If you want to make your lawn as perfect as you possibly can then there are some basic lawn mowing techniques that you should be aware of that will make it a whole lot easier to achieve the lawn you dream of.
In this article, I will cover some of the most basic techniques for lawn perfection and I will also cover some advanced techniques that could make your lawn the envy of your neighborhood if that’s what you are aiming to achieve.
Some of the techniques I will tell you about are what I would call common sense but when I was starting out getting into lawn perfection I probably was not aware of how important some of these basic techniques can be.
Some of the areas I will cover in this article are:
- Basic mowing techniques
- Techniques to mow safely
- Techniques for optimum grass health
- Advanced mowing techniques
Read on and I am sure you will find some information that is useful, you may know some of it already but I am sure that hidden somewhere within this article there will be a snippet of information you can use to improve your lawn mowing technique and achieve an even healthier lush green and beautiful lawn.
Basic mowing techniques
Everyone with a lawn has to either hire a lawn maintenance person or mow their lawn by themselves.
If you want your lawn to be healthy and vibrant you have to use the correct basic lawn mowing techniques and when you do your lawn will grow nice and healthy.
You should also know about some basic safety rules you should follow because a lawnmower has sharp blades and some have electricity cables so you really don’t want to have an accident.
This section should give you some guidance on how to safely mow your lawn and the basic lawn mowing techniques I use to keep my lawn growing nice and healthy.
The safe Direction to push your mower
When you are mowing your lawn there is a direction you should always push your mower and for very good and sensible reasons.
You should always mow your lawn by pushing the lawnmower in a forward direction.
The direction you mow your lawn makes no difference to the health of your grass but it could affect your health if you make a mistake.
Don’t be someone that pushes a mower back and forwards because if you pull your mower backward what will become possible to mow?
If you pull your mower backward you may cause injury to yourself. If you have a cabled mower and you pull it backward there is a chance you will cut your cable in the mower and this means there is a very real risk of electrocution and you definitely want to avoid that!
So to summarise the obvious reasons you should only push your lawnmower forwards:
- You won’t cut your cable and electrocute yourself
- You won’t mow your toes or feet off
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Never mow the same direction in consecutive mows
This is an old theory but I believe it is still valid but for different reasons to when it was first proposed.
When the theory first came about everyone was using cylinder mowers with a roller attached to the back of it in order to get a perfectly striped lawn. Under this circumstance you would be advised to mow in different directions otherwise you will make ruts appear on your lawn and it will look uneven and ugly.
These days I still think it is good practice to mow your lawn in different directions every time you cut it.
This is because if you miss an area or patch by mowing in a certain direction the long term solution to an evenly cut lawn with no missed patches is to mow in different directions every time you mow.
Mow the perimeter of your lawn first
The perimeter cut refers to mowing along the edges of your lawn and it will often be along a path, driveway, or fence.
I normally cut around the perimeter of my lawn before I mow the rest of it because the perimeter cut takes a little bit more attention to detail.
I tend to mow the perimeter in a clockwise direction as this will result in the grass clippings getting thrown towards the middle of my lawn and not all over my path which means I don’t have to brush my path afterward.
When you use this tactic it means you don’t have to worry about mowing right to the edge of your lawn when you mow back and forth which just makes things a whole lot simpler, if you ask me.
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Overlap your mowing rows
When you mow your lawn it is always a good idea to slightly overlap your cuts as it can save you time in the long run.
If you try and mow exactly along the lines without overlapping then there is a good chance you will miss a big strip of grass in between the rows.
If you have big strips of uncut grass running right along your lawn this is not a good look and if you have to mow areas of your lawn twice then it could actually take you twice as long to finish mowing your lawn.
This happens because most mowers don’t actually cut right up to the edge of the mower and there will likely be a gap of 1-3 inches between the end of the blade and the edge of your mower so to save yourself some time and energy you should overlap your mowing rows.
How much grass to cut off
Many people when it comes to mowing their lawn will cut it as short as possible so they can mow it less often. Scalping your lawn and mowing it as short as possible is a terrible idea for lawn health and if you use this method you will more than likely end up with an unhealthy and yellow lawn.
The most important lawn care tip is that you should never cut more than ⅓ off the length of your grass.
You can definitely cut less than ⅓ off but never more if you want a healthy lawn. When you cut your lawn the grass will become stressed so the less length you cut off the less stressed it will become and less stress should result in your grass growing stronger and greener.
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Best Mowing height?
Lots of people think that you just set your mower height and mow away at the exact same height every time you cut your grass, this is a terrible lawn mowing technique and will not do your lawn any good.
For optimum lawn health, you have to cut your grass to different heights depending on what season it is and what variety of grass you have growing in your yard.
For Cool-season grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass, Creeping Bentgrass, and Annual Ryegrass these grasses are more common in the north.
The cool-season grass cutting height I would recommend for the different seasons:
- Spring Mowing Height – 3 inches
- Summer Mowing Height – 3 to 4 inches
- Fall Mowing Height – 2.5 inches
If you live in the south where warm-season grasses such as Bermuda Grass, Centipede Grass, Zoysia Grass are more common then there is a different cutting height for the different seasons.
The recommended cutting height for warm-season grasses are as follows:
- Spring Mowing Height – ½ an inch up to 1.5 inches
- Summer Mowing Height – 2 to 2.5 inches
- Fall Mowing Height – 1.5 to 2 inches
If you follow these basic guidelines your lawn should grow strong and healthy and that is the aim for people who want a beautiful lush green lawn.
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What Speed Should You Mow?
