I used to always see the gridlines on golf courses and sports fields and wonder how they got those sharp stripes and checkerboards so precise. I had witnessed both push mowers and riding mowers create these lines, and I was still no closer to understanding how it was done. My initial thought was that lawnmowers must alternate the blade height each time and what I was seeing was clearly alternating tall and short grass.
Obviously, once you get nearer, you can see that the grass is in fact the same length and that cutting height isn’t the only way to make streaks in the grass. I learned that a lawn mower could be equipt with a lawn striper that bends those beautiful blades of grass into the stripped pattern we know and love. Here is how it is done.
What is a Lawn Striping Kit?
In its simplest form, a lawn striping kit is anything pulled behind a riding or walk-behind mower that creates lawn stripes. Actual lawn striping requires using the natural lay of the land and notable yard features to mow epic lawn patterns. Advanced lawn striping patterns rely on the right types of grass, taller blades of grass, and the right striping kit for your mower.
A good lawn striping kit can bend a tall blade of grass in a single direction without damaging the lawn or adding unnecessary stress to lawn mower equipment. After your first strip, switch your mowing direction and knock down the taller grass blades in the opposite direction. For a grid pattern, mow in a perpendicular direction to the first stripes and repeat the alternating pattern.
Types of Striping Kits
The most important thing to remember about a lawn roller or heavy-duty rubber mat for a well-striped lawn is to keep it 2 to 4 inches shorter than your mower deck. If the roller is longer than the mowing deck, you will blur the edges of your strips and not have a pronounced lawn striping effect to show for all your labor.
Kits come in varying shapes and sizes as well as cost and material components. Choosing the right lawn striping kit might be as simple as checking what’s in your garage and shed and attaching it to your mower or as complex as buying a professional kit for lawn mowers from your mower supply company. For stunning lawn stripes, you will want to get the best kit for your mower or practice lawn striping techniques.
|Heavy Rubber Mats||Affordable||Inconsistent if attached wrong|
|Professional Stripe Roller||Accurate||Expensive|
|Safety Strip with Striping Kit||Already attached to the mower||Won’t bend shorter blades of grass|
|PVC Pipe||Adjustable||Requires DIY skills|
|Sand Bags||Usually Free||Can break and cause a mess|
Heavy Rubber Mats
Heavy mats used for commercial activities and rubber flaps from trucks and warehouses can be attached to the back of a mower. As you pull the flaps, they bend the grass right after it’s cut and lie it in a single direction. Mats can be found for low cost or free if you already have some laying around.
Heavy rubber mats can become damaged and dislodged during mowing. Lawn striping already takes a fair amount of time and labor, especially with a push mower, so constantly reattaching mats can be a headache. Mats can also cause strain on your mower and lead to other mechanical issues.
Professional Stripe Roller
The most expensive option but also the most professional, these kits can attach to your mower and create lawn stripes with the least amount of effort. Most mower brands have their own rollers or striping kits, so it is best to find the ones designed to fit your model. There are also generic options that are cheaper and attach to many different makes and models. Make sure to measure your mower deck before purchasing one to double-check the size and fit and save yourself the time and hassle of a return.
There are lawn rollers designed to level out the uneven ground and help push grass seed deep into the soil. These are not the same rollers as lawn striping rollers. Make sure that you are buying an attachment for the right job or you may end up doing damage to your turf instead of achieving a beautifully-striped lawn.
Safety Strip with Lawn Striping Kit
Often walk-behind and push mowers will come with a rubber flap in the back. This safety strip helps keep your feet safe from the blades and debris as you struggle up banks and berms. If the blade height and wheel height is set correctly, you can use your safety strip to put lines in your entire lawn.
These lines will not be as pronounced as with other methods, but it’s available to practice and can help you practice. Once you are comfortable with the right lawn mowing pattern, you can look into buying or making a more effective mower striping kit.
This is a cheap and flexible option that can pay off in improved lawn health and professional lawn striping. If you drag a PVC pipe behind your mower, it will bend the grass and give you strips. You can cut the PVC to the correct length for your mower and easily replace it when it gets worn out.
For less pliable grass, you can increase the effectiveness of your PVC pipe striper. If you fill the pipe with sand or water before capping it and attaching it to the back of your mower, you can make it heavier and more effective. Make sure to seal the pipe tightly, or you may lose your filler all over your yard.
Running sandbags behind your mower or tractor is probably the cheapest way to lawn strip, but it comes with many issues and is not very effective. Sandbags can be a little tricky to attach to a mower and tend to make the whole mowing experience a bit harder. Once sandbags are attached, you will want to monitor them to make sure they don’t get punctured.
If a sandbag is punctured, it will drop all its sand throughout your lawn and lead to more work and lawn issues. Sandbags may snag and lead to soil disruption, especially where the ground is a little uneven. In most cases, using sandbags for lawn striping should be a last resort measure if considered at all.