Lawn mower leaves lines. 19 Things You Should Never Do To Your Lawn

Getting the Best Lawn Mower Cut Quality

Cutting the lawn has more purpose than making tall grass short. It’s about crafting landscapes that bring pride, landscapes that host parties and landscapes that literally work for you. By delivering superior cut quality for your clients, your reputation as a sharp landscaper will help retain current clients and be a selling point for new ones.

Read the following tips to learn how to get the sharpest looking landscapes. On a zero turn lawn mower, there are both adjustments and techniques landscapers can make and perform to ensure a smooth, even and appealing result with each mowing.

Adjust lawn mow​​​er deck pitch

Fine tuning a mower deck enables the aerodynamic design of the cutting chamber to lift grass, cut it evenly and discharge it effectively.

What is mowe​​​r deck pitch?

Lawn mower deck pitch, or sometimes referred to as, rake, is the tilt of the mower deck from front to back. Forward deck pitch creates an air seal at the front of the deck when the blades are rotating. This seal limits air entry into the cutting chamber to the rear of the deck, allowing the aerodynamic design of a Gravely lawn mower deck to maximize grass lift and cut evenly. This design results in a superior cut quality and an even discharge that’s less likely to clump.

For most effective results, a lawn mower deck should have a pitch, or height difference of 1/8-inch to 1/2-inch between the front of the deck to the back of the deck. Naturally, this makes the sweet spot about 1/4-inch of pitch, depending on the mower model. In any case, the front of the deck should be pitched lower than the deck rear. Be careful not to pitch too much that you start scalping lawns.

How to adjust l​​awn mower pitch

All Gravely decks are built so their owners can adjust deck pitch quickly and easily. There’s no special tools or mechanical training required to complete this procedure, either. Just a couple wrenches and a few pieces of hardware. Before you begin, park the mower on a flat, level surface, stop the engine, remove the key, check that the tire pressures are equal and grab a tape measure.

Check ​pitch

As directed in the operator’s manual:

  • Raise the mower deck to a cutting height of 3.5 inches.
  • Manually and carefully turn the blades so they’re positioned front to back. When manually turning blades, always grab the dull edge of the blade.
  • Measure:
  • The distances between the front tips of the outer blades and the ground.
  • ​The distances between the rear tips of the outer blades and the ground.
  • If front measurements are lower than the rear measurements by less than 1/8 inch or more than 1/2 inch, adjust pitch.

Adjust pitch

Deck pitch can be adjusted by lowering the front of the deck, raising the rear of the deck or a combination of both. Be sure to make adjustments so that the distances of your final measurements at the front of the deck accurately reflect the cutting height of 3.5 inches that was set earlier.

​​T​​o lower the high side of deck:

  • Loosen jam nuts against deck lift links.
  • Turn adjustment bolts counterclockwise.
  • Retake measurements and continue adjustment, if necessary.
  • Tighten jam nuts against deck lift links.

To raise the low side of deck:

  • Loosen jam nuts against deck lift links.
  • Turn adjustment bolts clockwise.
  • Retake measurements and continue adjustment, if necessary.
  • Tighten jam nuts against deck lift links.​

After pitch adjustment is complete, check deck level.​

Leveling yo​​ur mower deck

Level the mower deck to ensure grass cutting height is even across the width of the deck. This will help ensure a smooth and seamless side-by-side blend between each row of freshly cut grass.

What is lawn mower deck leveling?

This is easier to understand than deck pitch. Deck leveling is simply making the cutting height on the left side of the deck even with the cutting height on the right side of the deck. In all cases, decks should be level with as little variance between each side of the cutting deck as possible. No variance between the left and right side of the deck is best.​

How to level the mower deck​

Leveling a Gravely lawn mower deck is done the same way as pitching a Gravely mower deck, except it’s adjusting the deck height from side to side, not back to front. Same components and tools with pitching a mower deck, and as before, start with the unit parked on a flat, level surface, inflate the tires to specification and grab a tape measure.​

Check mower deck level​​

As directed in the operator’s manual:

  • Raise the mower deck to a cutting height of 3.5 inches.
  • While wearing thick, sturdy gloves, manually and carefully turn the blades so they’re positioned side to side. When manually turning blades, always grab the dull edge of the blade.
  • Measure:
  • The distance between the left blade’s left cutting edge and the ground.
  • The distance between the right blade’s right cutting edge and the ground.
  • If the distance between the left blade tip and the ground is 3/16 inches greater than or less than the distance between the right blade tip and the ground, level the deck.

How to level your la​wn mower deck

As directed in the operator’s manual

  • Loosen jam nuts against deck lift links.
  • Turn adjustment bolts counterclockwise.
  • Retake measurements and continue adjustment, if necessary.
  • Tighten jam nuts against deck lift links.
  • Loosen jam nuts against deck lift links.
  • Turn adjustment bolts clockwise.
  • Retake measurements and continue adjustment, if necessary.
  • Tighten jam nuts against deck lift links.

