There’s something extra special about a lawn with stripes. A stripy lawn somehow makes a property look more loved, more special, more valuable even. But stripes in your lawn have an extra benefit too, they can trick they eye and make your garden look bigger. Find out more in this blogpost.
Why mow stripes into your lawn?
In my opinion stripes put the finishing touch to a lawn. They give it that special something. And it’s not just the lawn that looks fabulous, it’s the whole garden and indeed the entire property. There’s something about a stripy lawn that says “I look after my home and garden”
But here’s a secret that garden designers and greenkeepers tend to keep to themselves. Stripes in your lawn can be used to give the impression that your garden has better proportions than it really does. For example, if your lawn stripes run from side to side – the whole garden looks wider. If they run from top to bottom, the plot looks longer and narrower. Diagonal stripes change the proportions in a different way and circular stripes – well, they’re just good fun.
Here’s another tip from the USA. Greenkeepers managing American Football fields will sometimes mow patterns into the pitch so that it’s less obvious where the grass is a little worn. It’s a temporary measure, but it does the trick.
How to get stripes in your lawn
Stripes are formed when lawn grasses are pushed in opposite directions. When I was a boy, corduroy was THE fabric to wear. Corduroy has what is called a “nap” – apparently velvet has too. What that means is that the fibres all lay in the same direction. If you run your hand over the fabric so that the fibres lay the other way – that part of the fabric appears to be a slightly different colour. You get stripes. Stripes on a lawn are formed in exactly the same way. Only instead of fabric and your hand, you are working with grass and a mower.
First: Make sure your lawn is in the best condition it can be
If your lawn is sickly or bald, you won’t be able to coax those grass blades into beautiful stripes. Healthy grass blades, depending on the species, have a shiny surface on top and a matt surface beneath. The healthier they are, the bigger the contrast and the clearer the stripes will be.
If you want stripes, make sure your lawn is well fed and is regularly aerated and scarified. For superb results, I thoroughly recommend applying a seaweed foliar feed 2-3 times a year, just to give it a boost. A reasonably even colour is vital. So make sure that any feed is applied accurately otherwise you’ll see patches of differently coloured grass. You might want to discourage your dog from toileting on the lawn too – that can change the colour distribution somewhat.
Check that your lawn is level – little holes or hummocks will become obvious when you start laying down stripes in your lawn.
Finally, your lawnmower needs to have a grass collecting box and a roller. Cylinder mowers are by far the best at making stripes but you can also buy rotary mowers with roller attachments.
Setting out stripes
This is the bit where you find out if you can actually walk (or drive) in a straight line. Decide which way your lawn stripes are going to lie and then look for a straight edge that you can use as a guide.
A path or a patio are enormously helpful. If your lawn is circular, work out where the widest part of the circle is, fix your gaze at a spot directly opposite where you are, and keep looking at it as you make the first stripe right across the middle of the lawn.
From now on, every pass of the mower will make a stripe. Once the tips of the blades have been sliced off and thrown into the grass box, the roller will push the grass down to create that nap we talked about. When you go left to right, it will be one colour, when you go right to left, it will be the other colour. Just make sure you alternate your lefts and rights to get the stripes.
Use your first stripe as a guide. It takes a lot of practice to get the width of the stripes nice and even. You might need a few goes until you’re really happy with your work. Alternatively, give me a call and I’ll do it for you. It’s probably more cost effective to have a lawn care professional visit once every 10 days or so than it is to invest in the proper equipment. All of my regular customers are offered a free weed and feed treatment as a thankyou for their business.
Be proud of your lawn
I love my job. I really do. And there’s almost nothing that beats the feeling when I put the mower back in the van, sweep the path and then stand back to look at the lawn I’ve just finished. It’s taken me years to perfect the technique for mowing stripes into a lawn and I love doing it just as much now as I did at the beginning of my career. I also love the look on my client’s faces when they see their lawn.
I take pride in my work so that you can be proud of your lawn. If you’d like help achieving the stripes in your lawn that you’ve always dreamed of please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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