How To Mow Stripes In Your Lawn (Like A Ballpark)

Have you ever wondered how ballparks and golf courses get those beautiful eye-catching stripes in the grass?

Well – it’s not difficult – and today we’ll go over the basics how you can mow the most popular styles of stripes in your lawn:

  • Straight stripes
  • Checkerboard stripes
  • Curved stripes
  • Diagonal stripes

May you be warned: Once you convert to the stripe life you’ll never go back.

What is Lawn Striping?

Diagnol Stripes in Lawn

Lawn stripes are caused by the sunlight reflecting off the grass blades:

  • The lighter stripes are the grass blades pushed away from you.
  • The darker stripes are the grass blades pushed towards you.

When you mow your lawn you are cutting the grass but also bending it one direction.

The sunlight is reflecting off the grass and you are seeing either a light stripe or dark stripe.

The grass pointed towards you will appear darker because there is less surface area of the grass blade reflecting light.

The grass pointed away from you will have the entire grass blade reflecting light causing it to appear lighter.

Do You Need a Special Lawn Mower To Make Lawn Stripes?

No.

To make stripes in your lawn all you need to do is have the lawn mower push the grass blades down in different directions.

The main way to do this is with an adjustable mower deck. If you set the mower deck 1/4″ lower it will come into greater contract with the grass and push it down in each direction better.

Another option is this rear roller attachment from Toro.

Toro lawn striper kit

You attach it the mower deck and it rolls behind the mower laying down the grass for your stripes. Considering this lawn striper systems costs $260+ you will probably want to experiment with just the mower deck height first.

By the way: they also have similar attachments for riding mowers. Although just like push mowers adjusting the deck height will do a great striping job.

How To Stripe Your Lawn

Before you get started with the striping you will want to make sure of 3 things:

  1. The grass is dry
  2. You have planned out what grass striping pattern you want
  3. You have mowed the perimeter to use as a turnaround area that won’t affect the stripes.

In terms of cut length the trick with keeping your stripes all season is to mow little and often. Keep your grass around 2.5″ to 4″ in length at all times.

Okay now time to start:

How To Mow Straight Stripes

Straight Stripes in Lawn
  • To start mowing straight stripes find a straight edge to use as reference. It could be the driveway, the fence or edge of the house.
  • Start from the perimeter lane and mow straight to the other edge following your reference straight edge. Keep your head up and look straight ahead so you mow in a straight line.
  • Turnaround in the perimeter lane and come back the other way beside the row you just mowed. This will give you the stripe look because the grass blades are pushed down in opposite directions.
  • Continue mowing as normal pushing the grass down in the different directions causing the stripes to appear.
  • Once complete mow around the perimeter again to give it a nice fresh look.

How To Mow Checkerboard Stripes

Checkerboard lawn stripes

For a little more curb appeal you can try experimenting with different lawn striping patterns.

Checkerboard stripes are like two sets of straight stripes at 90 degrees to each other.

Here’s how to do them:

  • Follow the steps above to mow the straight stripes in your lawn.
  • Once you have completed the straight stripes. Stop. Lift the mower deck 1/4″ and turn the mower to mow at 90 degree angles to the straight stripes you just mowed.
  • Finish by mowing a neat perimeter lane.

How To Mow Curved Stripes

Curved Stripes in Lawn

The key to mowing curved stripes in your lawn is to have a good reference edge to follow. If you don’t have a good edge to properly orient yourself when mowing the stripes won’t turn out good.

  • If you are following a curved driveway or walkway then start at the edge.
  • Mow the length and come back the opposite direction following the angles you just mowed.
  • Continue until you reach the opposite edge of the lawn.
  • If you the opposite edge is straight then be sure to mow 2 or 3 straight lanes at the straight edge side of the lawn to make it look great.

How To Mow Diagonal/Diamond Stripes

More diagonal lawn stripes in front yard

Diagonal or diamond stripes are the final level of the lawn mowing stripe lifestyle. Only the most skilled lawn engineers will get perfect diamond stripes.

Here’s how:

  • As with the other stripe styles – mow a perimeter lane or two for turning around the mower and not messing the stripes up.
  • Now find your reference edge for the first set of straight stripes.
  • Now find your second reference edge for the diagonal stripes. Mow the diamond stripes by following the second reference edge.
  • Finish by mowing the perimeter again to tidy everything up.

How To Stripe Around Sheds, Kids Playgrounds and Trees 

The best way to stripe around obstacles is to put a perimeter mow lane around each one.

When you approach the obstacle mow into the perimeter lane and go around it to the other side until you are parallel with your stripe from the other side and then turn out of the lane and mow the stripe lined up with the other side.

Why Live The Stripe Life?

A striped lawn – first and foremost – shows pride in your home and your property.

It is eye-catching and helps draw attention to your home as the most well-kept home on the street.

If you have an unhealthy lawn but want to live the stripe lift you will be motivated to get your lawn healthy.

Healthy, striped lawn is more fun for the kids to play on.

Further Reading

  1. If you want to get started with lawn striping then you will want to get the best lawn mower to start learning. You can use electric or gas or push reel. Check out the best 7 at the link.
  2. Why not share the lawn mowing experience with your son or daughter? Get them the gift of a toy lawn mower.
  3. Is it worth renting a riding mower to mow your lawn? Check out the prices at the link.