How to sharpen lawn ​mower blades

Same as with dull knives or scissors – they don’t cut efficiently and results in duplicate effort. On a mower, dull blades leave behind stragglers and require the terribly inefficient practice of mowing the same rows twice.

Dull blades may require a total replacement, which isn’t bad since new blades are relatively cheap and easy to replace. However, if the blades aren’t worn too far, they can be sharpened without spending money on new blades. Be aware that blades should not be sharpened if more than a half-inch of the blade material is worn away (by previous sharpening or wear) or if the air lift is eroded. If the air lift is eroded, blades can no longer lift grass effectively and cut evenly. Blades that are bent or broken should be discarded.

6 Things You Should NEVER do To Your Lawn Mower

  • Read the safety instructions and the procedure instructions in the unit’s operator’s manual.
  • Remove the mower deck according to the instructions in the operator’s manual.
  • Remove the blades according to the instructions in the operator’s manual.
  • File or grind an equal amount of blade material from each cutting edge until sharp. Do not change angle of cutting edge or round the corner of the blade.
  • Slide the blade onto an unthreaded bolt and hold the bolt horizontally. Position the blade horizontally and check for blade balance. This is critical. If the blade moves, sharpen the heavy end until the blade remains balanced in a horizontal position on the unthreaded bolt.
  • When the blade is sharpened and balanced adequately, reinstall it under the mower deck and torque it to the specification listed in the operator’s manual.
  • Reinstall the mower deck.

Cleaning your mo​​wer d​​eck

Mower decks packed with grass clippings, dirt and debris can damage your mower, affect cut quality and hurt lawns. Grass, dirt and debris holds moisture that corrodes bare metal on the spindles and mower blades, weakening them. Additionally, grass-packed cutting decks can harbor fungi and bacteria that can spread to other lawns and damage them.

Grass buildup around the discharge area can prevent clippings from discharging evenly and could lead to clumping. Grass buildup under the deck can also affect the aerodynamics of the cutting chamber, disrupt the air lift under the deck (detailed in What is mower deck pitch?) and affect the cut quality.

Good lawn mo​​​wi​​ng techniques

Sometimes, getting a better cut quality can be achieved by breaking a few bad habits like mowing too fast, mowing in the same pattern and cutting grass too short.

Why you shouldn’t mow t​​oo fast

For busy landscapers, efficiency is important. And while landscapers will find many creative ways to shave time off each job, patience on the jobsite yields better results. Driving faster than the mower blades and deck can process overwhelms the deck and leaves behind stragglers and clumping. Slowing down the drive speed of a mower allows the blades enough time to lift, cut and discharge grass clippings evenly.

Why you should mow ​​in different patterns

After mowing the same properties, landscapers will learn the best way to navigate through their clients’ properties and will sometimes stick to one efficient mowing pattern. However, mowing in the same pattern is bad for lawns.

Grass is like hair. If it’s accustomed to being pushed in the same direction, it learns which way to fall. After mowing in the same paths cut after cut, grass falls to one direction and doesn’t stand straight up, making it more difficult for the mower to lift the grass and cut it evenly.

Additionally, mowing in the same pattern creates ruts. The weight of a mower driving over the same rows with each mowing causes the soil under a mower’s wheels to become compacted. As soil compacts, it restricts water, air and nutrients from reaching grass roots, leading to grass discoloration in those mower tracks.

To avoid these issues, landscapers should mow in a different pattern that crisscrosses the pattern of the previous mowing.

Why you shouldn’t cu​​t grass too short

Grass that’s kept longer grows healthier.

Grass that’s cut too short becomes stressed because it uses its energy re-growing what was just cut instead of growing its root system. Longer grass makes healthier lawns because longer grass has deeper root systems which access moisture and nutrients more effectively. Additionally, longer grass helps prevent the ability for weeds to take hold in the soil and germinate because tall grass blocks sunlight from those weeds.

How Lawn Mower Blades Cut Grass (at 50,000 FRAMES PER SECOND). Smarter Every Day 196

Landscapers should cut no more than one-third of the length of grass with each mowing.

Best mowers for good cu​​t ​​quality

Performing service and adjustments on any lawn mower makes a big difference in cut quality, but you’ll never get the best cutting quality without having the right equipment. Consumers have numerous choices in a commercial lawn mower, but they’re not built alike.

Gravely commercial lawn mowers are designed for landscapers. Not only is a Gravely durable, reliable and comfortable, but each Gravely is designed to deliver superior cutting results.

Strong de​​ck stability

As opposed to decks that shake excessively when cutting, Gravely decks are sturdy and move with the contours of each landscape, ensuring an even cut.

Cutting deck di​​mensions

The deep depth of a fully fabricated Gravely commercial mower deck processes greater volumes of grass faster with reduced need to compromise speed for quality on the jobsite.

