Who hasn’t watched sports on TV and found themselves envious of the perfect two-tone striping of the grass at the stadium or golf course?
Learning how to stripe your lawn and produce the same eye-catching effect is easier than you may think. The secret behind the dark and light stripes is all in the cut. And getting the grass to bend in opposite directions.
There are various methods to stripe a lawn. The easiest is a lawn striping kit. But you can skip this and use a mower roller instead if you have a tow-behind or a push lawnmower.
These are sometimes known as yard rollers. A tow-behind, meanwhile, can be fitted to a ride-on lawn-mower, garden or lawn tractor.
How to stripe a lawn: 101
Not all grass is equal when it comes to producing a beautifully striped lawn, unfortunately.
Generally speaking, cool-season grasses such as bluegrass, fescue, or rye are the best for a stripey lawn.
Zoysia or Bermuda, typical warm-season grasses, aren’t so good at producing stripes as they don’t bend as much. The stripes will be subtle and less prominent.
Once you start striping your lawn, it won’t only look nicer; the grass will be healthier as a result. This health boost is because mowing in one direction tends to cause rutting and uneven growth.
Grass that’s taller in one part of the lawn will overshadow that in any dips hindering growth. By contrast, striping a lawn gets the grass the same height, ensuring every blade of grass gets sufficient sun throughout the growing season.
Another top tip is always to ensure your mower blade is sharp. A dull mower blade will never cut neatly and tears rather than cuts. A sharp cutting edge will also help bend the grass much better.
And never mow or use a lawn striping kit after rain. Wet grass will only end up looking matted after being subjected to mower wheels or yard rollers.
Ideally, it would help if you aim to keep your grass around no taller than 2.5 to four inches. For maximum striping, always mow on a taller blade setting. Longer grass will bend better than shorter grass.
A higher mowing setting is crucial to lawn striping. Even as little as half an inch can make a dramatic contrast difference.
As a rule of thumb, please don’t cut your grass by any more than a third of its height. Grass that’s too short is susceptible to weeds and unhealthy as well as being challenging to stripe.
After striping your lawn for a few weeks, be sure to change your mowing pattern. It’s not a good idea to have the grass bending in one direction all the time. Shake things up a little by changing your north-south cut to east-west. Or get creative and try out diagonal stripes for a bit of variety.
How to mow a straight stripes lawn
As ever, check your lawn for hazards such as forgotten garden tools or discarded kids’ toys, etc., before you start to mow.
If you have a new lawnmower or ride-on tractor, always read over the manual’s mowing instructions first.
For regular straight line lawn striping, find a straight edge, like a path or driveway, to use as a guide. Begin mowing parallel to your straight edge to form the first stripe. At the end of that run, make a tight 180-degree turn. Or raise the mower deck depending on what you are using.
Once you are about-face, continue the next stripe back the way you came. If you leave a series of noticeable turn marks, you can fix that later by mowing a final edging stripe.
How to make a checkerboard striping pattern in your lawn
For that classic checkerboard or cross pattern look, follow the instructions above for straight stripes lawn mowing.
Then lift your mower’s deck and get in position to mow stripes at right angles. When you have completed this second set of stripes, you can again hide turn marks with a further perimeter stripe to frame your handiwork.
How to get circular stripes on your lawn
Once you have mastered straight stripes, up your lawn striping game with circles.
Start by mowing twice around the perimeter. Next, switch off your mower and move it to the dead center of the area you wish to start the first circle.
Startup your mower once more and cut the tightest circle you can. Mow the second circle in the opposite direction. Overlap slightly every alternating circle.
When you’re done circling, finish off with a final strip around the perimeter.
If you’re disappointed with the outcome, you can mow back over it or take a rest and let it grow back.
Getting your lawn design perfect takes time and practice, so don’t beat yourself up too much over your first attempt. Persevere, and you will soon have a professional-looking lawn.
Check out online some of the most attractive mowing designs of ballparks and sports stadiums in the country.
How to stripe your lawn around obstacles
If there are immovable objects in your path – trees, flowerbeds, etc. – mow around them as usual.
On the way back on the next stripe, just mow any unsightly turn marks to keep your stripes appearing even.
How to make diagonal lawn stripes
To get the iconic diamond pattern on your lawn, again start with a perimeter stripe.
Then mow a set of straight stripes in opposite directions. Next, mow a different set of stripes diagonally. Again, change the direction of travel after each stripe.
Finish up with another pass around the edge of your lawn.
The benefits of lawn striping
Lawn striping can help to showcase a specimen tree, for example. Or help to make a water feature or gazebo more of a focal point.
Striping will also help maintain your lawn health, and you will almost certainly receive a few neighborly compliments about your grass.
Another overlooked benefit is that you can use the stripes as guidelines when applying fertilizer or putting down fresh grass seed.