Text by Astleigh Hill
Mowing season is almost here, and there’s nothing quite so lovely as the fresh scent of cut grass to ring in spring and summer. Yards transform from sullen browns to vibrant shades of green when the grass perks up after winter weather. And before you know it, the need to trim the grass is a weekly activity that will run well into the fall.
When seeking some desirable curbside appeal, use the yard as a way to give your property extra charm with decorative lawn mowing. By cutting a pattern into the grass and relying on the reflection of sunlight off blades of grass, a new dimension can be incorporated into your lawn care routine that not only helps the grass grow healthier, but also provides an aesthetic bonus.
There are many ways to infuse that extra design element into a freshly cut lawn, starting with the most common patterns: stripes, diagonal lines and checkerboard. The easiest of these is stripes, which is done by cutting the grass long with one of the highest settings, thereby bending the rows of grass in opposite directions (think north to south). Start by mowing the perimeter of the grass, then mow down your lawn in opposite directions.
A checkerboard pattern is more intricate and most effective on long, flat lawns. To create this look, one starts by mowing stripes, then mowing again at a 90-degree angle. Or rather, mowing north to south, then east to west. Similarly, to create a diagonal look, mow horizontal or vertical stripes, then mow back over the lawn with a diagonal direction.
Not all mowers are created equal when it comes to making stripes. “Some mowers come with lawn rollers, but most do not,” says Phillip Vaught of Giles County. “Push mowers have a plastic flap on the back of the mower for safety, but it helps with stripes.” There are special striping kits on the market for some riding mowers, and universal kits are available for around $250. Most higher end riding mowers have this feature, but less expensive ones may not. “I made my own striping kit for $30 out of a piece of angle iron and a rubber door mat bolted to the back of the mower,” Vaught continues. “It worked well, but only lasted one season.”
When it comes to deciding which type of decorative mowing pattern, Brent Jacobs of Curb Appeal Landscaping & Tree Service in Christiansburg says: “We determine the pattern by surveying the lay of the land and assessing the view of the lawn from the main road when passing by. To prevent turf damage, we alternate directions weekly or biweekly, which keeps the mowers from continually pushing the grass down in the same direction.”
Incorporating a mowing technique into your landscape is a creative way to manicure your yard, achieve a unique look on the lawn and add to the overall appeal of a property. “It usually takes mowing two to three times before deep lines are formed,” Jacobs points out.
Besides the aesthetics of a beautifully cut lawn pattern, there are several benefits to mowing patterns. Attention can be detracted from imperfect patches. Certain areas of your property can be highlighted, and better fertilization of the grass can be achieved. While adding a decorative grass pattern may initially seem intimidating, with a little practice or help from the landscaping professionals, the look can be accomplished, and the reward is well worth it. So while the last days of winter are dwindling down, begin planning ahead for the kind of lawn striping you would like to see in your yard this summer.
Astleigh Hill is a freelance writer and blogger mom in Christiansburg. Check out darlingdo.com for home and lifestyle tips.