Making your lawn stand out with stripes

Seddon Park, Turf Manager

Karl Johnson

Hamilton, New Zealand

Ever watched the cricket or football and marvelled at the neat turf and perfect striped patterns on the field?

Turf Manager at New Zealand’s iconic Seddon Park cricket ground in Hamilton, Karl Johnson, says after more than 30 years in turf management the most common question he is asked is ‘How do you get the stripes in your grass?’.

This season, John Deere is collaborating with Karl to share his tips and tricks on how to care for your lawn, and create stripes and patterns to rival professional sporting fields.

“Keep mowing in the same direction and you'll start to make those stripes really pop.”

Karl’s tips for making your lawn stand out with stripes.

Do I need to cut the grass at different lengths to get the stripes?

No, this is a common misconception. In my field, it’s important to keep the turf the same length, as you can imagine how a cricket ball would bounce if the grass was cut unevenly.

How do I get the stripes on my lawn at home?

Use your mower to mow along the lines you want, taking care to only go in a single direction for each line. For example, for one stripe you would mow north to south, and then turn around and mow south to north for the next stripe. Going over the stripes multiple times will strengthen the effect.

My top tip: Use a string line when you first start out to help keep your lines straight.

What equipment do I need?

Because you are aiming to push the grass over as you mow, lawn mowers with bars or guards close to the ground are best. I recommend using a reel mower or cylinder mower for optimal results.

What happens if my turf keeps standing up in a different direction to the stripes?

If you are creating stripes for the first time, you will find the grass will stand back up by itself after a few days. You will also notice the stripes will fade as the grass grows. I suggest repeating the process week after week, so the grass will begin to lean naturally in the desired direction.

What if I don’t have a reel mower or a cylinder mower?

Reel and cylinder mowers will provide the best result, however if you only have a classic rotary mower at home, there are attachments you can buy that will drag behind the mower and flatten the grass.

Continuously going over the grass in one direction bends and flattens the grass blades. If we do this in the opposite direction for the next stripe, the light is reflected off the blades differently and the stripes appear as different colours.

Alternatively, you can even use a sturdy household broom to push through the grass to make your stripes.

Can I make patterns other than stripes?

Absolutely. You can use the same technique to achieve any kind of pattern, be it checkerboard, diamonds, or even circles. The patterns are only limited by your imagination.

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