How to create perfect lawn stripes and patterns

Striping a lawn can create a dramatic effect and elevate your lawn to a new level. Often associated with sports grounds – it is not difficult to achieve on any lawn. The alternating mowing patterns that create it not only add to the aesthetic but are good for the grass.

bicycle on stripey lawn

The are many benefits of lawn striping:

1. It creates a professional lawn effect.

2. Stripes can help hide colour imperfections such as weeds and bare patches as the stripes give a gradual change in colour.

3. Striping can be used to highlight or accentuate features of the garden or property, such as a fountain or seating area.

4. The stripes can make it easier to carry out other garden tasks as there are clear lines to follow.

  

1. How to create a striped lawn:

a. Firstly, mow around the edges.

b. Mow the first strip from the left parallel to the edge of the lawn. Follow the edge of the lawn to ensure a straight line.

c. Once a strip is completed turn the mower 180° using a ‘Y’ motion to prevent scalping

d. Return back down the lawn alongside the previous run.

e. Make sure that the mower overlaps the previous strip a little as this will prevent leaving uncut strips across the lawn.

f. Repeat until your striped lawn is completed.

 diagram of how to mow stripes into a lawn

2. How to create a checkerboard lawn:

a. A slightly more complex design can be achieved with a similar simple routine. Complete steps 1a - 1f as previously.

b. Once the lawn is completed from ‘north to south’, position the mower at the top corner and begin mowing ‘east to west’.

c. When you reach the top of the strip, turn the mower 180° using a ‘Y’ motion to prevent scalping

d. Return back down the lawn alongside the previous run.

e. Make sure that the mower overlaps the previous strip a little as this will prevent leaving uncut strips.. Repeat until the lawn is completed in one direction.

f. Going around the perimeter again will maintain a tidy border.

 how to make a chequered pattern in a lawn

3. How to create a diamond or criss-coss pattern:

a. The diamond, or criss-cross, pattern is the same as the checkerboard pattern but diagonal and like the others requires a mow around the edges to start.

b. Work from the left, mowing the first strip in one direction diagonally to the edge of the lawn.

c. When you reach the top of the strip, turn the mower 180° using a ‘Y’ motion to prevent scalping

d. Return back down the lawn alongside the previous run.

e. Make sure that the mower overlaps the previous strip a little as this will prevent leaving uncut strips across the lawn. Repeat until the lawn is completed in one direction.

f. Once the lawn is completed from ‘North West to South East’, position the mower at the top corner and begin mowing ‘North East to South West’.

g. When you reach the top of the strip, once again turn the mower 180° using a ‘Y’ motion.

h. Return back down the lawn alongside the previous run. Repeat until the lawn is completed.

i. Going around the perimeter again will ensure a neat and tidy border.

 how to mow diamonds into a lawn

4. How to mow around an obstacle

a. Stripes may be all well and good in an empty square of grass, but what about the tree or flower bed in the middle of the lawn? To begin please follow steps 1a-1e.

b. When you reach the obstacle, mow around it so the mowed strip has a ‘bulge’.

c. Then continue to the end of the lawn and complete the ‘Y’ motion turn

d. When you reach the bulge, mow straight over it to continue the pattern. The grass will flatten in the opposite direction and the stripes will appear as though you have mowed through the obstacle. Continue until the lawn is completed.

Alternatively you can cut around an obstacle to create interesting shapes and accentuate them.

Where to learn more about the art of mowing the lawn

If you want to learn more about mowing heights, mowing frequency, mowing technique, edging and trimming, look no further than David Hedges-Gower's no-nonsense lawncare book "Modern Lawn Care".  

David explains all of the technicalities of mowing - whether you are aiming for stripes, patterns or a carpet of green.  You'll also be able to learn about feeding, scarifying, aerating and all those other simple activities that will help keep your lawn healthy.

Read more about "Modern Lawn Care"