How to Manicure Your Lawn Like a Professional
Posted on:Mar 26, 2019
Alright folks, it’s spring time, which means it’s time to start planning your takeover of the “Most Impressive Yard In the Neighborhood” title. While landscaping obviously plays a key role in this ambition, your biggest wow factor comes from expertly striping your lawn. It’s also the one thing that you can definitively hang your hat on as the result of your handiwork and skill.
So, let’s start with the basics.
How does lawn striping work? Lawn striping is done by bending grass and using light and shadows to create alternating light-dark stripes in the lawn. As you mow, you bend the grass in the direction of your movement. Sections bent away from you reflect light and appear as lighter green stripes. Sections bent toward you reveal shadows under the blades and appear as darker green stripes.
Now, it should be noted that some grass types are better for striping than others. For instance, grasses maintained at a taller height, like fescue and bluegrass, tend to have a more dramatic look than shorter grasses like Bermuda and St. Augustine. The latter are also more rigid, making it more difficult to bend.
There’s the science behind the look. So, let’s talk technique.
First off, striping is best achieved with a zero-turn mower. The maneuverability of a zero-turn gives you a distinct advantage moving around obstacles and leaving more crisp and clean lines. Plus, they save a lot on time.
For back-and-forth stripes, begin by mowing a perimeter (two mower widths should be enough) to allow room for turning at the end of each pass. Choose a path, either along a driveway or sidewalk, and mow along it for your first pass, then turn around and mow your second pass following the cutting line of your first pass. Overlap a few inches on each pass so you don't leave any uncut strips. It’s important to pick a stationary object in the distance and fix your eyes on it as you mow. This will help you keep the stripes straight across the lawn.
Looking to get a bit fancier? For more complex stripe patterns, you can alternate your passes every time you mow to create criss-cross or diamond shapes, or mow around a mulch bed or other curving landscape feature to create more intricate lines.
Here’s one final pro tip: Switch it up. Switch the mowing pattern regularly to prevent the grass from "learning" to grow a certain way. Repeating the same pattern over time is hard on the plant and makes changing the pattern harder in the future.
Lawn striping is a standard feature on a Grasshopper zero-turn mower. All Grasshopper DuraMax® mowing decks are equipped with a heavy-duty rear deck flap that bends the grass after it's cut, creating the effect without the need for an additional, costly striping kit.