How To Stripe A Lawn With A Riding Mower? Find Out Here!

Written By James
Updated July 7, 2021 by James

How To Stripe A Lawn With A Riding Mower? Find Out Here!

Our Best Guide To Creating Stripes On Your Lawn With a Riding Mower

Lawn striping with your mower is the perfect way to make your grasses look neat and your whole lawn professional, striping can create stunning patterns on your garden and is all achieved with a roller. 

To create a striping pattern on your garden you can use a riding mower with a roller attachment and simply make parallel mowed rows for basic lawn-stripe patterns that look neat until you have a completed mowed perimeter. 

However you can also make a variety of other crisp patterns on your lawn with your riding mower, and some blades of grass will be more suited than others, so to help you out, we've put it all in a guide below.

How Does Grass Striping Work? 

First of all, before we dive into how to stripe your garden with your riding mower it's a great idea to familiarise yourself with the science behind lawn striping and how it works with your grass. 

Grass striping is done by a roller attached to your mower, this flattens down the blades of grass as you mow, then when you mow back up the other side adjacent in the other direction, it flattens the grass blades the other way. 

This creates a light/dark contrast effect with light which creates a striped pattern, the optics of how the opposing pattern looks is determined by which way the grass blades are pointing, the grass bent away tends to be brighter than the grass bent towards you. 

Many professionals use grass striping to create a professional finish to their lawn after mowing.

What Grass Is Right For Striping 

Grass striping is much harder to do on shorter grass blade lengths than a longer grass blade as they stick back up quickly after you flatten them with the roller. Cold season breeds of grass are also more suitable types of grass for striping as they contain more water which makes them easier to flatten. 

Breeds of grass such as rye grass with at least 1 1/8" - 2" tend to be the best for striping, warm-season grasses will produce a less intense stripe pattern. Other recommended cold-season grass types are bluegrass and fescue. 

Grass bending will always be harder when your grass is shorter, so remember this when cutting with your mower blades first.

How To Create Stripes With Your Riding Mower

Creating roller stripes with your lawn roller on your riding mower is pretty straightforward and easy to do even as a beginner. We have listed out how to make some common patterns on your lawn with your riding mower below to get you started. 

The Basic Pattern 

To start with, let's go over how to make standard striped grass which we see on most professional football fields. 

  • Step One - Set the complete perimeter around your lawn as a border to see where each row ends. 
  • Step Two - Start mowing adjacent parallel lines across the lawn and turn in each direction when you get to the perimeter. 
  • Step Three - Make sure to do a tight Y turn at the end of each row to keep it neat and mow another perimeter at the end to cover up your turns.

Checkerboard Pattern 

A checkerboard pattern is easy to create over the previous stripes patterns as all you need to do is make the stripes horizontally. 

  • Step One - Mow the perimeter around your lawn and do the basic stripe types pattern above. 
  • Step Two - Then repeat this striped pattern horizontally to get the checkerboard effect. 
  • Step Three - Once again, turn tightly at the end of each row then mow the row of grass round the complete perimeter to brush up any mistakes. 

Criss-Cross Pattern 

When making criss-cross types of patterns during lawn striping, you simply need to go diagonal rather than vertical and horizontal as you would when making a checkerboard pattern in your grass. 

  • Step One - Define your perimeter around the garden for lawn striping.
  • Step Two - Mow diagonal lines across the lawn which are parallel, make sure each direction of grass mowed is in the opposite direction to the other. 
  • Step Three - Drive around the border with your tractor mower then create lines again in more diagonal rows. 
  • Step Four - Cover up any turn mistakes by driving around the perimeter again.

Tips For Creating Stripes On Your Lawn 

There are some harder patterns to create on your lawn such as a zigzag pattern or wavy pattern, but once you know the basics of striping your lawn, you can experiment to make your vivid pattern. 

To get the best stripes possible, however, you can use some tips and tricks which will list below. 

  • Don't repeat your striping pattern every time you mow - If you keep repeating your original mowing pattern each time you mow then it could lead to grass blades lying flat all the time which can damage the grass, instead, after two weeks create your stripes in a different direction.
  • Make your roller - You can avoid buying a roller kit for your mower by making your own. This is simple to do with either sandbag, a PVC pipe or boat trailer rollers and will have the same roller style effect.
  • Use sharp blades - Sharp blades will give an accurate and neat cut to your lawn, dull blades can tear the grass which won't allow the blades to lie flat for as long. 
  • Keep your grass long - As we mentioned early on in our stripe guide, short grass is very hard to work with if you want to create stripes on your garden, never have your grass below 2" if you want to create the best stripes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Creating Stripes With a Riding Mower 

Should I use a push mower or a riding mower to create stripes on my lawn? 

If you are mowing a garden which is bigger than half an acre then a riding mower would be suitable, for smaller gardens a petrol mower with a roller can be just as suitable to create stripes. 

How long do stripes last on a lawn?

Stripes on your lawn will last for different periods depending on how much the lawn is in use and the weather, this could be around two weeks.

Why is warm-season grass not good for striping? 

Warm-season grass will produce fainter stripes than cold season grass as they have less water content which causes the blades to bend back up to their original position faster.

Last Words 

Overall, striping a lawn with a riding mower is simple to do and can be achieved by any mower who knows how to create a striped pattern, just ensure the grass blades are long enough for this job and you always mow your rows in the opposite direction adjacent to each other to create the contrast effect.

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My father, and his father before him, and his father; for the past 3 generations, my family have always been into gardening. The green fingers is a gift passed down to me and I thoroughly enjoy it! I also have worked in the manufacturing department for Bosch and DeWalt so I like to think I know a thing or two about tools and such!
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