Lawn mower line striper. 5 Tips For Striping Your Lawn Like A Pro

Tips For Striping Your Lawn Like A Pro

While most of us just wonder how we can get a lush, green-looking lawn some people have moved past that and mastered the art of striping their lawns. We’ve all admired the lawn striping at sports stadiums and golf courses with patterns ranging from checkerboards and diagonals to zig zags. While you don’t need an industrial-sized mower to make that happen in your own backyard, you do need to attach a lawn striping kit to your push lawnmower.

Before we talk about the method, let’s look at what’s actually happening to give a lawn that striped look. If you’ve ever swiped your hand across a piece of velvet, you will have noticed that the fabric looks lighter-colored in one direction and darker in the other. It’s the same thing with grass. Scag Power Equipment explains that it all depends on which direction you’re looking from as to whether the grass looks dark or light. This is because the blades of grass catch the light differently depending on which way they’re bent. So get ready to set the bar high for your neighbors with the best tips to stripe your lawn like a pro.

Let there be stripes!

Since the blades of grass have to bend in order to really see the stripes, your lawn has to be of a certain length. Cool season varieties, like fescue, rye or bluegrass are better suited for this than others, explains the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Taller and thicker grass makes the striping effect more noticeable so it’s important to keep the weeds out and let the grass grow up to 2 to 4 inches high before mowing, per Executive Lawn Care. The direction that the sun hits the blades of grass will also determine how strongly the stripes stand out — when the sun is directly overhead, they won’t be as noticeable as when the sunlight hits the grass at an angle.

Ryan Knorr Lawn Care demonstrates how he gets the grass to bend using the Toro Lawn Striping System that attaches to any Toro mower. As you can see from the photo above, the lawn is beautifully striped!

It’s all about the weight

There are several companies that manufacture lawn striping systems, also called kits, and there are various videos that show you how to make your own lawn striper using a PVC tube, such as this one from Ryan Knorr Lawn Care. A couple of the details to consider with a lawn striping system is the ease of maneuverability when you pull your mower back or when you try to mow around features in the garden.

Whether you buy a lawn striping roller or make your own, you will have to add sand or gravel to create the weight. Make sure to have a funnel on hand to make it faster and easier. According to Toro, you’ll need to add 25 to 33 pounds depending on the density of the dry sand or gravel that you use. A lawn striping system that you attach to the back of your push mower cost costs between 100 and 200, depending on the brand. According to Big League Lawns, if you have a riding, tractor, or stand-on mower, you can also buy lawn striping attachments that typically range from 300 to 400.

How to get your strip started

Before you try the more complicated zig-zag pattern recommended by the Roosted Lawn Company, you will need to master the basics of a straight up and down pattern. Start by mowing the perimeter edge of your yard with, or without the roller kit attached to your mower. Then, mow up and down the full length of your yard in parallel, straight lines. When you’ve finished, mow the perimeter once again to get rid of any of the lines that were made as you turned the mower.

If you want to experiment with designs, another easy pattern to try is a checkerboard. this picks up where you left off after mowing up and down in one direction. You’re now going to start at the perimeter of your yard and mow across the lines in the opposite direction. Always finish by mowing once again around the perimeter to smooth out any irregular marks.

Wavy patterns add dimension

When you’re ready to try a more challenging stripe, like a wavy line or a zig zag, keep in mind the line of sight from where you or your neighbors will be able to see the pattern. While lawn striping is all about adding curb appeal, there is an element of getting everyone to see how good your lawn looks! According to Toro, if you create a pattern that is parallel to where you are standing, it will look more dramatic.

When you start to mow, look ahead at an object in the distance to help you mow a straighter line. If you want to create a circular pattern, for instance, around a tree, start at the feature rather than at the perimeter. Each time you complete a circle, turn and circle back the other way. In the end, you’ll create a bulls-eye pattern. For a wavy pattern, you can use the end of a garden or a driveway as your sight line and just make a gentle waving pattern as you mow. When you turn back to mow in the other direction, use one side of the previous stripe to follow the same wave.

Healthy care tips for your lawn

According to Spartan Mowers, lawn striping promotes healthier lawns, because varying the direction in the way the grass is cut means that the sun won’t always hit the grass in just one way. For the same reason, you should also vary the striping pattern every two weeks, which also prevents ruts from forming from the mower. Always mow your lawn when the grass is dry so it doesn’t get torn or matted by the mower. In addition, mowing in the morning isn’t the best time of day because there may still be dew on the grass.

