevent seed heads from developing and seeding new generations in your lawn.
If you’re new to the world of lawn care, contact one of our lawn care professionals. They know how to implement time-tested, basic tips and tricks to get your lawn on the road to a healthier, greener future.
Main Photo Credit: Photo Mix | Pixabay
Mowing Patterns. Tips from a professional
The eye-catching pattern of a lawn adds to its beauty. It may seem like stripes and patterns are created by cutting the grass at different heights or growing other seeds. This is not the case. The reflection of light causes stripes and patterns. When the grass is cut, the grass blades bend in that direction. Grass mowed in different directions reflects the light differently, which creates aesthetically pleasing patterns.
In general, mowing patterns do not require extra time or effort. The most common mowing pattern is striping created by cutting the grass in different directions, creating adjacent lines or stripes. Start by cleaning the outside edges, and make your first straight stripe by using a sidewalk or driveway as your guide. Mow adjacent to the first stripe by lining up the mower with the first stripe in the other direction. Once you master the striping pattern, you can achieve any mowing pattern with ease.
This article will give you information about different mowing patterns and why mowing patterns are important for your lawn. It will also discuss some of the benefits of the mowing patterns and the types of grass that are suitable for creating mowing patterns. It will also give you a step-by-step guide to use for mowing patterns on your lawn. So, if you are looking forward to adding to the beauty of your lawn by creating mowing patterns, be sure to keep reading.
- 1 Why are lawn mowing patterns important?
- 2 Benefits of creating mowing patterns:
- 2.1 1. Makes the grass healthy
- 2.2 2. Mowing patterns hide imperfections in the lawn
- 2.3 3. Minimize the wear-and tear-damage
- 5.1 Step 1: Cut the edges first
- 5.2 Step 2: Create the first stripe
- 5.3 Step 3: Use the first stripe as your guide
- 5.4 Step 4: Repeat the pattern
- 5.5 Step 5: Mow the outside edges again
- 6.1 Pattern 1: Stripes or rows
- 6.2 Pattern 2: Checkerboard
- 6.3 Pattern 3: Spirals
- 6.4 Pattern 4: Diamond
Why are lawn mowing patterns important?
You don’t necessarily need a perfect lawn to use mowing patterns. It is a common misconception that a lawn can be mowed in patterns only if it is perfect. Lawns can be mowed in patterns to make them look nice and maintain them with ease. Simple grass-cutting patterns make it much easier to maintain a healthy lawn. Grass mowed in patterns is healthier, contains fewer weeds, and is easier to maintain.
Mowing the grass in the same pattern wears out the areas of grass. The tire tracks can cause dead spots in the yard, making the lawn prone to weed invasion. Using the same mowing patterns every time you mow makes the grass compact, and the new grass blades find it challenging to grow. Changing the mowing patterns minimizes the damage caused by the lawn mower’s tires.
Mowing in patterns requires the grass to grow a little higher to achieve the best effect. Cutting the grass a little taller is better for the grass as it saves the grass from getting heat stress. Mowing patterns hide the weeds in the lawn and give it a perfect look.
Benefits of creating mowing patterns:
Along with providing an aesthetic look to your lawn, mowing patterns have some other benefits. Some of the advantages of creating patterns in your lawn are as follows:
1. Makes the grass healthy
Mowing patterns require the grass to be cut at higher heights. Mowing grass at higher heights makes the grass healthier. According to the one-third rule, cutting more than one-third of the grass blade during a single mow damages the grass.
When the grass is cut low, the surface area of its leaf is reduced, and it absorbs less sunlight during photosynthesis for the production of its food. This weakens the grass and makes it more susceptible to disease and weed invasion.
Cutting the grass too short inhibits the root growth of the grass, and the roots become shallow. The shallow root growth system cannot support the grass during severe drought conditions. Grass that is allowed to grow tall has a stronger and deep root system that easily helps the grass survive the drought conditions.
2. Mowing patterns hide imperfections in the lawn
Having dry spots or a small disease-infected area in the lawn is common. Mowing patterns help you hide the small imperfections in your lawn and give an illusion of the perfect lawn.
3. Minimize the wear-and tear-damage
Mowing in the same pattern every time you mow causes the mower tires to create tracks over the yard’s surface. This can compact the grass and reduce the airflow. The grass becomes more prone to diseases. Eventually, the tire tracks can create dark spots in the lawn, making the lawn prone to weed invasion and diseases.
Changing the mowing patterns minimizes the wear and tear damage caused by the repetitive tire tracks. It prevents the grass from becoming compacted and keeps the grass growing healthy.
Lawn cutting techniques
To maintain a perfect-looking lawn, learning the basic patterns is important. A few simple techniques can help you achieve a perfect mowing pattern on your lawn. Many lawn mowing patterns are used to add to the beauty of the lawn.
Creating stripes in your lawn is the most basic and the easiest one to start with. Once you manage to gain expertise in the stripes pattern, it becomes easy for you to create other designs. Checkerboards, diamonds, and criss-cross diagonal patterns are other designs that are most commonly used in lawns. All these complex and fancy designs are essentially variations of the striping design and can be achieved easily after learning the striping pattern.
There is no perfect lawn mowing pattern to use on every lawn. Mowing patterns can be chosen based on the area and shape of your lawn. If you have a large area, you have plenty of space for experimentation, and you can use different mowing patterns every time you mow. However, if your yard is oddly shaped or has less area, then it is recommended to select one or two mowing patterns that are easy for you to create and look best in your yard.
Mowing the grass like a pro, some helpful tips:
Mowing patterns do not add to your work while mowing. You don’t have to mow over and over again to create stripes or other designs on your lawn. Mowing in patterns requires a little planning and a bit of extra thought to visualize what you are trying to achieve. It is all about how the grass bends or lays after you mow it.
