How to Stripe Your Lawn

How to Stripe Your Lawn

31st Mar 2021 Mowing

Striped and patterned lawns can be truly impressive. With a bit of care and the right lawn mower, they are easier to obtain than you might think. In this blog we go over the preparation, tools, and methods you need to know about to obtain the perfect look.

How is the striping effect created?

The striping effect is created by pushing the grass in opposite directions in order to influence the way in which sunlight reflects on the blades.  The blades that are bent away from the sun will reflect the light creating bright stripes, while the blades that are bent towards the light will create shadows, making the stripes appear darker.

How to get stripes in your lawn?

To get stripes in your lawn, you’ll need to mow your lawn in different directions with a lawn mower that has a roller. As the lawn is mown, the roller angles the grass blades in opposite directions creating the 2 different lighting effects when you look at the lawn. The lighter stripe is always the direction pointing away from you and the darker stripe pointing towards you.

But before you can start mowing, you must ensure that your lawn is in good, healthy condition, at the right length, and that you have the necessary tools. We’ll go into more detail about preparation, tools, and the correct method below.

Preparation

Through the Year

If you think striped lawns look lush and healthy, it’s because they probably are! Stripes will show and look best on a strong, dense, and healthy lawn. So make sure to take care of your lawn all year round. 

Remove moss and weeds, water regularly, and encourage growth with a comprehensive feeding program, like the So & Mo Performance Liquid Lawn Feed. You’ll also want to regularly aerate and scarify your lawn, to ensure that it has the right soil conditions for growth. You can learn more about each of these processes on our blog

Before you Stripe

Make sure the lawn is long enough

For the optimal effect, make sure that your lawn has a good length before you stripe. The shorter the blades, the harder it will be to bend the grass in the desired direction.

Remove debris and obstacles

Make sure to free your lawn of any bits and bobs like twigs ,rock, and toys, that might spoil the look and even damage your mower.

Make sure that the lawn is dry

Mowing your grass when wet is likely to result in an uneven and damaged lawn. When the grass is dry, the blades stand taller, making it easier to mow evenly. Additionally, wet blades are more likely to tear than cut cleanly, opening the door for fungus to settle in.

Make a Plan

How you stripe depends on the shape of your garden and the effects you want to obtain. Diagonal stripes can make your garden appear bigger, while more irregular spaces may benefit from wavy lines that follow the contour of the space. Once you’ve got the technique down, the possibilities are endless.

Necessary Tools

A lawn mower is an essential tool for good lawn maintenance. To obtain the perfect striped effect, you will need a lawn mower with at least 1 roller. These are usually petrol powered machines and can either be rotary or cylinder. 

Cylinder mowers work best when it comes to creating a sharp stripe effect, as they cut the grass in a scissor-like motion. It's much harder to get a stripe with a wheeled rotary mower but not impossible. However, the resulting stripe will be less defined and not quite as sharp. 

Can you stripe a lawn with a riding mower?

The type of mower you own is irrelevant, as long as the machine is equipped with a roller. As most domestic ride-on mowers are rotary, they are not equipped with a roller. Ride-on cylinder mowers are available in the sporting market, and are often used on golf courses.  

Can you stripe a lawn without a roller?

Unfortunately, a mower without a roller will not be able to create stripes. However, striping kits are available in the market. They are weighted bars that attach to the back of your mower, to perform the same task as a roller. Their results, however, are slightly less apparent, as they do not have the weight to flatten the grass to the same extent as a roller.

Can you stripe a lawn without a striping kit?

If you do not have a roller mower, or striping kit available, you may still be able to create stripes with a hand pushed garden roller. These are a common tool, useful for levelling and seeding your lawn.

Method

To start, make sure to set your mower to the right height. Cutting your lawn too short will make your stripes lose definition. The ideal length is anywhere between 3 and 4 centimetres, and grass should never be trimmed by more than one third of its length.

If the lawn is a square or rectangular shape, start at the edge, using it as a guide to create a straight line, mow up and down and slightly overlap at each turn.

Unusual shapes and circular lawns are a little trickier. Start at the widest point, once you have made the first stripe, follow this line for the rest of the lawn.  A good tip is to look ahead rather than straight down, to ensure that you keep a straight line.

Once you’ve covered the entire surface of your garden, mow around the edge and complete the look by trimming the hedges and any difficult areas that could not be reached by the mower. 

How long do law stripes last?

How long the stripes last will depend on the type of grass and the use that you give your lawn. Longer, more flexible grasses will  be easier to lay flat, while shorter more rigid types of grasses are more likely to spring back and lose their stripe definition. 

Striping can be done as often as you mow your lawn. In the warmer months, when grass grows faster, you may want to mow your lawn up to a few times a week. In the colder months, it’s likely that you can go as long as five weeks between mowing sessions, as the grass grows slower. Learn more about correct mowing techniques on our blog.

To avoid creating irregularities and ruts in your lawn, you should vary the direction of stripes often. In the summer months, when mowing is more frequent, you’ll want to change the alignment of the stripes every session. For example, if your stripes were laid north to south, you should mow east to west next time. 

Is lawn striping bad for grass?

Simply put, not at all. It is just leaning the grasses in different directions, and there is no stress or damage in doing this to your lawn. In fact, lawn striping may be beneficial for your lawn, as changing the direction of the blades often, allows for sun to reach all the blades more consistently than if you were to mow in the same direction uniformly and repeatedly.

Ready to start striping your lawn?

As you can see, getting those lush stripes on your lawn is no big deal. But you do need to ensure proper care before you can begin dreaming about stripes. If you would like to learn more about lawn care, we recommend checking out our blog and YouTube Channel, where you can find lots of short informative videos on different lawn care subjects. And if you’re looking for the right plan to care for your lawn, our 12 month liquid lawn feed plan works with your lawn year round to ensure performance.

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