Where Should I Set My Lawnmower Height?


If you want to keep your lawn green and healthy, you need to understand how to set your lawnmower height correctly. Mowing your lawn at the proper height will also hinder weeds from sprouting and improve the overall appearance of your backyard. So, are you wondering where to set your lawnmower height? 

You should set your lawnmower height to about 3 inches or more for the best results. However, the ideal lawnmower height setting depends on the type of grass and the time of the year. For instance, if you mow Bermuda grass during summer, you can opt for a 1.5-2.5 inches height setting. 

It is essential to know the type grass you are cutting and consider the season to achieve the best results. This article will help you understand the various factors to consider when setting your lawnmower height. 

What is the Best Setting for Lawnmower Height?

One of the most critical factors that determine how high you should set a lawnmower is the time of the year. If you mow your lawn from April to September, the recommended height would be 3 inches or more, which might be your lawnmower’s highest setting.

Setting your lawnmower at 3 inches or more has several advantages. These include:

  • Enhanced lawn color
  • Improved lawn density
  • It makes your lawn conserve more water
  • It encourages the formation of deep roots
  • Helps preventing diseases.

However, you should avoid this high setting if you are doing your first or last mow of the season. If it’s your first or last mow, you should set your lawnmower at 2.5 inches during the cool seasons. You can go lower than 2.5 inches if you need to clean up your lawn.

Though many homeowners suggest that setting your mower using the middle setting will give you the best results, it’s usually not the best since it is too short. Always aim at using your lawnmower at its highest setting for the best results.

Of course, this means that you will have to mow your lawn a bit more often, like every week instead of every two weeks. But in my experience, a healthy lawn is well worth the effort. 

Why Mow the Lawn at the Highest Setting?

The main reason why you should set your lawnmower height to 3 inches when mowing is to encourage the formation of deep roots. You should understand that the size you use to cut will directly affect how deep your grassroots will grow.

Generally, the depth of the roots will be three times more than the height of the grass.

Therefore, if you cut the grass at a one-inch setting, the grassroots will develop to approximately three inches deep. When you set the mower at two inches, the roots will be about six inches deep. The setting of 3 inches will encourage the roots to grow to their maximum length of about 9 inches, or sometimes even more. 

If you want your lawn to be healthier, lush and green, you should encourage the formation of deep grassroots. When the grass has deeper roots, it can access water at the deeper soil levels. Therefore, your lawn will still be healthy and green during the dry seasons since it has access to water deep in the soil. 

Setting the Lawnmower Height According to Grass Type 

It is also important to consider the type of grass on your lawn and the time of the year when setting the cutting height of your lawnmower. Generally, regardless of the kind of grass, you should aim at mowing once a week and only cutting off 1/3 of the grass blade height.

Since you are only cutting a tiny piece of the grass blade, you can even leave the grass clippings on the lawn to act as mulch if you want. 

If you are mowing warm-season grasses, you should increase the height setting during fall to insulate your lawn against the low temperatures. However, if you are cutting cool-season grasses, you should aim for higher heights in summer to protect the crowns from the hot weather and encourage the grass to grow deeper roots like I explained earlier.

Here are some of the popular warm-season grasses and their recommended mowing height:

  • Bermuda grass: During summer, set the height at 1.5-2.5 inches and raise it to 3 inches during fall.
  • Buffalo grass: 1.5-3 inches during summer and 2-3 inches during fall. 
  • St. Augustine: 2.5-4 inches during summer and 3-4 inches during fall.
  • Zoysia grass: Has the lowest height setting of 1-2.5 during summer and 1.5-3 during fall. 

Some of the cool-season grasses that are commonly used in lawns include: 

  • Kentucky Bluegrass: Set the height at 2.5-3.5 during summer and 2-2.5 inches in fall.
  • Perennial Ryegrass: Adjust to 1.5-2.5 inches in height in summer and 2-2.5 in fall.
  • Tall Fescue: 2.5-4 in summer and 2-2.5 inches in fall.
  • Fine Fescue: 2.5-3 in summer and 1.5-2 during fall. 

If you are unsure about the grass type on your lawn or you have different grass types, always go for the highest setting as it will always yield the best results. Ensure you mow your lawn more frequently to prevent the grass from growing too tall. 

How to Adjust Your Lawnmower Height 

The exact procedure of adjusting the lawnmower height depends on the type and model of the lawnmower. Therefore, setting the height of a rotary mower (self-propelled or push mower) will be different from setting riding mowers. When changing the height of a lawnmower, you will need a tape measure/ruler, wrench set, and pair of gloves. 

To adjust the height of a riding mower, follow this procedure:

  1. Park the mower on a flat surface: It is advisable to park your lawnmower on a flat concrete surface like the garage floor or driveway to prevent losing nuts and screws on your lawn. 
  2. Switch off the engine: Since the lawnmower has sharp blades, you should take caution not to injure yourself. You can turn off the engine or disconnect the mower’s spark plug to prevent any chance of your lawnmower blades from rotating. 
  3. Ensure that the tires have similar air pressure: To prevent your lawnmower from leaning on one side and delivering uneven cuts, ensure that the tires are filled with the same air pressure. Measure the air pressure using a tire pressure gauge, then pump air to all tires accordingly. 
  4. Adjust the deck on each side: Use the lift link adjustment to lower or raise the sides of the deck to your desired height. Ensure that the height is similar on both sides before making the next adjustment. 
  5. Adjust the front and back of your deck: Use the adjustment nuts to adjust the front and back of your lawnmower. Typically, the back should be 1/8th – ½ inch higher than the front. 

Adjusting the height of self-propelled lawnmowers requires a similar process of switching off the engine and parking it on a flat surface. Next, you need to locate the adjustment lever, which is located on the inner sides of the wheels.

To raise the height, you will have to move the lever forward, while moving it backward will lower the height. Adjust all the wheels to the same level to ensure that the mower cuts evenly. 

Final Thoughts

A beautiful and well-kept lawn is one of the most welcoming features of your home. Make sure you set your mower’s height according to the type of grass and the current season. By using the guidelines in this post, you will always have a lush lawn that is healthy and green throughout the year. 

Peter Toth

Hi! I'm Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I've created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!

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