A few other tips to keep your lawn healthy and looking good are to mow with a sharp blade, and only remove the top third of the grass blades, suggests Simplicity. Don’t mow your lawn when it’s dealing with a drought or very hot weather — if your grass is brown and crunchy, it probably doesn’t need to be mowed. If you have to mow when the weather is hot, do it in the early evening when the sun starts to set, which gives your lawn time to recover overnight out of the direct sunlight.

Everything You Need to Know About Lawn Striping

Don’t you just love to look at the lawn striping in professional baseball stadiums? It’s so green and lush. Checkerboards, an arch, curves, waves, a crown, a flag, diagonals and a mix of directional grass-art have overtaken the fields of MLB stadiums. It is beautiful and almost hypnotic to enjoy. Fortunately for lawn care enthusiasts, it’s easier than you think.

Lawn Mowing Creates Those Coveted Stripes

Lawn stripes occur by bending the grass into different directions with your lawn mower. It’s not an optical illusion. Rather, it is basically just light reflecting off the blades of grass blades bent in opposite directions. Grass bent towards you looks dark while the grass away from you look lighter.

Mowing your lawn and striping it is actually good for your grass! It can become healthier by striping. Mowing in the same pattern and same direction all of the time creates uneven spots and ruts. Striping allows the sun to nourish all portions of your lawn.

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It is best to change the striping pattern every two weeks for premium striping effect. Also, avoid mowing or striping when your grass is wet. Not only will it jam your lawn mower blades, it will create a matted look, not the stripes you desire.

It is best to mow in a straight line. Start off by mowing parallel to a straight sidewalk, fence or driveway. Keep your eyes straight in front of you, approximately 8-10 feet ahead. When you come to the end of your row, lift the mower deck as you turn, then mow in the opposite direction of your last pass.

Best Grass Type for Lawn Striping

Cool season types of grass tend to work better. These would include fescue, bluegrass or rye. Bermuda and zoysia grasses are considered warm weather grasses. While with some work and a yard roller you may be able to get stripes, but they will not be as visible as the cool season grass nor will the striping last as long.

Grass height is another factor is having a professional looking lawn stripe. In the fall and spring, a grass height of 2 ¾” is best, while in the heat of the summer 3 ½” will protect the lawn from the heat. The higher the grass, even as much as 4” in height, the more dramatic the striping will appear. Thicker grass is healthier grass, so keeping weeds out and a thick carpet of grass will enhance the striping effect. Some professionals claim that cutting twice is the secret, with the second pass lowering the blade ¼”.

Lawn Care Stripes by Executive Lawn Care

In the beginning, striping will take practice. You may get a few chuckles out of your first attempts, but do not be discouraged. Once you get good at it, you can try the checkerboard pattern by mowing the lawn a second time at a 90-degree angle from your first mow.

However, if you don’t have the time to pin down this technique and still want a well-manicured lawn, Executive Lawn Care can help. Our residential services will ensure a healthy, gorgeous Dallas lawn, year-round. Contact us today to get your lawn on our schedule!

How to Stripe a Lawn with a Riding Mower, this is how to do it

At some point, you must have wondered how those striking stripes ended up on the lawn of your local football or soccer ground. They are usually not crafted with lawn paint or a fascinating grass species but by lawn striping. The easiest way to create grass patterns on your lawn is to use a grass roller attached to your riding mower to bend the grass in a certain direction. You can use a PVC pipe or thick rubber floor mats to perform the rolling job too.

A healthy lawn is a must-have if you want to get perfect stripes. If you have small grass, wait for 10 to 15 days for the grass to longer. Creating the striping might seem complicated, but it is not. Start with simple patterns, and with time, you’ll become a pro. In this blog post, we’ll teach you how to create basic grass patterns on your lawn.

How to stripe your lawnmower with a riding mower, this is how to do it:

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  • Basic Column Stripes: You can achieve alternative light and dark columns by mowing/rolling the adjacent columns in the opposite direction.
  • Checkerboard Pattern: First, create the basic lengthwise column stripes. Then mow perpendicular to the basic stripes to create a checkerboard pattern.
  • Crisscross: Define the parameter and start mowing diagonally. It’s all about direction, so make sure you are mowing adjacent columns in the opposite direction.
  • Zigzag: To create a zigzag pattern, start by making a crisscross or a checkerboard pattern. They can act as a template. Make 90 degree turns after three consecutive blocks crossing dark or light columns depending on your starting point.