Superior deck aero​​dynamics

Grass is lifted and discharged evenly and effectively, meaning there’s less chance for stragglers and clumping.

Constant belt tension

Gravely’s trademarked constant belt tension, or CBT, applies the same tension to a brand new mower belt than it does to an older, stretched mower belt. This ensures consistent blade tip speed and cutting results throughout the life of the belt, even as it wears.​

Lawn mowe​​​r dealers near me

Ready to learn more about the machines that have been shaping the American landscape for over a century? Stop by your local Gravely dealer to explore Gravely’s full product lineup and to get replacement parts like belts, blades and more. Add a Gravely lawn striper kit this season to enhance each lawn by giving it that professional, finished look.​

Whether you’re a green thumb or not, it’s easy to maintain a barefoot-worthy lawn with these tips.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

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Don’t Plant the Wrong Types of Grass

To grow a green, healthy lawn, be sure to plant the right type of turfgrass for your location. Some grasses can withstand dry summer heat, while others tolerate harsh winters. Northern states will have luck with cool season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and red fescue. Bermudagrass, centipedegrass and other warm season grasses do best in warmer areas.


Don’t Remove Grass Clippings

Leaving grass clippings on the lawn after you mow can cause thatch problems, right? Nope! That’s a myth. Turns out, grass clippings can actually help with the overall health of your lawn. And that means less work for you when you mow.

Don’t Forget About Aeration

Most lawns, whether seeded or sodded, are planted over a fairly skimpy layer of topsoil. Over time, lawn mowers, pets and pick-up football games compact the soil, making it difficult for air, water and vital nutrients to penetrate to the grass roots.

Your challenge: Restore healthy soil conditions that nurture your lawn. To loosen and aerate the lawn, rent a power core aerator. They’re available at rental centers, plus some hardware stores and garden centers.

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Don’t Use a Dull Lawn Mower Blade

Dull mower blades rip through the grass blades instead of slicing them cleanly, and that stresses the plants. You can always tell a lawn that’s been mowed with a dull blade because it looks brown on the top. Get on your hands and knees and you can actually see the lawn damage. Be sure to sharpen your mower blade each season to keep your lawn in good shape.


Don’t Water Every Day

Did you know your lawn can actually become dependent and needy if it has too much water? Instead of watering every day for 15 minutes, choose one day a week to water your lawn for an entire hour. Deep watering makes your lawn healthier and more drought-tolerant.

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Don’t Forget the Dethatcher

Thatch is a layer of slowly decomposing grass stems, roots, clippings and debris that accumulate at the soil surface over time. It can build up in your lawn and virtually choke it to death. If you’re wondering why your lawn isn’t healthy and lush, thatch buildup could be the answer.

Excessive thatch buildup is commonly found in lawns that have been over-fertilized or over-watered and have never been aerated. Thatch buildup of 3/4-inch or more will restrict water and nutrient penetration into the soil (think thatched roof) and can harbor disease-causing organisms that can increase the need for pesticides.

Slice open a section of turf. If the thatch is more than 3/4-inch thick, its time to dethatch your lawn.

Don’t Give Up on Shady Areas

Growing grass under shade trees isn’t easy, but one key to success is knowing what grass species grows in shade and the planting method for your region. In cool-season areas, you’ll get better results with seed than sod. Sod is grown in wide-open fields under conditions that favor sun-loving grasses.

Choose red and tall fescues for shady areas in Northern zones. Garden centers will have grass seed mixes formulated for shade. Late summer and mid-spring are the best times to establish cool-season grasses in shady areas

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Don’t Fertilize Shady Areas

People tend to over-apply fertilizer to shady areas because the grass is struggling. But that just kills it faster!

Many people really have two lawns — the one that gets full sun for most of the day, and a shaded lawn that may get only two to four hours of direct sun. Their water and fertilizer needs differ. The shady-area grass needs less water because less evaporates, and less fertilizer because with less sun it doesn’t grow as much. When you go into shade, shift the controls on the spreader so you’re spreading about half the amount.

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Don’t Forget to Check Soil Moisture

Common wisdom for establishing the correct length of time to water is to place a pie pan in the yard and note how long it takes to fill 1/2-inch deep. But experts prefer a more accurate method that takes soil conditions into account. Heavier soil doesn’t absorb moisture nearly as fast as loose or sandy soil, so it needs to be watered longer.

After an extended warm, dry period (dry soil is the key), set up your lawn sprinkler and set a timer for 30 minutes. Then turn off the water and check the soil for moisture depth. Do this by pushing a shovel into the lawn and tipping it forward to expose the soil. See how deep the water has penetrated. Moist soil will be darker. Your goal is to run the sprinkler until the water penetrates three to four inches into the soil.

