Making your lawn look better than your neighbors is always a good feeling and doing it yourself is even better. First there are a few basics to know: Never cut off more than ⅓ of the grass blade at a time, anymore and you can shock and stress the grass plant potentially harming it. Next: Don’t cut when it is too wet or too dry, also harmful. Last: It is better for your lawn’s health if you mulch your clippings instead of bagging and removing, this does not add to thatch because the blades are 70% water and this adds beneficial nutrients back to your lawn and can even add up to a whole fertilizer application.
Lawn striping is the best way to make your lawn beautiful. To do that you will need to learn why you see different colored stripes. When a grass blade is bent in a certain direction the light of the sun causes it to look either light colored or dark colored depending on which way the grass blade is bent and where you are seeing it from. Where the grass is light colored it is bent away from you and where it is dark it is bent towards you. This can come in handy if you want to walk the stripes with your blower, blowing away leftover grass clippings.
Before you start mowing you will want to envision where the best angle to view the completed stripes will be, either the street or an intersection. You will also want to think about cross striping in a different direction than the original stripes. A diamond pattern can be done with three different directional cuts. Switching your mowing pattern weekly is a good practice to implement and should be done to help avoid ruts in your lawn and compaction of soil.
Start mowing by doing a pass around the border of the lawn. Then either by using a straight edge from a sidewalk or edge border make your first pass then when you get to the end lineup to come straight back mowing slightly overlapping your first pass. The less you overlap the better the stripes will look, just don’t miss any grass. Repeat that process until you mow the entire lawn. Then you will mow around the border again to cleanup your turn marks. Simple!?
It does take practice to perfect this process, but doesn’t take that long to master. There are some other things that can help. If you have a push mower then it won’t look as nice, the bigger the deck the better the stripe effect. If you don’t have a straight edge to start your first cut then start in the middle and pick out something in the distance to keep you straight. Going around obstacles is where most people get thrown off, but if you have a tree in the middle of your line you can either do a circle around it and continue your stripe or you can do half one stripe and half the other, that will be personal preference. Also if you mess up and get a little wavy on a stripe you can redo the pass to get it to your liking.
There are aftermarket attachments that you can add to your mower that can make your stripes pop. Lawn striping kits are basically small rollers that bend the grass the way you are mowing to accentuate the striping and attach to the back of you mower. Another secret to help you is to add an iron supplement which makes the grass a deeper green and is what some professional ballparks do. I do recommend that if you use iron you follow the directions on the bag or you could have problems! Any lawn can be striped big or small, have fun with your own patterns.