Whether I’m watching the Yankees vs. Rays or any other professional baseball game on TV or at home, the one thing that always amazes me are those intricate striping patterns across the playing field.
And I’ve always wondered if I can produce these crisp, striking and flawless checkerboards, diamond stripes on my own lawn!
Well, you don’t have to be a professional landscaper to create these coveted stripes, but can achieve beautiful, and almost hypnotic patterns with a little understanding of how lawn striping works, a few tools, and of course a bit of effort.
What is Lawn Striping, and the Science Behind it?
You’ve probably “unknowingly” already created basic stripes on your lawn using a conventional push or tractor mower.
The effect of these stripes is created when you push the mower attached with a roller in one direction, but pull back in an adjacent or parallel path.
Lawn stripes are laid down in an orderly, precise and preplanned patterns. If you take a closer look at professionally designed lawn stripes, you’ll notice that one row is lighter colored that its neighboring darker row.
When the grass blades are bent in opposite directions, and the grass reflects the sunlight, the blades bending towards you look darker than the sections of lighter blades bending away from you.
This sharp contrast makes these lawn stripes stand out from the crowd, and can be achieved by mowing your lawn with a roller in the right directions or with certain lawn striping products.
If you’ve ever cut your hair too short, you already know that not even the best gels and sprays can keep the short strands down.
Similarly, you need to be careful when carving out lawn stripes, because the grass blades need to be long enough to stay down without any effort.
What Grass is Best for Lawn Striping?
Not all types of grasses work well for lawn stripes. Even though the grass will probably produce the effect, they won’t last that long to value your efforts.
- Cool-season grasses such as bluegrass, ryegrass and fescue are a great choice for striping.
- Warm-season grasses such as Bermuda and Zoysia will also produce stripes, but will not have a strong appearance.
Cool-season grasses are longer, and feature blades that are a lot more flexible than warm-season grasses, making them easier to bend, and stay in that position.
Contrarily, warm-season grasses have shorter, rigid blades that are hard to bend, or don’t bend at all, even under the pressure of a lawn roller.
Benefits of Lawn Striping
Striping your lawn doesn’t just increase your curb appeal, it also encourages healthy grass growth.
One of the big reasons your lawn is plagued with ruts, grooves, holes, or low growth spots is because you’ve been mowing in a single direction.
Creating patterns by mowing in two directions provides all grass blades equal access to the sun, resulting in less lawn deformities and low spots.
Lawn striping can also help prevent fertilizer burn by serving as a guide to indicate where you applied the fertilizer.
How to Lawn Stripe Your Lawn?
There are several ways to create stripes on your lawn, with and without a lawn roller. If you don’t have any of these extra tools, follow this technique to add stripes to your lawn. Also be sure you are using a mower that is more applicable to creating stripes in the first place.
How to Add Lawn Stripes Without a Lawn Roller?
You can add stripes to your lawn without a roller, but doing so will require a little more elbow grease. Remember, the stripe effect isn’t caused by mowing your lawn, but the light that reflects on the bended blades.
So, if you don’t have a roller, you can use a flat, large piece of wood or something similar that has a flat surface to make the grass blades stay down.
You can also use a brush or a broom to create a series of stripes in your lawn. Simply walk up and down with the brush bristles (soft bristles not hard) pressed down on the grass, and repeat the process if the grass isn’t bent after the first pass.
How to Add Stripes with Just a Mower and No Roller?
Before you make stripes on your lawn with just your mower, there are a few things to take care off.
First, make sure your grass is at least three inches in height, so fire up your lawn mower and cut your grass to this height using a recommended mower blade for stripes.
Next, turn off your mower, and adjust it to its lowest setting. Push the mower up and down your lawn, and change directions once you get to the end of your lawn.
When you lower the mower to its lowest height, the blade housing serves as a roller to bend the grass blades in the direction you’re walking.
How to Stripe Your Lawn with a Mower with Roller or Striping Attachment?