If the water has not penetrated far enough, restart the watering and continue to keep track of the time. Check again in another 15 minutes. With trial and error, you’ll eventually arrive at the optimal length of time to water for your soil type and water pressure.


lawn, mower, leaves, lines, things, never

Don’t Wait Too Long Between Mowing

If you came back from a vacation and the neighbor kid neglected to mow the grass, don’t try and mow it all in one day. Cut off some of the length, then wait a couple of days and mow again. This will cause less stress on the grass. You may need three passes depending on how long the grass grew.

Don’t Skip Reseeding the Lawn

Reseeding is a job you can do in a weekend if you have an average-size lawn. You’ll have to wrestle home a couple of engine-powered rental machines. Once your reseeding work is done, be prepared to keep the soil damp with daily watering for the first month or so.

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Don’t Cut Grass Too Short

There is an optimal height to cut grass for every grass type, and you are better off cutting it on the high side of that height. There are a few reasons. Each grass blade is a food factory of the plant. Short blades can’t generate as much food as long blades. Long blades also shade and cool the soil. That means weed seeds are less likely to sprout, and you won’t have to water as often because water won’t evaporate as fast. Not sure what type of grass you have? Take a sample to a garden center for identification.


Don’t Mow in the Same Direction Every Time

It’s easy to fall into a routine as you mow your lawn week in, week out over the course of a summer. But try not to make your lawn mowing routine too repetitive. Instead, mow in a different direction every time: front to back, back to front, diagonal, etc. Repeatedly mowing the exact same way will cause the grass blades to grow at an angle, and you may develop permanent tracks from the mower wheels.

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Don’t Mow Wet Grass

Mowing wet grass can cause the mower wheels to leave ruts in your yard, and you could leave behind giant clumps of clippings that could smother the grass beneath. And the wet grass will carpet the underside of your mower deck with a thick mat that’s a pain to clean.

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Don’t Use Broadleaf Herbicides in Extreme Temperatures

To maintain a weed-free landscape, you must kill the weeds when they’re growing. That’s because herbicides are absorbed through the leaves and then sent throughout the rest of the plant. When the weather is too cool, the weed isn’t growing and the herbicide won’t be absorbed, so the chemical isn’t as effective. Too hot, and the herbicide will stress the grass. The product directions will give you the best temperature range. Apply herbicides when rain isn’t forecasted; a soaking will just rinse off the herbicide before it can do any good.

Don’t Overfeed

When fertilizing your lawn be careful not to apply too much fertilizer, especially in sandy soils. That is because a good portion of it will leach through the soil and make its way into our precious groundwater, lakes, streams and wetlands. Lawn grasses only need a certain amount of food. isn’t always better.

Don’t Ignore Pet Areas

Dog spots are round, brown spots on your lawn, about four to eight inches in diameter with dead grass in the middle, encircled by dark green grass. Often caused by a winter’s worth of animal urine, they’re most apparent in the early spring when dormant grass first begins to turn green again. You have to replant your grass; it won’t come back on its own. But first you have to dilute or remove the caustic urine from the soil. Thoroughly soak the area with lots of water.

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Don’t Discount Compost

Top-dress your lawn with high-quality compost. Compost can bring depleted or damaged soil back to life, resulting in stronger root systems and happier plants. One teaspoon of compost contains a billion beneficial microorganisms that help create better soil structure and texture, which improves nutrient, water and air retention.

To apply compost, spread it over your lawn with a shovel, aiming for a layer 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Then work it into the turf with a rake. It’s best to do this after aerating. Most garden centers sell bagged compost. But to cover an entire yard, you’re better off buying in bulk. Don’t worry about buying too much — any leftovers will benefit your garden and shrub beds.

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Don’t Remove ALL Fallen Leaves

Did you know that decomposing leaves are actually great for your lawn? Leaves have organic matter in them that works as a natural fertilizer, helping your grass to grow the following year.

According to Sam Bauer, a turfgrass researcher from the University of Minnesota, fallen leaves can even suppress the growth of weeds. He recommends mulching leaves by using a lawn mower (specifically with a specialized mulching blade, if you have one) to cut them up. However, if you have huge piles of leaves on your lawn, it may be hard to mulch all at once, and this can smother your grass. Remove those piles until you have a good dusting of leaves around your lawn before mulching with your mower. Learn how to care for your organic lawn.

Common Lawn Mowing Patterns and When to Use Them

Nadia Hassani is a a Penn State Master Gardener with nearly 20 years of experience in landscaping, garden design, and vegetable and fruit gardening.

Andrew Hughes is a certified arborist, member of the International Society of Arborists specializing in tree heal care, and reviews tree content on The Spruce’s Gardening Review Board. He founded and runs Urban Loggers, LLC, a company offering residential tree services in the Midwest and Connecticut.

A lawn mowing pattern might sound fancy and unnecessary but in fact, every time you are mowing the lawn, you are creating a pattern. Regularly changing up the mowing pattern is not only done for aesthetic purposes but also because it benefits the lawn.

Benefits of Changing Your Lawn Mowing Pattern

When you mow the lawn, the weight of the mower compacts the soil where the tires touch the ground. To minimize impact, it is important to cut the grass so the tires travel in a different track each time.

