Let’s be honest … mowing the lawn can become such a monotonous chore. This is especially true if you’re finding that you have to mow more often than usual to maintain an acceptable grass height during a growth spurt. In this article I’ll cover some lawn mowing patterns, techniques, tips, and tricks that will help you take your lawn’s appearance to the next level.
Mowing along the same path each time you mow your lawn is not only boring, but it can be harmful to your lawn for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, mower wheels passing over the same spots every time can create ruts or bald patches in your lawn.
Secondly, when you mow in a certain direction, the grass leans that way (this is what creates patterns). If you continue to mow along the same pattern then the grass will continue to grow in that direction.
Different lawn mowing patterns change up the routine and also provide a more beautiful landscape for photos or even just for your own enjoyment.
Implementing simple lawn mowing patterns and techniques doesn’t require any extra effort that you aren’t already undertaking by mowing the lawn, but may require a little forethought and visual planning right before you begin.
The added benefit to choosing to mow with a particular lawn pattern in mind, is that they can often hide imperfections like weeds and bald spots. It’s the easiest way to improve the over-all appearance of your lawn.
The first rule of mowing is: never pull a running mower towards you like you would with a vacuum cleaner. If you were to fall backwards at the same time or even just pull the mower back a little too close to your toes, you could end up with a mower blade on your foot!
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Playing with Light
The patterns you see in a perfectly mowed lawn are just a manipulation of the way light reflects on a blade of grass.
A blade bent towards you will look darker while a blade bent away from you will look lighter. For this reason, it is best to set the blade height in your mower high so that you are only trimming the tip of the blade of grass. You will achieve more definition with a longer blade of grass. Shorter blades of grass will not bend as well.
A bending attachment on your mower or a lawn roller can provide a true ballpark-worthy lawn pattern, but even without the fancy attachments and tools your mower will end up producing similar results.
Just by pushing your mower over the grass it will cause it to lean in that direction for a period of time; the pattern won’t be as highly defined but it’ll clearly be there.
Believe it or not, the type of grass you are mowing can have a large impact on how well you’ll be able to make a pattern.
Cooler climate grasses tend to be more lush, green, and bendable compared to hot climate grasses that are a bit more rough and stiff due to a lower water content in them.
If pattern definition is important to you, plant grass seeds from a cooler grass breed such as Kentucky Bluegrass.
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My Favorite Lawn Mowing Patterns: Techniques You Can Master Easily
There are so many designs to choose from and most are quite simple to execute.
You may choose a pattern that is easiest to achieve with your lawn mower. A push mower or zero-turn mower won’t have to account for turning space like a riding lawn tractor would.
Turning space on a riding mower is important to consider because otherwise you will have a patch of missed grass that you’ll have to go over again – a big no-no when it comes to creating the perfect lawn pattern.
Before you start on your lawn pattern, it is a good idea to mow the edges of any garden beds or other curved edges first. This will allow you to complete your pattern without having to get into nooks and crannies of the lawn.
Rows are one of the most common mowing patterns. You’ve likely seen these high-contrast rows on meticulously mowed baseball fields.
Mowing rows in your lawn involves going back and forth in straight lines with your mower.
It is important to turn on the outside edge of the yard and realign the mower wheels with the previously mowed line. A handy trick to making sure your lines are even is to align your first pass with a straight edge such as a fence, sidewalk, or garden edge. From there, as long as you are properly lining up your wheels and mowing with care you should have lines that look completely straight.
Where to Start Your Rows
The orientation of rows with respect to any hardscaping that surrounds them can also make a difference. If you commonly line up your first row with the edge of the fence, try starting at a 90 degree angle from the same fence – mow in a straight line away from the fence.
Another option is to mow on a diagonal 45 degree angle from the hardscape surfaces that border your lawn. Start in one corner and mow back and forth on a diagonal instead of starting in the same corner and mowing along the edge.
One lawn mowing pattern technique I prefer when mowing in rows is to line the rows at an angle to the street so that it draws the eye of passers by into my yard and makes my yard appear larger and more inviting.
It’s simple enough to just mow in rows all the time, just make sure you are starting from a different point in the yard every couple of mows.
This will ensure that you are not consistently mowing in the same pattern. It’s good for your grass, and will help keep your rows crisp and well-defined.
A checkerboard pattern is easy to create by starting with a row pattern – straight lines back and forth.
Then, turn at a 90 degree angle to the first series of rows and mow another set of rows perpendicular to the first.
To polish off this look, some folks prefer to mow a line around the entire perimeter at the end. This can help clean up any turns that were less than perfect while maintaining the amazing look of this stunning lawn mowing pattern.
Mowing your yard in a spiral pattern means starting at one point on the outside of the lawn and going around the entire perimeter of the yard in a large square. As you continue, you mow on the inside of the previous square, making smaller and smaller passes until you reach the center of your lawn.
An alternative way to create this spiral pattern is in a double spiral. Start on the outside as before and go around the outside perimeter of the yard in a square spiral. As you continue and create the inner spirals, leave enough space between layers for the width of a mower. When you get to the middle, you’ll create a squared S pattern to turn around and from the inside of the spiral work your way outwards in the space that you left on the way in until you finish on the outside of the spiral.
Perhaps your yard has more curves in it than straight edges due to the way you’ve framed garden beds or walkways. Curving patterns are also possible with a mower and look quite graceful as well.
It’s still an easy trick to follow an outer edge of your yard and work your way inwards sort of like the spiral pattern method above but with rounded edges instead of square. As long as you align your mower wheel with the edge of the previously mowed line then you should have perfect spacing throughout.
Now You’re Cooking with Grass!
Once you start with these simple lawn mowing patterns, techniques and styles, you may quickly find yourself trying different ones each time you mow to see how they look in your yard.
Better yet, you may find that you invent your own custom lawn mowing patterns that are tailored specifically to your property and which draw the eye of neighbors walking by, passing cars, or which look especially good from your favorite deck chair.
Lawn mowing pattern enthusiasts may decide to purchase additional tools like the grass roller tool to better define their patterns.
Planting cool-weather loving grass seeds where possible can also help to create a lush lawn that is more malleable to your designs.
Despite any enthusiasm for mowing patterns, the importance of not scalping your lawn and giving it a true chance to grow between mowings cannot be understated.
Longer grass is not only healthier grass, but it will also add to the contrast of your designs.
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