Maintaining a well-manicured lawn is not just about how fantastic it looks – it also provides a green space for you and your family to relax in while enjoying the beautiful surroundings. It can also boost your home’s curb appeal, and for many homeowners becomes a passion. But just how do you mow a lawn to make it look good?
Mowing a lawn for the perfect appearance is mainly down to choosing the right equipment and employing the best techniques to create the perfect pattern. It’s also important to mow the grass regularly to the correct height, and ensure that it’s well watered and fed with a suitable fertilizer.
In this article, I’m going to discuss the fundamentals of proper lawn mowing, including choosing the right equipment, mowing patterns, good technique, and keeping the height consistent. I’ll also look at maintaining lawn health through regular watering and fertilization.
Choose the Right Equipment For A Perfect Lawn
The first step in achieving a perfectly mowed lawn is choosing the right equipment that best suits your yard.
A manual walk-behind push reel mower is perfect for small, flat lawns and many lawn care perfectionists consider this traditional tool to be the only thing to use if you have the right-sized garden. It offers the most in terms of control and of course, they never run out of petrol!
For mid-sized to large-sized yards, a manual push reel will take too long for regular weekly mowing, but a self-propelled gas mower or electric cordless mower can work wonders. If the area is completely flat and easy to get around, you could also opt for a manual push gas-powered or electric mower instead.
Very large grassed areas will be best served with a more powerful sit-on lawn tractor. However, you’re unlikely to get the perfectly manicured finish you’re looking for with one of these, so you may need to finish the areas you want to look best with a push-along or self-propelled mower as well.
With all variants, take note of the features that come with each type of lawn mower before buying. For instance, some mowers are equipped with mulching or bagging options that allow you to recycle grass clippings. With that said, bagging your grass clippings may not be the best option in all cases as there are plenty of alternative ways to dispose of them.
Easy lawnmower maintenance should also be on your checklist. To avoid sudden breakdowns during mowing you will need to sharpen your blades regularly, change the oil and air filter, and check the spark plug. These regular maintenance practices will help your mower remain in good condition for years to come.
Mowing Patterns and Techniques For The Best Look
Mowing patterns determine the direction of grass growth and the overall appearance of the lawn. There are several options including the classic striped, checkerboard, diamond, or even circular patterns.
For those who are looking for a simple polished appearance, but are unsure of which pattern to opt for, the straight back-and-forth mowing technique for a classic striped pattern is a perfect choice.
To achieve the striped pattern, you need to mow your lawn in one direction and then mow it again in the opposite direction perpendicular to the first pass. The resulting stripes will reflect light differently and create a beautiful contrast that will make your lawn stand out.
Ensure that each row overlaps with the previous row, thereby eliminating any missed spots. While mowing, adjust the speed of your mower to achieve a smooth and even cut.
This may sound a bit complicated at first, but it really is simple. I’ve found a great video showing how it’s done, you can check it out below:
Changing The Mowing Pattern
It is advisable to switch up the mowing direction fairly regularly to avoid ruts from forming in the grass.
One way to do this is to just mow the lawn at right angles to the direction you cut it previously. Another more ambitious way is to create a different pattern each time you are out with the mower.
Choose The Right Time Of Day
Finding the right time of day to mow is paramount to maintaining a healthy, visually appealing lawn. The best time to trim the lawn is in the morning when the grass is dry and when the sun is not too high in the sky.
Avoid mowing during the hottest time of the day, as this puts stress on the grass, which could result in it turning brown.
Is It Better To Cut Grass Short Or Long?
One common mistake made by many homeowners is cutting their grass too short as they think it will save them time as they will not need to mow it again for a while.
However, keeping the blades of grass at a decent height and mowing it at a regular frequency is key to the proper maintenance of a lawn. As a general rule of thumb, do not cut off more than one-third of the grass’s height to avoid stressing the plant.
Regular mowing makes it easier to maintain the lawn at a consistent height without cutting too much off in one go and also helps prevent the buildup of thatch – a layer of living and dead material between the green part of the plant and the soil that prevents them from absorbing water and nutrients.
I have written about cutting your grass short vs long in more detail in this article.
How Important Are Watering and Fertilization?
Watering and fertilization should be a significant part of your lawn care regimen as they will really benefit your grass when done right.
As a guide, a healthy lawn will require about an inch of water per week during the summer months. Watering in the morning or evening, when temperatures are cooler, ensures that the grass has time to absorb the water without it evaporating too quickly, and also helps prevent fungal growth.
Ideal fertilization schedules vary according to the region you live in, grass type, and brand of fertilizer. For example, slow-release granular fertilizers are ideal for a steady supply of nutrients while liquid varieties are more powerful and effective for a quick green-up.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding application rates and timing.
Now that you have a better understanding of the fundamentals of how to mow your lawn to make it look good, it’s time to get to work.
Remember, choosing the right equipment, employing mowing patterns and good lawn care techniques, and maintaining grass health through watering and fertilization are all contributors to an immaculate lawn.
Keep up this routine, and your lawn will soon be the envy of the neighborhood.