Mowing the lawn in the same pattern every time also wears out the grass in the tire tracks. This leads to bare spots in which weeds will quickly grow. Reseeding those spots has only limited success because new grass won’t grow well in compacted soil.

How to Pick a Pattern

Whether you stick to the basics of changing up your lawn mowing pattern, or you create one that gives the lawn a manicured look that is the envy of the neighborhood is a question of how much time and effort you want to put into it.

Some lawn cutting pattern can draw the eye inwards and can make a focal point, such as the house, stand out more.

Factors Affecting Lawn Mowing Patterns

The appearance of a pattern very much depends on the angle from you look at it. Grass blades that are bent away from you look lighter because there is a larger blade surface reflecting the light whereas those bent towards you look darker because the blade surface reflecting the light is smaller.

Cutting the lawn in an opposite pattern by alternating the direction of the stripes creates the most contrasting effect, regardless of the viewer’s angle. The sun exposure also plays a role in how intense the pattern looks at different times of the day.

The intensity of the lawn stripes also depends on the length of the cut. Shorter grass blades bend less and thus reflect light less than longer blades. Grass cut to 3 or 3 ½ inches instead of the minimum height of 2 to 2 ½ inches creates considerably more visible striping.

To intensify the stripes, you can use a lawn roller or lawn striper to bend the grass further, a practice used by professional lawn care companies.

Not all grasses are equally suitable for lawn mowing patterns. The more a grass bends, the better the visual effects of the pattern. The visual effects of striping are typically less prominent in warm-season grasses because they are more rigid and bend less than cold-season grasses.

Be mindful of the grass clippings that your lawn mower leaves behind. A heavy accumulation of grass clippings can hamper the visual effect of the stripes, as well as suffocate and kill grass, so make sure that grass clippings are evenly distributed over the lawn.

Common Lawn Mowing Patterns

Unless otherwise noted, it is best to mow around the perimeter of the lawn two to three times to create a clean border that you can use as a visual guideline and for turning.

Always overlap the stripes or rows so the lawn mower does not compact the soil in the exact same track.

Whichever pattern you chose, keep in mind that maintaining a consistent mowing speed ensures more even lines.


This is the most basic lawn mowing pattern and the one to pick when you need to get the job done in the least amount of time. Mow in straight rows, avoiding sharp turns. You can change up the pattern—it does not have to be perpendicular all the time, you can also mow stripes diagonal to your house or another focal point on your property.


Smooth waves are a variation of stripe, but instead of going straight, you use a pleasing curving pattern. Follow the first wave as the guide. Once you get to the edge, make a subtle, 180-degree turn and go in the opposite direction. Make sure to keep the turns consistent throughout entire lawn.

Varying Lines

This pattern is created by mowing two parallel rows next to each other in the same direction and the third in the opposite direction. Once you have created the first three rows, follow that pattern. You might have to double-back on the same row. The lines become more pronounced when you leave the grass clippings behind, which is a good thing to do in any pattern because it adds nutrients back to the soil.


There are two ways of starting a circle pattern, outside or inside. For a lawn without any focal points, starting on the outside is best. If you have a tree or another focal point, you can also start inside and work your way to the edge. Wherever you start this pattern, it is important that you go slowly. Overlapping the tire tracks of your mower is even more important in this pattern because in a circle, the tires create a wider track.

How To Cut Grass Like A Pro Using Lawn Mowing Patterns Techniques

Using lawn mowing patterns to cut your grass is beneficial, and makes the chore of cutting it more fun. In this post, I’ll tell you all about how to use different grass cutting techniques to create those nice straight lines in your yard, just like the pros.

Learning the basic lawn mowing patterns will make your yard look amazing, and it’s also better for the grass too.

You don’t need to spend tons of extra time learning how to cut grass like a pro, it’s all about being intentional with the way you mow.

When you are more intentional, it becomes much easier (and more fun!) to maintain a healthy lawn.

In this detailed guide, you’ll learn all about the different grass cutting techniques and patterns, and how to easily use them to make nice designs in your lawn.

Why Use Lawn Mowing Patterns?

You don’t need to be completely obsessed with having the perfect lawn to use mowing patterns. Some people totally geek out about it, and that’s cool.

I’m not one of those people, but I do like to maintain the grass and keep it looking nice (after all, it is often the backdrop for my gardens in photos).

Being intentional about how I mow, and using simple grass cutting patterns, makes it much easier to maintain a healthy lawn.

Even if you could care less about creating perfect stripes or patterns in your grass, it’s still important to pay attention to the way you mow.

Not only will your yard look nicer, your grass will be healthier, have less weeds, and be easier to maintain.

Mowing a criss cross pattern into my lawn

Benefits Of Grass Cutting Patterns

Here’s the deal, if you always use the exact same pattern every time you mow, the tire tracks will start to wear out areas of the grass. This can cause ugly dead spots, which invite weeds to grow.