The best, easiest and effective way to pimp your lawn with elegant stripes is with either a mower with a full-width roller or a striping kit attached to your existing mower.
The Masport Rotarola is a top-rated mower/roller, and is designed to lay clean stripes on your lawn.
- Aluminum deck gives corrosion resistance, high durability and long...
- Fail safe OPC (operator presence control) system
- Extra-large capacity Aero-catcher combines sturdy plastic with double...
- Hinged flap for easy emptying or rear-discharge rather than bagging
- Counter balanced single lever height of cut to give light and easy...
Plus, this self-propelled lawn mower is powered by the class leading Professional Series 850 Briggs and Stratton engine, and topped with a manufacturer one-year warranty.
1. First things first—check your lawn, and remove any large pieces of dirt, debris you feel will get stuck in the mower blades or striping attachment.
2. If you’re new to striping, you should plan your striping patterns on a piece of paper, but as the saying goes “practice makes perfect”, so you will have to deal with a little trial and error.
3. Start with basic lawn stripes first by mowing around the perimeter of your lawn. This creates a safe zone from where you can turn around.
4. Now run your mower with the attachment in parallel rows back and forth all the way across your lawn.
5. When turning the deck of the mower to mow in the opposite direction to create adjacent stripes, make sure to make tight Y turns to prevent circular swirls at the end of each row.
Best Reviewed Lawn Striper Kits
Toro Roller Striper Kit
- Assembled dimension: 13 in. w x 16.50 in. d x 24 in. h
- Use with or without bagger attachment
- Roller easily removes for storage or areas where striping is not...
- Easy assembly with just a phillips screwdriver
- Requires 16-20 lbs. of dry sand not included
The Toro roller lawn striping kit can be attached to 8-inch, 52-inch or 60-inch Z Master G3 mowers. It is easy to install, and does a great job at creating stripes on your lawn.
John Deere Grass Groomer Lawn Striping Kit
- Fits John Deere: D100, D105, D110, D120, D125, D130, LA125, LA135,...
The John Deere Grass Groomer lawn striping kit is designed to fit 48″/54″ Edge-Tractors, and is a professional lawn striping system that can truly enhance the appearance of your lawn.
It is fitted with bristles that gently bend the grass blades, resulting in an intensified striping effect. These bristles are flexible to cater to varying ground heights, so they won’t cause scalping when making turns.
Lawn Striping Tips
1. If you’re creating basic lawn stripes, then you don’t really need to draw the patterns on paper. But for complex designs, jotting down the designs in detail will help you achieve the patterns easily.
2. Mow and use a lawn striping roller when the grass is dry, because doing so when wet may damage your grass.
3. Before you start the mower, check the blades to ensure they’re sharp for consistent cuts. Grass blades that are crisp cut bend more easily, and also reduce the possibility of disease.
4. You should always aim for longer height of cut for dramatic looking stripes.
5. Do not mow in the same pattern between each cut or else you risk damaging your lawn. So, if you create basic patterns first, try checkerboard or diagonal stripes the next time.
6. Do not mow each line more than once, as doing so will create wear and stress to the lawn.
7. If you’re having guests over and want to enhance the grass patterns on your lawn, the best way to do so is by spraying a light mist of water over the grass for roughly a minute.
The water droplets will help reflect the sunlight on the pattern, and enhance the contrast of the dark sections.
If you’ve ever been curious about striping, now you know just how easy it is to carve crisp stripes on your lawn.
There are several patterns to choose from, but the key to getting great stripes is bending the grass blades.
Further, remember that your grass matters, so ensure that your lawn is in great health before applying stripes.
Adding to this, not all grass types are great from striping, where longer grasses with finer blades work best for most lawn striping patterns.
Just as important as the grass type, you should also use the right tools for the job such as a striping kit or lawn mower with a full-width roller.
It is also worth mentioning that your first stripe regardless of the pattern will dictate the rest, so you will have to start over if it’s wobbly.