Use a Riding Lawn Mower:

Striping are the magic of optics. The reflection of sunlight on the grass’s edges highlights the patterns when the grass is pressed in a certain direction. A well-cut and evenly trimmed lawn with stripes are very nice to the eye, but it can be a very tedious task with a push mower. We recommend using a riding mower for this job. If you are serious with your striping and want to tackle more complex patterns, using a zero-turn lawn mower can make your job easier.

Striping Kits:

The easiest way to create stipes is to purchase a striping kit. They can be attached to your electric or gasoline-based riding lawnmower. As we explained earlier, that roller is the main part of the stripping kits. Its job is to press down the grass. You can buy them online or at your dealer. But if you don’t have one, or do not want to spend the money on one, you can make one yourself. We have two DYI lawnmower striping rollers for you:

PVC Pipe:

If you do not want to spend money on industrial-grade rollers, a PVC pipe can be an effective and cheap stripping kit for you. Cut a piece of a PVC pipe equal to the width of your riding lawnmower, fill it with sand or wet clay, and cap it with PVC caps of the same diameter as the pipe. Attach this pipe with the metal shaft at the back of your mower, and there you have a cheap and DIY-style stripping kit.

Boat Trailer Rollers:

Take a crankshaft whose length is equal to or comparable with your riding mower’s width and mount dense rubber boat rollers on the shaft and attach the shaft to your mower with rigid metal brackets or chains. These rollers are heavy enough to press the grass; you do not have to add extra weight to the rollers.

The Way Striping Works:

Beautiful lawn patterns are produced when the sunlight reflects from differently cut and maintained grass areas. The portion of the grass edges bending toward you will look dark green, while the one bowing away will look light green. Close to each other, they produce an enhanced visualization of light and dark stripes that can be very sharp. Increasing and limiting light reflection on the grass is at the core of this deception. You can observe this effect at sea too: When you are looking at seawater, and the sun is before you, the light reflects a way that gives the shining water silver or golden color. Whereas, when you are looking at seawater with the sun behind you, the water seems dim.

Lawn striping can increase color contrast between bordering lines by making one column lighter and its adjoining line darker. You can accomplish this simple yet elegant look by pushing down one column of grass, bowing it in one direction, and keeping it as level as possible. You will give the following column a similar treatment but in the other direction.

Creating Lawn Patterns with a Riding Mower:

All the logos, crowns, and stars made on the playing fields are made by bending the grass in a certain direction by people who are pros at this game. They know what to do and how to do it. It is all about the direction you bend the grass in and how much you press it against the ground. Creating patterns is not too difficult, especially the simpler ones. We’ll teach you how to create some basic patterns that are easy but will make your lawn look great.

Basic Column Pattern:

To create a pattern of lighter and darker columns, define your lawn’s perimeter and outline the area. This helps to have a good idea of where to start and where to end. For a basic pattern, you only need to mow adjacent columns in opposite directions so that light reflects differently from the edges bent in opposite directions, creating a contrast.

Take care when you are turning your riding mower because it can ruin your strips at the edges. You can lift the roller from the ground so that it will not press against the grass. You will get a clear definition and contrast. The second thing you can do is make a U-turn from the outline you defined earlier so that if something goes wrong, you can do a second round on the perimeter or outline after finishing your main stripes on the lawn.

Checkerboard Pattern:

You can achieve a checkerboard pattern by doing an extra layer on the basic column stripes perpendicularly. To create this pattern, you’ll have to mow the outline around the lawn first. Once the outline is done, start doing the basic stripes on the lawn lengthwise. When you are done with the stripes lengthwise, repeat the same widthwise to get a beautiful and fascinating checkerboard design. Take extra care while turning your riding mover. Finish your pattern by mowing on the parameter once again. This will remove any irregularity on the outline due to turning on the edges.

Crisscross Pattern:

The crisscross pattern is achieved simply by moving diagonally. Define the parameter and mow the lawn the same as the checkerboard pattern but in the two diagonal directions instead of lengthwise and widthwise.

Zigzag Stripe Pattern:

The zigzag pattern is a lengthy process, but crisscross or diagonal stripes can help you. These patterns can act as a template for your zigzag pattern.

First of all, either select a light color stripe or a dark stripe; it does not matter what you choose as the starting point. You should mow in alternative directions on adjacent rows. For example, once you are done with the crisscross pattern, choose a light color stripe as your starting point for the zigzag pattern. Mow on the light column, then cross the dark column to the next light column and turn your riding mower very carefully, precisely at a 90-degree angle to the right. Now mow towards the next light column by crossing the dark column, then turn at an angle of 90 degrees to the left. Repeat this process until you have mowed the entire area.