Using the exact same cutting pattern over and over will also compact the grass over time, making it harder for healthy new blades to grow.

Switching up your routine on a regular basis minimizes the wear and tear damage caused by the mower tires.

Alternating mowing techniques also keeps the grass from becoming compacted, allowing plenty of airflow, and keeping it looking its best.

Plus, you need to mow it a little taller in order to get the right effect, which is better for the grass too (but more on that later).

And, as an added bonus, mowing patterns into the grass also helps to hide the weeds, giving the illusion of the perfect lawn.

Lawn mower tire tracks damage to the grass

Professional Lawn Cutting Techniques

If you want to mow your lawn like a professional (or just maintain a healthier yard), then learning the basic patterns is key.

There are a few simple techniques you can play around with to see which ones you like.

The easiest one to start with is creating stripes in your lawn. Once you get the hang of that, it will be simple to create other designs.

Other common designs are the checkerboard pattern, straight diagonal lines, a criss-cross diagonal pattern, and diamonds.

It might sound like things just got complicated, but all of these fancy designs are just variations of the simple striping pattern.

What Pattern Should I Use To Mow My Lawn?

There is no perfect pattern to use on every lawn. I personally like to mix it up, and use a different one every time.

But I have a large yard that is pretty square, so I have plenty of room to experiment. If yours is oddly shaped or small, you might find that only one or two of the designs will work.

Once you figure out the ones that look the best in your yard, and are the easiest to create, mowing actually becomes kind of fun.

Basic checkerboard lawn pattern

How To Cut Grass Like A Pro

Making lawn striping patterns won’t add any work, it just takes a little extra thought and a bit of planning at first, so you can visualize what you want to do.

You don’t have to mow over and over again, spending extra hours to create the stripes and patterns. It’s all about how the grass lays after you cut it.

As your mower goes over them, the blades of grass will bend in that direction. Then when you go the other way, the grass bends in that direction.

The light reflects off of the blades differently in each direction – and that’s what makes the lines.

Mowing the grass taller (raising the lawn mower height) will make the stripes show up better, because longer blades bend more than short ones.

How To Mow Patterns In Your Lawn Step-By-Step

You don’t need any special equipment to create the professional look in your own yard, any push or riding mower will work. Here’s how to create those pretty lawn stripes…

Step 1: Cut the outside edges – Mow around the outside edges of your yard first (just like when a Zamboni starts cleaning the ice).

This is where you’ll turn your mower as you’re cutting the rest of the grass. Having a few feet of turning space makes it much easier to create straight lines.

Cutting around the lawn edges like a zamboni

Step 2: Line up the first stripe – Make your first stripe using a landmark to keep it straight. I use the edges of my garden beds to help me get a nice straight pattern that matches the lines already in my yard.

You could also use a sidewalk, driveway, patio, or some other straight-edged hardscape in your yard as a guide.

Lining up my mower with a straight edge

Step 3: Use the first stripe as your guide – After you make your first stripe, turn your mower around on the outside edge of the lawn where you’ve already mowed.

Line your mower up so that the wheels are on the edge of the line you just created. Then follow that line to create your next stripe.

Mowing patterns into my lawn

Step 4: Repeat the same pattern – Continue going back and forth over your lawn, lining your mower up after each turn with the last stripe you created.

Each new stripe you make will be in the opposite direction of the last, creating those nice clean lines. If you end up with a crooked line, just mow back over it in the same direction to fix it.

Step 5: Go over the outside edges again (optional) – Once you’re done creating your lawn stripes, go back around the perimeter of the yard again.

This will get rid of any turn marks left over from your striping, and any unsightly clumps of grass that were dropped by the mower.

Taking this extra step gives the lawn a more finished look, but it is totally optional. If you’re already happy with the way it looks, then you can skip this step.

Once you get some practice making nice straight lines, play around with other patterns and designs to see which ones you like the best in your lawn.

How Grass Type Affects Lawn Mowing Patterns

It’s important to note that the type of grass you have can make a big difference in how dark your stripes will be.

We have Kentucky Bluegrass, which is a variety that does better in cooler climates (like we have here in MN). It has a longer blade, and is thicker and lusher than those you’d find in warmer climates.

If you live in a hot climate, have a shorter variety, or one that has a more stem than blades, it won’t bend as nicely as the longer grass types.

In that case, the patterns won’t be as prominent, or your mower may not leave any lines at all.

A simple lawn striping pattern

Lawn Mowing Patterns Tips Tricks

Creating stripes and designs in your lawn is easy, and it won’t take you any extra time to mow once you get the hang of it. Here are a few tips and tricks to remember when you’re just getting started…

  • Try to use a different pattern or change the direction of your stripes after every 2-3 mows. This will keep the grass growing its best, and avoid wear and tear damage caused by the mower tires.
  • The trick to creating darker lawn stripes is to mow the grass taller, because the blades don’t bend as well when they’re cut short.
  • Use a sidewalk, driveway, or other hardscape in your yard as a guide to keep your lines straight.
  • Experiment with different cutting patterns to see which one you like, and what looks best in your grass.

