Skip to main content

Lawn Stripes - how to stripe a lawn

Creating lawn stripes with a cylinder mower

Photo © Andrew Abbott (cc-by-sa/2.0)

It is the goal of many lawn owners to achieve the classic lawn stripes look. You don't need years of experience to achieve this. Read on and we will teach you how to achieve beautiful lawn stripes.

Lawn mowers that stripe

This striped lawn effect although pleasing to the eye is not a sign of the quality of a lawn. In fact, to achieve a neat striped lawn effect is relatively simple if you have chosen the right lawnmower type.

Both rotary lawnmowers and cylinder lawnmowers are capable of producing the striped effect.

Lawn mowers that have a rear roller will produce the best striped effect.

The cylinder that sits behind the blades is key in achieving good lawn mower stripes. The cylinder affects the direction in which the grass sits up.

When neighbouring areas of grass sit up in different directions it results in a striped effect. One of the areas appears darker than its neighbour. The angle of the blades of grass in relation to the sun affects the intensity of:

  • reflection of light off the lawn
  • intensity of the shadows caused by the grass leaves
Lawn stripes surrounded by formal topiary help disguise any imperfections in the lawn.

How to mow lawn stripes

To achieve the striped effect on your lawn you must follow a systematic pattern of mowing.

The mower mows one stripe and then turns at the end of the lawn and travels in the opposite direction to mow the next adjacent stripe.

The lawn mower should only ever be pushed forward when creating lawn mower stripes.

It is the direction of the mowers cutting blades and roller that make the grass sit up in different directions. If you reverse the mower then the grass will lie in the same direction as the adjacent strip. This will cancel out the striped effect.

When mowing, make sure that the current stripe slightly overlaps the previous stripe. This will prevent thin strips of uncut grass being left between the stripes.

If you have a lawn mower with side wheels make sure the side wheels are over the preceding stripe.

Step by step guide to mowing lawn stripes

  1. Work out which direction your stripes are going to go.
  2. Cut along the edge of the lawn at right angles to the way that you want the stripes to be and then back across the lawn making sure to overlap the first stripe. These stripes are not your final lawn stripes, they are simply to ensure that the grass is cut right to the edge of the lawn.
  3. Turn the mower 90 °
  4. Create your first permanent stripe by going down the edge of the lawn in the direction that you want your stripes to go.
  5. Repeat step 1 (now at the other end of the lawn)
  6. You can now create the rest of the lawn stripes and 'fill in' the middle section of the lawn by repeatedly turning the mower 180 °. After this you should have mown the entire area of the lawn and have a neat pattern of lawn mower stripes.

The correct pattern appears in the diagram below.

Mowing pattern to create lawn stripes

Benefits of lawn stripes

Lawn stripes can hide imperfections in a lawn such as slight differences in color across the lawn. This is because they visually break up the lawn surface with narrow bands of different appearance.

Any gradual changes that occur across a wide area are then not so noticeable.