Lawn Striping FAQs
How to Stripe a Lawn
You’ve seen them on baseball fields and golf courses. You also might have seen them on neighborhood lawns.
Stripes, checkerboards, circles, and other lawn mowing patterns are not only impressive to look at; they’re also easy and fun to create.
Want to get great-looking stripes across your yard by using your lawn mower? Get the tips you need and learn how to stripe a lawn with this FAQ!
To jump to a specific question, click on one of the links below.
- Why Stripe a Lawn?
- How Does Lawn Striping Work?
- What Do I Need to Stripe a Lawn?
- Are Lawn Stripers Difficult to Turn?
- How Do I Mow a Basic Stripe Pattern?
- How Do I Mow a Checkerboard Pattern?
- How Do I Mow a Circular Pattern?
- What Are Other Tips for the Best Lawn Striping Techniques?
The easy answer is aesthetics. Curb appeal. Call it what you will, but an eye-catching lawn has benefits beyond its good looks. According to The Lawn Institute, well-maintained turfgrass can increase property value by as much as 15 to 20 percent.1
Related to that idea of curb appeal: mowing patterns are great for directing people’s attention toward a feature in your yard that you want to put in the spotlight—or for directing attention away from an area that still might need some work.
So long as you don’t overdo it, lawn striping also can improve your turf’s health. Using different lawn striping techniques encourages you mow in different directions, so that you don’t end up with ruts or bald spots in your grass.
You create lawn stripes by bending the blades of grass on your lawn in different directions. Sunlight reflected off the grass will look different depending on which way the grass bends. Grass bending toward you will look darker; grass bending away will lighter.
So yes, lawn stripes do look different depending on factors like what time it is and where you’re standing!
You don’t need a fancy, specialized mower to create lawn striping patterns. You do need a striping kit, which is essentially a roller that attaches to the back of your mower to flatten your grass.
A striping kit or yard striper is different from other products labeled “lawn rollers.” Lawn rollers are larger, heavier pieces of equipment made to smooth out uneven ground or help grass seed or sod make contact with the soil. Striping kits are lighter and designed for more frequent use.
Kits are available for both walk-behind mowers and riding mowers, so whether you want to stripe your lawn with a push mower or a zero turn, you’ll be able to find the tool you need.
Whatever you choose, be sure to choose a lawn striper that’s two to four inches smaller than your mower deck to avoid overlaps that might cause excess wear on your lawn.
Lawn stripers shouldn't make your mower more difficult to turn. The problem comes if you try to make sharp turns to create your rows or stripes. Sharp turns can damage your turf.
Making a three-point turn to change directions can greatly reduce wear on your grass, especially if you’re using a riding mower:
- Angle your mower in the direction you want to turn
- Back up slightly while turning in the opposite direction
- Move forward while turning back toward the direction you want to go
Stripes are the easiest pattern to make in your grass. All you have to do is create parallel lines.
Start by mowing the perimeter of your lawn for neat, clean edges. You can do this with your striping roller attached, but attaching the roller isn’t necessary.
Next, choose a landscaping feature that sits in a straight line along one edge of your property. Suggestions:
Mow in a straight line parallel to this feature, right along the edge of the cut you made along the perimeter.
When you get to the opposite end of your yard, turn your mower around and mow a second straight line next to the first, but mow in the opposite direction.
Continue repeating this pattern across your lawn until you’ve traveled across your entire lawn. Mow around the perimeter one more time to tidy up any stray blades of grass.
Congratulations! You have lawn stripes!
Creating a checkerboard pattern on your lawn is similar to creating basic stripes. It simply requires some additional work.
After you make your initial stripe pattern across your yard, repeat the pattern by mowing stripes that are perpendicular to the stripes you just made. If you traveled up and down your yard to make your initial stripes, for example, travel left and right across your yard to make your perpendicular stripes.
For added contrast, raise the height of your mower deck slightly before making your perpendicular stripes.
Again, give your pattern a finished look by mowing the perimeter of your yard after creating all your stripes.
Creating a circular striped pattern on your lawn is an excellent way of accentuating a feature in the middle of the yard like a flagpole or a favorite tree. It’s also fun to do without such a feature!
Just like before, start by mowing the perimeter of your yard. Then, turn off your mower and move it to the center of your yard (or to the feature that will be at the center of your circles).
Mow your first circular stripe around your tree or other object. If you aren’t mowing around an object, start your mower and mow in the smallest circle you can.
Move your mower to the outside of this circle, turn it around using the three-point technique described earlier, and mow a second circle outside your first one in the opposite direction, slightly overlapping the edge of the first.
Repeat this alternating pattern across your yard, continuing to mow in increasingly larger circles.
When you reach the edge of your property, make one more cut along the perimeter to trim any uneven ends.
These are helpful tips to keep in mind no matter which lawn mowing pattern you follow:
- Don’t mow your grass too short. Longer grass bends more and has a more dramatic look. Keeping it between two and four inches long is recommended.
- Don’t try to stripe wet grass—it’ll look matted.
- Change your mowing pattern after about two weeks. Bending the blades and traveling over the turf in different directions is good for your lawn’s health.
- Use sharp mower blades to prevent grass from looking ragged.
Once you have the basic tips and techniques down, you can try your hand at more advanced lawn striping patterns, such as zig zags and waves (which you can create by laying down a rope in the pattern you want to make, a few feet to the side of the first path you’ll mow, to serve as a guide to follow).
No matter which pattern you choose, striping your lawn is a simple way to make your yard the one that impresses anyone who sees it.