Beautiful straight lines mowed in the grass

General Tips For Mowing The Lawn

  • To help with weed control, don’t cut the grass too short. Weeds have a harder time establishing themselves in a thick, healthy lawn.
  • Cut the grass lower in the fall, and make sure it’s short before snow covers it. This will help to avoid dead spots caused by winter damage, and also prevents mold growth in early spring.
  • Remove all the leaves and other debris from your lawn before winter to avoid dead spots in the grass come spring.
  • Keep your lawn mower in tip-top shape, and always be sure the blade is sharp for a clean cut.
  • To avoid ugly clumps of grass messing up your lines, raise the mower height. Then gradually lower it when it’s time to cut your grass shorter. Mowing more frequently, and only when the grass is dry, will also prevent unsightly boogers.

When you learn how to use lawn mowing techniques and patterns, your grass will be much healthier and easier to maintain. Plus, it will look amazing too.

Yard Care Tips

Share you favorite lawn mowing patterns or tips in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев section below.

About Amy Andrychowicz

I’m an author and expert gardener who loves growing ALL of the plants. From vegetables, herbs, and flowers to cacti, succulents, tropicals, and houseplants. you name it, I’ve grown it! My green thumb comes from my parents, and I’ve been gardening for most of my life. Read

Комментарии и мнения владельцев

I started mowing a different pattern when I saw the tire marks before I mowed. Now I start the season mowing north and south, and rotate 45 degrees clockwise with each successive mowing. A little OCD, I know, but I think it looks better. I mow about 3/4 acre, so th pattern shows up.

Awesome! I feel OCD about using mowing patterns too, LOL! But it looks so much nicer, and it’s better for the grass too. Great work!

All great tips. didn’t know to lower deck before winter. Also, sharp mulching blades make a nice Clean cut. Cleaning up edges after mowing inhances the Effort you’ve put into job. it doesn’t take a lot of time to go that extra mile to show off your pride of work ! Thanks for all the great tips ! Brendan ?

Thank you for all te wonderful tips on how to mower like a pro. I will make sure my hubby read this post so he can start mowing like pros.

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Lawn Mower Leaving Uncut Grass – The complete fix with pics

It’s a common source of frustration, and ARGH!! But more than likely, the solution is a simple one, and you can fix it right now.

So why is my lawnmower leaving uncut grass? The most common cause of uncut grass is a dull blade, but it’s not the only possible reason:

This problem has many possible causes, but a dull blade is a usual suspect. Check your engine performance; if you feel the engine doesn’t sound right or it’s sluggish, go ahead and solve engine-related issues first.

Very often, uncut grass is simply caused by a dull blade. If you need help inspecting and safely sharpening your blade, check out “How to sharpen mower blade video”.

Check For Blade Damage

A defective blade will cause all kinds of problems in the grass-cutting and collection department. Examine your blade checking for loose bolts, and damaged, misaligned, bent, or broken blade tips.

Mower blades have it tough, and hitting stones, sprinklers, stumps, and dog toys is all part of the job. Mower blades turn about 50 times a second – that’s 200 mph at the tip.

So when you hit something, it’s going to damage even hardened steel. Bending and gouging chunks from the metal blade will cause uneven cutting and a horrible vibration.

A blade may look OK, but they do wear. If it’s more than four seasons old, it’s probably worn out. The leading edge cuts the grass and is easy to see when it’s worn. The trailing edge stuffs the bag, and as that edge wears, it becomes much less efficient. The solution – replace the blade.

Never attempt to repair or bend a blade; the metal has been specially treated, and interfering with this can cause them to shatter.

When replacing the blade, go ahead and get a new bolt and washer. They’re mower-specific and also specially treated, so a bolt from the local hardware store won’t be up to the job.

A torque wrench should be used to tighten the bolt to the correct specification. A quick check of your mower manual or on the dealer site will give the spec.

Blade Orientation

It’s possible to fit a blade backways, so if you fit a blade recently, just check that the orientation is correct. Hey, it could happen a Bishop, don’t worry about it!

Imagine looking down at the blade from above – the leading edge of the blade will turn clockwise.

Bent – A bent blade is dangerous, and it will cause lawn scalping and vibration and, if ignored, will damage the mower engine.

Replace – A new blade will solve many problems; when changing the blade, replace the bolt and washer too.

If you need video help replacing the blade, check out the “Replacing blade video” and if you need mower blades, check out the Amazon link below.

Dull Blade

Is your blade sharp? A dull blade is the number one reason for leaving uncut grass. The blunt blade will damage your lawn in no time at all; it tears the grass and leaves a jagged edge which turns the grass tips yellow.

