Let’s face it, mowing the lawn is a tedious job, and most people would prefer to be doing something more interesting.
With most tasks of this nature, the only way to turn a tedious chore into something enjoyable is to turn it into something creative, something that challenges you.
Consider how some people with large hedges, which also require cutting, become creative and shape them into dragons, trains, and a myriad of other designs. They turn a chore into art and something that they look forward to doing.
People achieve notoriety as “The guy with the amazing Hedges.” People admire them, and they become a talking point instead of just being a hedge. Lawns are precisely the same.
By turning the dull task of mowing the lawn into something more creative, something artistic, what was a chore that had to be done, becomes an artistic creation and a challenge.
Grass Striping is the way that a boring lawn can be turned into much more. It does not have to be just vertical or horizontal stripes. It can be spirals and checkerboards. The only limit is imagination.
Mowing patterns on your lawn with a push mower is a way of turning a chore into a creative hobby.
The designs are created by the grass being cut and laying in different directions. When cutting in one direction, it reflects the light differently than it does when cutting in the opposite direction.
By cutting a stripe in one direction and the adjacent stripe in the other direction, we get alternating light and dark lines in the grass.
By mowing in different directions, it is possible to make intricate designs on the lawn.
These can be classic designs based on mathematical principles or unique designs created by the individual.
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How to Stripe Your Lawn
For lawn striping, you will need a push or electric rotary lawnmower that cuts the grass in a single direction. You do not want a heavy lawnmower, as when making complex designs, you may have to lift the mower to face in another direction manually.
Traditionally people used simple push rotary lawnmowers, but some people now use electric rotary lawnmowers. These lawnmowers generally have a small roller on the back that pushes the grass down in the direction that the mower is facing. Lawn striping is all about the direction the grass is laying after it has been cut.
More pronounced stripes are achieved if you do not cut the grass too short so that the roller pushed more grass down in the direction that is being mowed. This is achieved by slightly raising the blade setting.
To create stripes, your desired result is straight alternating lines up and down your lawn. This is achieved by cutting the first strip by following a straight edge parallel to the side of the lawn. To maintain a straight line, you should look at the lawn around ten feet in front of you. Do not look down at the mower.
When you reach the end of the lawn, lift the mower to point in the opposite direction, placing the mower so that the blade is running along the cut area from the previous stripe.
In most cases, the blade does not extend the entire width of the mower, so your when may be running along the line of the previous stripe. Now run the mower in a straight line along this edge until you reach the other end where you began. Repeat the turn and continue.
The most basic design is a stripe.
You may choose to make straight lines or create a curved stripe.
With the straight stripe, you can either choose the method described in the last section where you lift the mower at the end of each row, or you can choose to stop one blades length from the and of the row and raise the mower and point it at a right angle and cut the width of a blade before turning the mower again to face back in the opposite direction to where you began.
This creates one continuous path up and down the lawn. In contrast, the original method is just a series of rows.
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Another style of stripes is the wavy line, and When attempting this design, it is normal to divide the length of the lawn into equal portions and place a mark.
The idea is then on your first row, cut in the shape of an arc so that you start at the edge at the end of the row, and then cut an arc shape so that you get back to the edge by the time you reach the second mark where you curve out to form the second arc and so on until you reach the end of the first row (the far end of the lawn).
Go back to the first arc and cut a partial row following the inside of the arc.
Then cut another partial row inside that one and so on.
Each partial row should be cut in alternating directions.
Then go back to the end of the first complete row and follow the wavy line until the end, as you would with straight lines. It is essential to keep the point where the arc is farthest from the edge in a straight line.
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Now you have completed straight lines and wavy lines successfully, you should now be thinking about more complicated designs. You understand now, how to get the alternating colors in the stripes, and making intricate designs is just an extension of this process.
It is probably more comfortable if you use chalk to mark out any more complex designs before you cut since once you have cut, you cannot correct any errors. With chalk, you can erase the chalk marks.
You should, by now, know the width of your blade, and that width is the basic unit of your design. I know some people who will use squared paper to layout their plans before they ever get out into the garden. They transfer the design onto the lawn using chalk and only then start to cut.
By now, you will have started to get some recognition in your neighborhood as a lawn artist. You may even get some requests from other people to enhance their lawns.
Some Lawn Stripe Designs to Consider:
- Straight lines
- Wavy lines
- Diagonal checkerboards
- Double spirals
- Four Spirals
- Zig Zag grid
- Zig Zag spiral
You will have moved a long way from that guy we met at the beginning of this article who saw mowing the lawn as a chore. Mowing a lawn is now an artistic expression for you.
Looking Deeper at Lawn Striping
Lawn striping is about alternately increasing and reducing the light reflection on the grass.
When you look at the ocean, you are facing the water (obviously), and the sun is in front of you, the light will reflect at an angle that makes the water seem to shimmer. When you face the sea, and the sun is behind you, the water will look dark.
Striped grass is the same concept.
Grass that bent away from you seems lighter than grass that is bent towards you. Take a stroll to the other end of the lawn, and magically, the rows switch from light to dark and dark to light.
Checkerboards are produced by, first of all, doing a standard straight-line design, and then repeating the design from a ninety-degree angle. To improve the design, lower the blade, so it cuts slightly shorter.
Another attractive design is a diagonal checkerboard. The most important thing to note with this one is the ensure your first cut is straight as you have no edge to follow.
The quality of your grass will have a significant effect on the appearance of your designs. Here are some ways of improving your lawn:
- Aerate your lawn
- Water your lawn deeply, keep that water running a long time
- Water your lawns less often
- Cut your grass correctly and to the right length
Check out my full article about the best lawnmowers for mulching.
In this article, I have been talking about smaller lawns that the average house might have. The average sports stadium with amazing grass designs does not use a hand rotary mower. Nor would someone progressing large grass areas in their home.
In these cases, it needs to use Sit on mowers. This is entirely possible, and intricate designs can be created using motor mowers. Turning is slightly different, and designs would need to be modified to take that into account.
Most sit on mowers have a lever, which allows the rider to raise and lower the blades. This would be the critical tool used in creating designs on a larger scale.
Creating lawn designs is a great hobby to have. The beauty of this form of art is that once the grass has grown and the design disappeared, you are given a brand new canvass for your next production.