You can make a striped lawn by mowing grass at a high setting in a straight line and then turning the mower and cutting the next line in the opposite direction. Repeat for each stripe. Lawn stripes happen when the bent grass reflects light. You don’t need any special equipment to create them, though having a rear roller mower or cylinder mower helps.
Read on to find out how to stripe a lawn the easy way. We also share tips on how to get the best cut stripes and show you what mistakes to avoid.
What is lawn striping?
Lawn striping is the process of bending the grass as you mow it so that some blades bend toward you and others away from you. This changes the angle at which the light reflects off the grass.
Grass bent away from you will look lighter while grass bent toward you will look darker. The result is a beautiful, striped effect that can take your lawn to the next level.
To cut stripes in your lawn, you can use a cylinder mower or a rotary lawn mower with a rear roller. You don’t need any special equipment.
However, if your lawn mower doesn’t have a rear roller, you could use a striping kit that you can attach to your mower. A striping kit adds a weighted bar behind the mower, which presses down on the grass to bend it.
Lawn striping is healthy for the grass since it enables all the grass blades to get enough sun. It can also prevent low spots and uneven growth.
How to get stripes in a lawn
Mow the first line in one direction according to the pattern you want and then turn the mower around and mow the second stripe in the opposite direction. Keep going until you’ve created a striped lawn.
Let’s take a closer look at the key steps to making lawn stripes.
1. Get your lawn in good shape
Mowing a lawn that is a healthy dark green colour is the easiest way to get beautiful, contrasting stripes.
So, before you start, remove any weeds from the lawn and overseed any areas that need it. Give your lawn a bit of time to green up if needed.
The patience you invest in it now will mean great-looking stripes later.
More on this: How often should you weed and feed your lawn?
2. Sketch the stripes
Use a pen and paper to sketch the stripes you plan to make. At this point, you can decide whether you want horizontal or vertical stripes.
To create darker stripes, you will be bending the grass toward you. For lighter stripes, you will be bending it away from you.
The sketch will make the mowing easier by helping you figure out where to start and in what direction to go.
3. Start by mowing the perimeter
If your garden layout makes it difficult to turn and manoeuvre the mower at either end, mow the edges of the lawn first.
You will then be able to mow at right angles to the perimeter to achieve a striped lawn effect.
Use a strimmer for tight corners if you have to.
4. Set your mower to the highest setting
A high cut means the grass will be longer. This makes it easy to bend, which will create more pronounced stripes.
The best time to mow lawn stripes is when the grass is dry.
You might also like: Can you mow a wet lawn or when it’s raining?
5. Mow the stripes
Ready to lay down some stripes? Line your mower in the direction of the first stripe and mow until the end of the stripe.
Once you reach the other side, turn the mower around and mow a second stripe. Keep going in a straight line, turning the mower each time you reach the end of the stripe.
To make sure you don’t miss any grass, overlap the previous stripe slightly, aiming for the same overlap distance for each stripe. This way, the edges of the stripes are cut at the same height.
Got a tree or other garden feature in the middle of your lawn? No problem. Mow around it and then, during the next pass, mow over the turn marks into the uncut path.
6. Do a second cut (optional)
To create more pronounced stripes, you can double-cut the grass, using the same mower setting.
Make sure you go over the grass in the same direction you followed the first time.
The more you bend the blades of grass, the darker the stripe will be.
Extra tips for the perfect lawn stripes
- Grow cool season grasses like rye, bent, and meadow grass on your lawn for the best-striped lawn possible. These grasses pattern better than warm season grasses. In the UK, they grow during late spring and early summer and then again in late summer and early autumn.
- Get better-defined stripes by letting the grass grow tall and cutting it at a high mower setting.
- Alternate the mowing direction every two to three weeks. This will help the grass grow evenly across the lawn.
- For wider stripes, go over the second stripe in the same direction as the first and repeat with all the others.
- You can start making stripes in your lawn in the UK as early as April, provided your lawn is in good shape. Otherwise, give it some time to recover before summer.
How do I make patterns in my lawn?
For a checkerboard lawn stripe pattern, mow North and South and then East and West.
For diagonal stripes, mow the lawn diagonally North and South and then East and West.
Always start and finish by mowing the perimeter.
How long do lawn stripes last?
Lawn stripes can last for 3-4 weeks, though they will gradually begin to fade. If children or pets run on the lawn, the effect will wear off sooner.
How often should I stripe my lawn?
Aim to stripe your lawn every two weeks or more often during summer and up to 4 weeks during autumn. Always restripe in the opposite direction, or the grass will remain flat and not reflect enough light to create lawn stripes.
What height should I cut my grass for striping?
For a great striped lawn effect, cut the grass at a height between 2.5 and 4 inches. At shorter cuts, the grass doesn’t have enough bend to reflect light and create defined lawn stripes.
Add lines to the grass for a stunning lawn
Making lawn stripes isn’t hard. You just need to cut grass at a tall height in alternating directions for each stripe.
Get the best results by cutting the edges or perimeter first, especially if you have an irregular lawn.
Now that you know how to stripe a lawn, go ahead and cut some stripes. Practice makes lawn stripes perfect!