The recommended way to repair the yellow grass damage – regularly cut with a sharp lawnmower blade. I tell my customers to sharpen at least once per season, and more depending on how often you cut and terrain type. A sharp blade is the secret to a healthy, beautiful green lawn.

Check out “Blade maintenance tools” here; they make the sharpening process a ton easier. And if you need video help sharpening the blade on or off the mower, check out the “Blade sharpening video”.

Sharpen – Your blade needs a sharpening once per season, at least. If you file your blade regularly, it won’t take much effort to keep sharp.

What Blade Type?

You may have a blade that doesn’t suit your climate or your needs. So what’s in a blade? Quite a lot of clever engineering, actually. A blade looks pretty unimpressive, but change it out for a different type or a new one, and you’ll be surprised at the difference in cut and finish.

There are two main blade types, the lift blade, and the mulching blade; each has its own strengths. How you intend to handle your clippings and your climate will likely dictate which blade suits you.

Lift Blade

The Lift blade, also known as the 2 in 1 (collecting or discharging), vacuums the grass upright, before cutting and moving it to the bag. These lift blades are designed for collecting grass and come in low, medium, and high lift.

Lift means sucking power, and a higher lift blade will require a more powerful engine. The lift is created by curving upwards of the trailing edge of the blade; the steeper curve, the more powerful the lift. These blades love to bag grass, wet or dry.

Lift blade – Also known as a 2-in-1, it loves to bag grass, wet or dry.

Mulching Blade

A true Mulching blade is designed to finely chop and disperse grass clippings, not collect them, a proper mulching mower won’t have a grass bag.

Many of the latest mowers are fitted with a hybrid mulching blade, also known as a 3-in-1 (collecting, discharging, or mulching). It’s sort of half lift blade, half mulching blade – Jack of all trades if you like.

These blades are not designed specifically to collect and are really best suited to very regular dry weather cutting; if the grass is tall, a 3 in 1 mulching blade may struggle to bag efficiently.

Mulching – 3 in 1 blade is good but has limited success in more challenging conditions.

Check Engine Power

Check if the throttle is set correctly; it should be set to fast/run when cutting. Does your throttle cable need adjustment? Is the engine running as it should? If the engine power is reduced, the mower will not cut well, especially when it hits a patch of heavy grass.

Lawnmowers are generally very reliable; give them a tune-up and blade sharpening at the start of every season, regardless of how it’s running. The oil should be changed every 50 hours, and clean the air filter every 25 hours, and more often in dusty dry conditions.

Check throttle lever – If your engine seems to be a bit sluggish, first check that the throttle is set to full. The lever may be reading full throttle, but the cable may not be moving at the carburetor end.

Second, check the air filter is clean, try running the engine without the filter, and see if it makes any difference.

Gas – Old fuel is the number one cause of poor engine performance. Fuel older than a month goes stale and will gum up the inside of the carburetor.

This blocks the fuel feed ports and causes fuel starvation. This results in a sluggish engine and a poorly cut lawn.

Try using a fuel stabilizer, it will keep the gas fresh for up to two years, but more importantly, it will prevent gumming up of the carburetor. Check out the video showing how to mix and add gas stabilizer. The page includes a link to the gas stabilizer I use.

If you suspect bad gas is causing sluggish engine output, try draining the fuel tank, and carburetor bowl, and filling them with fresh gas. This will very often fix the issue, and if it doesn’t, a full carburetor cleanout will.

Clutch Slip

If you’re using a tractor mower, you may have a clutch system fitted. The clutch or PTO (power take-off) transfers the engine power to the blades. When the clutch starts to fail, it slips, which means the blades are not turning with the same power or speed as normal. It will be especially noticeable in taller, heavier grass.

Some walk behind lawn mowers (Honda) use a very similar clutch set up, so if you have a separate control to engage the blade, then it’s likely you have some form of the clutch system, but note these clutch systems are cable operated and the tension on the cable may simply need to be adjusted.

lawn, mower, leaves, lines, things, never

If you don’t have a clutch fitted, but you do have a separate lever to control the blades, then your blades are possibly controlled by a tensioned belt. The Toro Time-master is a good example. (see below)

Pulling the bail lever tightens the tension on the belt and makes the blades spin; the tension on the belt may simply need to be adjusted.

Clutch – Three types of clutch, the tractor PTO, the Honda blade clutch, and finally, the belt-type clutch fitted to the Toro Time-master.

Related Questions

What causes uneven grass cutting? The most common cause of uneven grass cutting is an uneven deck. Other possible causes include:

  • Damaged blade
  • Deck wheels are set at different height
  • Tire pressures are low (tractor mower)
  • Deck height needs adjustment (tractor mower)
  • Anti-scalpwheels are missing (tractor mower)

You may find this post helpful:

Hey, I’m John, and I’m a Red Seal Qualified Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience.

I’ve worked on all types of mechanical equipment, from cars to grass machinery, and this site is where I share fluff-free hacks, tips, and insider know-how.

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