Have you ever wondered what the difference is between your lawn and the lawn of your neighbor who just won yard of the month? Sometimes it because they have pretty flowers or a fancy fountain in their front yard, but often the difference is that they “stripe” their lawn.
Striping is the process by which you put visual stripes in your grass. It's achieved by bending the blades of grass a particular direction. When you have two passes of cut grass each facing a different direction, they will catch the sun and reflect light differently. This is the visual effect that creates those clean-cut striping patterns.
Your mowers tires do a decent job at striping a small section. You've probably noticed that the areas you mow have some nice shiny stripes where the heavy tires pushed the grass down a bit. To get those wide, beautiful stripes that you see in the Home and Garden magazine, you're going to have to put in a little more effort, however.
To bend the grass down and create your striping patterns, you're going to need to find a way of dragging a wide, weighted object across it. Depending on what type of mower you're using, there are a few different ways to achieve this. Let's take a look.
Striping with a push mower is pretty simple. The easiest way to stripe with a push mower is to get a small lead or PVC pipe, fill it with some rocks or sand and then cap the ends. You are then going to take this pipe and attach it to the back of your mower.
The easiest place to attach it to is your rock guard. This is the little rubber flap that drags behind the blades and prevents rocks from getting thrown up at your legs. You’re going to want to drill two small holes in this guard, and then take two long zip-ties, wrap them around your weighted tube, loop them through the holes you just drilled, and attach the tube to guard.
The idea is that as you cut your grass, you will be dragging this long weighted object across the surface, and it will bend the blades down. Just be careful not to pull the mower backward. You wouldn't want the pipe knocking against your blades.
The same concept comes into play as with a push mower. You basically, just need to find something wide, flat, and heavy to drag across the grass behind you. Hooking it up to your riding mower is going to be a little more tricky though.
The best suggestion that I can give is to get a piece of 3-inch thick PVC pipe that has the same length as your mower's deck. You are then going to want to screw an eye hook into each side of the tube.
Now that we have our setup let's attach it to the mower. You're going to want to drag the pipe about a foot behind you when you're driving. So, get two identical lengths of rope, loop one through each eye hook in the pipe, and then find a good spot to tie them onto your mower.
They key here is to make sure that the pipe is towed straight across the grass. If it is dragged at an angle, it can mess up the stripping effect. So before you tie your knots tight, make sure your pipe is in a straight angle with your mower.
So now that you've got your striping apparatus set up, you're probably excited to pursue your well-deserved yard of the month award.
First, however, you'll need to decide on a pattern.
You can do horizontal, vertical, or diagonal stripes.
Once you decide on a direction, you can do wide stripes, thin stripes, or even make a lattice pattern.
Let’s go over some of the ways to achieve these:
As you can see, it’s very easy to start striping your own lawn! All you need is a little bit of ingenuity and the ability to push (or drive) a mower in a straight line. Happy cutting!