The light reflecting off the grass blades creates wonderful striping to add a stunning effect to your lawn. The blades bent towards you will seem dark; whereas those bent the opposite way appear much lighter. Although you can get some of the same effect with regular mowing, you need to mow with a particular technique for creating striping patterns.
You will require a striping kit for your roller or mower, for bending the blades. There are plenty of kits online that create the desired effect and come with easy to follow instructions.
How to Stripe Your Lawn
Mowing your lawn the right way is the first step to create a fine-looking lawn. Even if you think you are handy with a mower, it pays off to brush up on your skills. Set the mower’s blade to the appropriate height for your specific kind of grass. In case you are unsure, set your blades correctly so you don’t cut off more than 1/3 of the grass blades’ height. If your grass is too short, your lawn will be more vulnerable to sun-damage and crabgrass. It is crucial to cut the grass at the most suitable height so it is easier to bend it over for creating the perfect stripe effect.
Make it a habit of using a scraper for removing any grass clippings or dirt on the underside of the mower. Make sure to rinse the underside with a garden hose and checking the sharpness of the blade. You can use a heavy file to take care of dull edges. Sharpening is mostly required only once a year, at the beginning or end of the season.
Use a catcher or a grass bag with the mower. This way your lawn will remain neat and clean. Don’t let the bag become over-loaded as grass will begin to clump in which case the clumps will fall out from underneath to leave your lawn in a state of mess. Remember to empty the catcher when it is full.
The level at which your lawn can be striped to look like a baseball field depends on how much your grass blades are able to bend. Cool-season grasses are great for creating the perfect striped effect. Such types include bentgrass, ryes, fescues and bluegrass. Warm season grass including St. Augustine grass, Bermuda, zoysia or carpetgrass don’t stay bent over for long since the blades are usually tougher and stiffer.
You should also settle for a pattern that best works for your lawn, prior to cutting or rolling. Parallel stripes are perhaps the most well-known striping effect. But there are other popular patterns such as a wave effect. Some garden owners prefer cutting or rolling in circles around a circular landscaping for a remarkable effect. More sophisticated or complex patterns include chessboard or baseball designs or a baseball field.
Although mowing naturally produces stripes, the resulting effect is not long-lasting. A lawn roller heightens the striping effect and makes it last longer between mowing sessions. You can get hold of any manual push lawn roller for after mowing as well as a tow-behind roller that easily attach to your push or riding mower while you are cutting.
More complicated striping methods require some sort of installation since you need to attach it to the mower.
Remember to follow the instructions carefully.
In order to make simple straight patterns, you need to push the roller in parallel lines like you do routinely. This way, the roller pushes down the grass in the mowing direction to create the striped design. But make sure you roll the same direction that you mowed.
For making wave-like stripes, start by cutting/rolling nearby a curved hardscape feature, for example, a flowerbed. That provides you with a shape to begin with the process. Apply across the yard. Turn and go back the opposite direction as you normally would with straight parallel lines after making the first pass, but follow the wave pattern of the first pass.
Circular stripes are produced the same way. Begin by cutting or rolling a pass directly around a circular hardscape feature. Once you have rolled a full circle, push the roller outside of the circle, turn it around and roll the opposite direction in another full circle. Continue doing this until you have rolled all the grass in the same manner.
You can also create a checkerboard pattern. Cut the outside perimeter of the space. Roll in the parallel diagonal lines across the yard until you have rolled the whole space. Then, crisscross over those lines, tolling in parallel diagonal lines for creating a unique checkerboard pattern.
Unless you are intentionally choosing a wavy design, take care while mowing in a straight line. Begin by going parallel to a straight sidewalk. For mowing straight, make sure to look roughly 10 feet in front of you as you mow, instead of keeping your eyes on the ground.
As you come to the end of a row, turn and lift the mower deck and mow in the opposite direction next to your earlier pass. For creating a checkerboard pattern, always mow the lawn again. But this time mow it at 90 degrees. End by mowing a strip around the edges of the garden.
Good mowing sets the foundation for a basic pattern. But the secret is to use a roller for bending the grass blades further. That’s how professionals get the desired effect. When you go back over the mowing stripes to roll the grass in the same direction you mowed, you get a drastically improved appearance.
You should also mow high for creating a vivid pattern. When you mow at the highest setting, the softer grass bends over easily but a shorter grass blade does not bend over as far. Hence, the pattern is not going to be as obvious.
Professionals suggest thoroughly surveying the lawn for removing all foreign objects. Begin by completely mowing around the edges of the lawn, with each pattern. This way you get a safe zone for turning around.