Remember the direction of mowing; you should do the adjacent stripes in the opposite direction for a perfect pattern.

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Finish your job by mowing the outline to have a clean zigzag pattern on your lawn. The zigzag pattern is a bit more complicated as compared to the other patterns mentioned above. You should consult a video tutorial if the written description confuses you.

Maintenance of Riding Lawnmower:

As a lawn artist, you need to take your equipment’s best care after finishing your artwork. Maintenance involves both cleaning and servicing. The best practice would be to clean your mower after every mowing session. Clean the mower deck with a brush, clean cloth, and water. Or use the water hose connection that many more recent riding lawnmowers have. Keep the blades and the cutting area clean. Check the blades regularly, and sharpen when needed. If the blades are damaged, they need to be replaced.

You should check fuel and oil levels before each mowing. Gasoline should never be stored in the tank for more than 30 days. If stored longer, gas can go bad and harm the fuel line and the carburetor. The drive belts and pulleys and air and fuel filters should be regularly checked and maintained too.

Do you need a particular riding lawnmower for striping?

No, you do not need a particular type of riding lawnmower to create stripping on your lawn. You do need a special attachment roller that moves the grass in a certain direction. But you can attach those to almost all riding mowers. When you want to mow more complex striping, quickly turning the lawnmower is important. For this reason, a zero-turn lawnmower could be an excellent option.

PERFECT STRIPES Every Time? How Do Lawn Care Pros Do It?!

When should I use a riding lawnmower?

You should use a riding lawnmower if you have land bigger than a half-acre or so. A push or self-driving lawnmower will cut with a similar result, but it can be tedious and time-consuming for larger areas. A typical riding mover consists of a riding wheel, various controls, a steering wheel, and a cutting deck. Furthermore, it would be best to choose a more extended cutting deck for larger yards since the sharp edge will likewise be longer and cut more grass in one go.

When shopping for a riding mower, you’ll have several gas and electric riding lawnmower options to choose. An electric riding mower is easy to operate and requires considerably less maintenance than a gas one. But for some bigger lawnmowers, the electric mower is less powerful. The area you can cut depends on the size of the batteries. When they are empty, you need to wait sometime before they are recharged. In a gas mower, you fill the tank with fresh gas, and you are good to go. Some more expensive mowers have additional features like cup holders, cruise control, and even CD players. Your choice of a riding mower should primarily depend on the demands of your lawn, and extra features should be of secondary importance.

Final Remarks:

This blog post is a detailed guide on achieving incredible grass patterns with a riding mower’s help. There are several riding lawnmower attachments you can choose to get the desired striping result. We have explained how to get the different grass striping patterns. With time, you’ll gain experience and won’t need guidelines anymore. Ensure that you take good care of your riding mower, as proper maintenance can increase life and efficiency.

How to Stripe Your Lawn without a Roller (4 Alternatives)

You’ve seen lawns with professional-looking stripes either on television while watching golf or baseball, or perhaps you’ve noticed them on other residential lawns. Have you wondered to yourself how to get those lawn stripes in your own lawn? Believe it or not, you too can stripe your lawn without an expensive roller.

Is It Actually Possible to Stripe a Lawn Without a Roller?

The short answer to that question; it certainly is! There are a couple of cost-efficient ways to stripe a lawn without a roller or striping kit. It may take a few mowings, but you can stripe your lawn with your own mower, a wide-headed brush, or a groomer attachment on your mower.

There are a few steps you will have to follow to get the sharp lines and eye-catching stripes in your lawn, so keep reading as we go over how to stripe your lawn without a roller.

Why Should You Stripe Your Lawn?

There are benefits to mowing stripes in your lawn aside from gaining your neighbors’ envy. Aside from your lawn looking professionally maintained, like you hired an expensive lawn company to give that manicured look, lawn stripes increase curb appeal, can increase the value of your property, and it’s actually healthy for your lawn.

A well-maintained lawn, with the right stripes, helps the grass get plenty of sun. You’ll have to change the pattern of your stripes on occasion which helps the grass get plenty of sun on all sides of the blades. Lawn striping also requires grass to be a bit taller, around 3 to 4 inches tall which is a good, healthy height for your lawn. A thick, lush grass bed helps to choke out and prevent weed growth and promotes healthier root formation in your lawn.

