Lawn Striping: How to Mow Stripes and Patterns

 July 23, 2020
An Exmark mower striping a lawn

Nothing makes a lawn look better than crisp lines. Whether it’s a simple stripe or a complex pattern, lawn striping makes a lawn look like a professional mowed it. If you’re struggling to get the look on your lawn, here’s how to mow stripes or patterns in your lawn.

What Causes Lawn Stripes?

Lawn stripes are nothing but reflected light. What happens is when you make a pass with your mower, the grass is bent. When you make a pass in the opposite direction, the grass bends away in a different direction than the first pass. The grass bent towards you appears dark, while the grass bent away from you appears lighter.

Do You Need a Striping Kit or a Fancy Mower?

While a striping kit will push the grass over further, you don’t need one. And any mower, even a 21” residential walk-behind, can be used for striping, although zero turn and riding mowers will make complicated patterns, like diamonds, easier. Mowing slightly higher makes stripes more pronounced, as the grass will bend further. Shorter blades will bend less, so if you want to make the most of your stripes, set your mower about half an inch higher than usual.

Another thing that will make your stripes stand out is a healthy and full lawn. Taking the time for spring lawn maintenance will pay off later in the summer, when your lawn is lush and green, with beautiful stripes.

How to Mow Stripes in Your Lawn

Decide which directions you want your stripes to run. Stripes that are perpendicular to the street will be more noticeable than ones that are horizontal. Start on an edge of the lawn and mow a straight line; to keep your pass straight, look about ten feet in front of the mower, not at the ground right in front of you. At the end of your row, be sure to lift the mower deck as you turn. Mow in a straight line next to the first stripe.

How to Mow Checkerboards

To mow a checkerboard, start with your basic stripes. Then mow the lawn at a 90% angle to your stripes. Finally, mow a strip around the edges of the lawn.

Other Mowing Patterns

For those that want to give their lawns the look of a ball field, there is the diamond pattern, which involves mowing one pass on a diagonal, then two passes in the other direction. Then mow in the same one-pass, two-pass pattern on a diagonal at 90 degrees to the first set of diagonals. For circles, start at the center of your lawn and mow in one direction. Lift the deck and mow a second circle in the opposite direction. Keep repeating until your entire lawn is mowed.

Want to see a pro mowing stripes? Check out this video of Brian Latimer lawn striping.

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