When you are mowing your lawn you should not rush it.
This is especially true if you have a self-propelled mower you shouldn’t set it on the fastest setting and attempt to mow your lawn at 100 mph.
When you are mowing you want to be accurate so you don’t have to mow the same area over and over to fix the areas you have missed by rushing. Also, lawnmowers are powerful machines with sharp blades so you should be slow, steady, and accurate when you mow your lawn instead of rushing it.
Mow Around Obstacles
If you have any obstacles such as trees, bushes, kids climbing frames, stone paths, I like to treat them like a perimeter cut.
I always mow around the obstacles on my lawn after the perimeter cut so that I can get those areas cut nice and tidy so I don’t have to worry about it later on.
There is no real benefit to doing this my way apart from just getting all the pernickety parts of my lawn out the way at the beginning so I can then concentrate on mowing my lawn in whatever fancy pattern I am trying to achieve.
How to Mow Slopes In Your Yard
If you have a slope on your lawn, depending on how steep it is, it can be quite dangerous to mow.
It is possible to mow a steep slope safely with a lawnmower if you use the lawn mowing technique I am about to tell you about.
When you are mowing a slope on your lawn it’s important you always mow it sideways.
Never mow in an up and down action on a slope on your lawn as there is a chance you could lose control of your mower and have an absolutely disastrous accident.
Lawnmowers are powerful machines and there are a number of people who suffer amputations every year from lawn mowing accidents so be careful and do not be that person!!!
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Advanced mowing techniques
So in the above sections, i have told you techniques on how to safely mow your lawn and encourage it to grow healthy and now it’s time for some more advanced techniques.
These next lawn mowing techniques are how you will transform your lawn from being a nice and healthy lawn and into a masterpiece that is the envy of your neighborhood.
It really is not that difficult once you know what to do to achieve this look for your lawn.
Read on and I will tell you all about mowing patterns into your lawn and how it will not only make your lawn look beautiful but will make it grow even more healthy and lush.
To achieve stripes on your lawn it is best if you have a mower with a roller or a striping attachment. It is possible to get this look with a standard mower but if you invest in some basic equipment like a striping attachment for your mower then it does make things a lot easier.
Light effects on grass mowing patterns
When you see lawns that have beautiful patterns mowed into them it is not some secret advanced technique that is making this happen it is simply light shining on the grass.
When you create mowing patterns on your lawn, let us just say stripes as they are the easiest pattern to mow, these patterns are created by the grass reflecting light and when the grass is at different angles it creates different shades.
As you mow stripes on your lawn when you mow up the way it will cause the grass to bend over in that direction then when you mow down it will cause those grass blades to bend in that direction. So it depends which way the blades have been bent on whether it looks lighter or darker and it depends where you stand to look at it.
- Grass blades bent towards you will look darker
- Grass blades bent away from you will look lighter.
So there is no magic trick to make patterns on your lawn and it all comes down to how the light reflects off of your blades of grass.
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Benefits of mowing patterns
Mowing patterns into your lawn will not only make your lawn look beautiful and like a work of art that your neighborhood will be jealous of but it does actually have health benefits for your lawn.
When you start mowing patterns into your lawn it will help avoid ruts that can appear and compaction when you consistently mow your lawn up and down in the same direction for years and years.
When you change the direction you mow patterns it will encourage your grass to grow healthy because when you bend your grass over it will allow light to reach a different side of the grass every time you mow which will help your grass to grow healthy.
Mowing stripes into your lawn is the most basic pattern you can achieve on your grass yard and this probably makes it a good place to start.
The trick to making stripes is that you simply mow your grass a bit taller and this makes it easier to encourage the grass to bend over.
If you have a lawn striping mower or roller attachment that makes things a bit easier but it is completely possible to mow stripes without any special equipment.
So to achieve stripes just mow up and down your lawn and make your cutting height a bit taller than normal. How effectively you mow stripes on your lawn also depends on what variety of grass you have as some grasses stripe easier than others.
Check out my full article on mowing patterns with a push mower.
To mow a checkerboard pattern onto your lawn is the next step up from a basic stripe pattern.
Simply mow stripes onto your lawn then follow the exact same process across the way as well.
A slight alternative to a checkerboard is a diamond pattern, to achieve this look simply mow stripes then instead of mowing straight across sideways you should mow diagonally across your lawn.
To achieve a checkerboard look on your lawn will take twice as long as you do effectively have to mow your lawn twice to achieve the look.
However, twice the time is a small cost to achieve a lawn that makes your neighbors jealous.
You may think making spiral patterns on your lawn would be a difficult thing to successfully achieve but it really is not that difficult. I’d say that making a spiral pattern on your lawn is possibly even easier than the basic stripes design.
This works best on a square or rectangle lawn. What you do is start at an outside corner and mow along the outside right the way around your lawn.
When you reach the end don’t go over the area you have already mowed and go round again in the same direction which should result in your route getting smaller and smaller every time you go around until you finish and you are in the center of your lawn with a nice spiral pattern all the way around you.
If you want a pattern of curvy or wavy lines on your lawn it is pretty simple to achieve.
All I do to achieve this look is to mow around the perimeter like I always do and then go back and forth across my lawn similar to a standard stripe pattern except I follow wavy lines or whatever pattern I aim to achieve.
If you have any obstacles on your lawn you could use this pattern and include the objects by going around a tree for example in a wavy pattern.
That is all the lawn mowing techniques I use on my own lawn to make it look beautiful in the hope I make my neighbors envious of how great it looks. If you put a little bit more effort into your lawn it is amazing how fantastic you can make it look.