How to Stripe Your Lawn without a Roller

Before you get started, plan on which way you want your stripes laying. Do you want straight stripes, diagonal, or a checkerboard pattern? There are lots of different lawn mowing patterns you could use. Once you have that figured out, make sure your grass is tall enough, as short grass is tougher to lay down. You also want to make sure the blades on your mower are sufficiently sharp.

Instead of using a roller, you can manage stripes in your lawn by using a few different methods. The first method uses your mower and the mowing deck, or you could use a soft bristle push broom. You could also use a straight 2 x 4, or a floor squeegee.

Fescues and ryegrass work the best for striping. I often get lots of people asking “Can you stripe bermuda grass?” given it’s such a popular lawn grass. The answer is – yes, you can, but it’s more difficult. Bermuda grass, with its short growth pattern and broad grass blades is difficult to lay down, but there are ways to do it.

Let’s look at a few ways how you can stripe your lawn without a roller.

Stripe Your Lawn with Your Mower

This method of lawn striping works best if you have a riding mower with an adjustable deck. It’s also the most time and energy-efficient method for larger yards. You can still achieve the striped look with a push mower, it’s just more time-consuming and will use a lot of energy if you have a lot of grass to mow.

Assuming you have a plan worked out and you’re ready to mow, let’s get started. First, with the cutting deck set to the proper height on your mower (leaving the grass 3-4 inches tall is ideal), cut around the perimeter of your yard first. Next, mow your yard in straight lines. We will assume you’re going for straight lines and heading in an east to west pattern.

Go from one side of your yard to the end, make a 180° turn, and mow a line from west to east. Continue until you have mowed your entire yard. Once your yard is a uniform height, set your mower deck to the lowest setting, but turn the blades off. You just want the deck to roll across the grass as low as possible, but you’re not cutting the grass any lower. Again, with the deck as low as possible repeat the second steps, running the mower deck across the grass east to west one pass, do a 180, drive west to east on the next line.

This is using the mower deck to bend the grass in one direction, then the next pass bends the grass in the opposite direction, giving the grass the striped look. The sun will reflect light differently depending on which way the grass is laying.

Don’t get discouraged if this doesn’t give dramatic effects after the first time. It may take a few passes to get the grass to lay down or a couple of mowings to achieve a stunning striped pattern.

Use a Push Broom

If you have a smaller yard and a push mower instead of a riding mower, these next few methods will work for you. Yes, you can use a push broom instead of a roller to stripe your lawn.

Lawn Striping Tips From Simplicity

You’ll want to start off with a soft bristle brush. Those brooms with stiff, rigid bristles could rip your grass blades, and possibly even pull some of it out by the roots. I don’t want you to have a ripped-up, ragged-looking lawn.

Basically, what you are going to do is pull the broom behind you, across your lawn in long straight lines while using light pressure. Again, you are bending the grass in one direction, then the next stripe is bent down in the opposite direction.

Floor Squeegee or Two by Four

Other items you can use besides a roller would be a floor squeegee, or a two straight two by four. You’ll probably want to affix the two by four to a handle or another stud in the shape of a T. Then you’ll do the same thing as the push broom. Drag the squeegee or two by four across your mowed lawn east to west from one end to the other, move down one length of the squeegee or stud and proceed in the opposite direction.

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Be Methodical About Your Mowing

Now that you have beautiful stripes in your lawn and the envy of the neighborhood, change it up. That’s right, you should change up the pattern of your stripes about every two or three weeks. This helps to keep your lawn thick and healthy. If you continue to mow in the exact same way season after season you could end up with unsightly ruts, and unhealthy grass.

When the grass is bent down in one direction, the blades underneath don’t get as much sunlight, and if you continue in the same direction, the grass will start to grow permanently in a horizontal manner. After two to three weeks make a 45° turn. For example, if you were mowing your stripes in an east to west pattern, shift the pattern to a southeast to northwest pattern. A few weeks later, shift your pattern 45° again. This will assure a strong, healthy lawn.

If you want to go with a checkerboard pattern, after making your alternating stripes—again with the deck on the lowest setting, and the blades turned off—run your mower 90° from the stripes and continue bending the grass down.

There You Have It

Now you can have professional-looking lawn stripes in your yard without spending an arm and a leg on rollers and striping kits. It may take a little more time to accomplish it, but a gorgeous lawn requires a certain amount of time investment.

About Tom Greene

I’ve always had a keen interest in lawn care as long as I can remember. Friends used to call me the lawn mower guru (hence the site name), but I’m anything but. I just enjoy cutting my lawn and spending time outdoors. I also love the well-deserved doughnuts and coffee afterward!

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