When a mower is moved over the grass, the grass blades bend in that direction. If you mow in the other direction, the grass bends in the other direction. This is the basic idea behind the striping pattern. The light from the sun reflects the blades differently in each direction. This reflection makes the lines or stripes. It is recommended to mow the grass a bit higher to show up the stripes better. The longer grass blades bend more than the shorter blades, which makes the reflection more noticeable.
A step-by-step guide to mowing patterns in your lawn
Mowing patterns in your lawn does not require any special equipment. Just your regular push or riding mower is fine. Here is a step-by-step guide to mowing patterns on your lawn.
Step 1: Cut the edges first
First, mow the outside edges of the lawn to create a boundary of the yard.
Step 2: Create the first stripe
Use a landmark to keep your first stripe straight. A sidewalk, driveway, or patio could be used as a guide to line up the first stripe.
Step 3: Use the first stripe as your guide
Turn the mower around on the outside edge of the lawn after you make your first stripe. Line up the mower’s wheel on the edge of the first stripe and follow the first line while mowing to create the next stripe.
Step 4: Repeat the pattern
Continue mowing in the same pattern by lining up your mower with the last stripe you created. Each new stripe must be in the opposite direction to the previous one to create nice and clean lines.
Step 5: Mow the outside edges again
To get rid of any turn marks left, go over the outside edges of the lawn again. This will also remove any grass clumps dropped by the mower during cutting.
You can skip the last step if you are happy with the way your lawn looks. This step only gives a more polished look to your lawn. Once you are confident in creating straight stripes, you can play around with other patterns to choose the one that looks best on your lawn.
Different lawn mowing patterns, some helpful tips:
Here are some of the most common lawn mowing patterns:
Pattern 1: Stripes or rows
It is one of the most common mowing patterns. It creates contrasting rows in your lawn which make it look beautiful and gives it a finished look. This pattern is created by mowing back and forth in straight lines and changing the direction of the mower in each adjacent row.
Pattern 2: Checkerboard
A checkerboard pattern can be created by starting with a stripe or row pattern. Once the row pattern is achieved, turn at 90 degrees to the first row pattern and mow another row pattern perpendicular to it.
Pattern 3: Spirals
Mowing in a spiral pattern requires starting at one point outside the lawn and mowing the lawn in a large square. You make smaller and smaller passes as you mow inside the previous square until you reach the center of the lawn.
Pattern 4: Diamond
The diamond pattern is also achieved with the help of a striping pattern. Once the rows or stripes are complete, make a second pass and mow the top of the stripes diagonally from end to end.
Grass-type and lawn mowing patterns, some helpful tips:
How prominent your stripes will depend upon the type of grass you have on your lawn. Cool-season grasses have longer blades and are thicker and lusher than warm-season grasses. Mowing patterns are more prominent when they are used over cool-season grasses. If you have cool-season grass like Kentucky Bluegrass, you can easily achieve dark and lovely mowing patterns.
Warm-season grasses have more stems than grass blades. These grasses do not bend nicely after mowing due to their shorter blades. Because of this, if you have warm-season grass, the patterns won’t be prominent. It may be possible that your mower may not leave any stripes at all after mowing.
Mowing patterns tips and tricks:
Mowing the grass in patterns does not require extra time or effort once you master the trick. Here are a few tips and tricks that can help you improve your result:
- Use different patterns: Use different mowing patterns or change the direction of stripes after every 2 to 3 mows to avoid any wear and tear damage caused by the mower tires. This will also make the grass grow healthy.
- Mow the grass taller: To create more prominent stripes and patterns, always mow the grass taller so that its blades can bend nicely after mowing and reflect the light properly. Shorter grass blades do not bend nicely, which affects the darkness of the pattern.
- Use a hardscape as your guide: To keep the lines and patterns straight, use a sidewalk or driveways as your landmark. This will help you to achieve perfectly straight lines.
- Look for the best pattern: Each yard has its own dimensions, size, and shape. Once you practice creating patterns, experiment with different patterns to look for the one that is best suited to your yard.
General tips for mowing the lawn:
Here are few tips that must be kept in mind while mowing the lawn.
- Change your mowing patterns: Change your lawn mowing pattern every time you mow your lawn.
- Mow low in Spring: The growth rate of grasses is higher in Spring. In Spring, cut the warm-season grasses to lower cutting range to remove dead winter blades.
- Mow high in Summer: During drought Summer conditions, reduce the stress on your lawn by raising your blade to the upper cutting range.
- Prepare your lawn for Winter: To prevent snow mold, mow the cool-season grasses shorter for the final fall mowing.
- Sharp blades are important: Use sharp blades while mowing the lawn to prevent grass blades from getting damaged.
- Mow the dry lawn: Always mow the lawn when the grass is dry.
- Mow to a suitable height: Don’t mow the grass to keep it shorter but to make it even.
- Mow low after dormancy: After dormancy, cut the grass to a lower cutting range to remove dead, dormant blades.
- Mow regularly: Don’t wait too long to mow your lawn. Mow regularly so that you are cutting only one-third of the blade each time you mow.
- Do not cut the grass too short: Avoid cutting the grass too short. Short grass has shallow roots, which makes it hard to withstand drastic weather conditions.
Mowing different patterns is a unique way to set your yard apart and make it look unique and beautiful. Mowing patterns not only enhance the beauty of the lawn but also have several benefits. Mowing patterns in lawns allows the grass to stay healthier and minimizes the wear-and-tear damage caused during mowing. Each yard has its own shape and size. Therefore, you must select the mowing patterns that are suitable for your lawn and change your mowing pattern after every 2 to 3 mows.