Have you ever wondered how they create dark and light bands that you see on the turf of a golf course or a sports stadium? You are wrong if you think it is lawn paint, grass being cut at different heights, or two different breeds of grass grown together! These light and dark color bands are created using a specialized mowing technique called lawn striping. In this technique, grass blades are bent in different directions using a striping kit attached to a lawn mower. When light hits the grass, differently bent grass reflects sunlight at different angles, creating a visual effect of dark and light stripes. In this article, let’s find out if you need a striping kit for lawn mower.
Photo Credit Lawn striping can improve the value of your property, its curb appeal and lawn health.
Unlike what most people believe, lawn striping is not for just the big leagues. If you have a lawn and a mower, all you need is a simple add-on known as a lawn roller or a lawn striping kit. Striping your lawn can be satisfying, fun and a great hobby that might make your neighbors jealous. Moreover, striping your lawn increases the curb appeal of your property, its value and is beneficial for grass health.
However, lawn striping is not suitable for all grass types, the lawn should not be striped in the same patterns every mowing session, and it only works best if your grass is cut at a proper height. So, let’s go ahead and learn about grass striping in detail and see if buying a lawn striping kit is worth the money!
Why Would You Stripe A Lawn?
Photo Credit In addition to being aesthetic, lawn stripes promote healthy grass growth.
If you keep mowing your grass in a single direction, it creates ruts, grooves and low-growth spots that can result in an uneven and spotted lawn. In uneven lawns, tall grass can form a canopy over short grass, blocking their access to sunlight.
That is where striping the lawn can save the day! It prevents lawn deformities and helps you create a lawn that is uniform all across. Moreover, lawn striping is aesthetic, but that’s not all. Creating stripes on your lawn comes with many added practical benefits.
For example, it can give you definitive lines to follow, which you can use as a guide while fertilizing or overseeding your lawn. By creating stripes on your lawn, you can also detract attention from deformities in your lawn, such as bare spots or weeds.
How Does Lawn Striping Work?
Photo Credit Lawn stripes are created using a heavy weight to bend the grass blades in different directions.
Lawn stripes are created by bending grass in different directions. Differently bent grass reflects the sunlight differently, creating a visual effect of dark and light bands. The turf appears light in the areas where the grass blades are bent towards you. While in the areas where the grass is turned away from you, the turf appears dark. Fun fact, if you see a light-colored stripe from the opposite direction, it will appear dark.
In order to create stripes on your turf, you will need to apply weight to bend the grass blades. This is achieved using a lawn roller —a heavy roller made of metal or plastic. A lawn roller usually comes with mounting hardware (a lawn striping kit) with which you can attach it to your lawn mower, typically on the rear end.
Is A Lawn Striping Kit Worth It?
Photo Credit You can always go for DIY striping kits if your budget is low.
Striping kits are not compulsory, and you can achieve similar effects by using a safety strip. However, if you want crisper and clearer stripes on your turf, investing in a lawn striping kit is totally worth the money, provided you can afford it. Lawn striping kits can be easily found in online marketplaces or hardware shops.
They can cost as low as $20 to $30 and as much as $100 to $200 and beyond. The most basic lawn striping kits are made of heavy rubber that can be dragged along the ground. In comparison, the expensive lawn striping kits are made up of metal cylinders that can be attached to the rear end of a mower.
So, whether or not you should buy a lawn striping kit depends on your lawn needs and requirements. Do not invest in an expensive lawn striping kit if you have a small lawn. Just buy an inexpensive one or try to get by with a simple DIY lawn striping kit.
However, if you own a large lawn or you need to create stripes on a sports field or a golf course, you should probably get a metal lawn striping kit. It will be long-lasting and create clearer and crisper stripes on the turf.
The Best Lawn Striping Kit
Photo Credit Not all lawn striping kits are compatible with all mowers.
The best lawn striping kit will vary from mower to mower. You will need to make sure that you get a lawn striping kit that fits perfectly with your lawn mower. So, when buying a striping kit, ensure that it is the same width as your lawn mower.
The choice of lawn striping kit will also vary with the type of lawn mower you own. In general, lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers have expensive kits. Moreover, depending on the kit you get, you might also need to fill its roller with sand or water.
Nonetheless, here are our favorite lawn striping kits:
How Do You Make A Homemade Lawn Striper?
It doesn’t matter which lawn mower you have; you can easily make a homemade lawn striper with just a bit of creativity. A lawn striper can be made out of old sandbags, rubber mats and pieces of PVC. Here’s how to do it:
- Measure the width of your lawn mower.
- Next, cut a PVC pipe the same length as your lawn mower.
- Create two caps for your PVC pipe and drill holes in them.
- Attach one cap with the PVC pipe and fill it with sand.
- Once done, close the PVC pipe by attaching the second cap.
- Fit bolts in the holes of your PVC pipe caps.
- Use these bolts to connect the PVC pipe with your lawn mower.
- Now, as you mow, the PVC pipe will be dragged behind, acting as a striper.
Lawn Striping Patterns
Photo Credit Do not stripe your lawn in the same pattern every time.
There are many ways in which you can create stripes on your lawn. You can either create straight stripes on your turf or make the stripes diagonally. Some people even create a checkerboard pattern of stripes on their lawns. Here is how to do it:
To create a basic stripe pattern, start from any corner of your lawn and mow the grass in any single direction till the end. At reaching the end of your lawn, turn the mower around and mow the grass in the opposite direction right next to the previously mowed region. Keep repeating till you have mowed the entire lawn.
To create a checkerboard striping pattern on your turf, first, you will have to make a basic striping pattern on your lawn, just as mentioned above. Once done, mow your lawn in the same basic pattern again; however, this time at a right angle to the previous stripes.
If you want to create a diagonal striping pattern on your lawn, you can do it by simply driving your mower from one end to the other. However, instead of moving parallel to the lawn edge as you do while creating a basic pattern, mow diagonally from the edge.
Lawn Striping & Mowing Height
If you mow your grass too short, lawn striping intensity will significantly reduce. It is because taller grass is easy to bend and has more surface area to reflect sunlight. Stripes on a turf look most clear and crisp when the grass is cut between two and four inches.
Lawn Striping Frequency
Striping can be done as many times as you mow your grass. Experts usually suggest striping the grass every two weeks for a premium striping effect. However, do not stripe your lawn in the same pattern every time. It might result in your grass lying permanently and create a matte look instead of a stripy pattern.
Lawn Striping & Grass Type
Cool-season grasses such as the Fescue grass have longer and flexible grass blades which bend easily when creating stripes on your lawn. In contrast, warm-season grasses such as Bermuda grass have rigid and shorter grass blades that do not bend easily. Even if you can somehow manage to bend their blades, they are very likely to bounce back.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I use a lawn roller for striping?
If you do not have a mower roller or a lawn or a lawn striping kit, you can still stripe your lawn using a hand-pushed garden roller.
How can I make my lawn stripes last longer?
If you want your grass stripes to last longer, the secret is to bend the grass blades as much as possible. However, not so much that your grass lies flat.
Can you stripe Bermuda grass?
You can stripe bermuda grass.However, Bermuda grass has shorter and more rigid grass blades, which are not as quickly bent as some other grass species.
Can you stripe short grass?
Taller grass is easier to bend than short grass. However, striping short grass is possible if you try hard enough, but there is a big chance that grass can spring back very soon.
How do you stripe a lawn without a striping kit?
If you do not have a lawn striping kit, you can use a simple garden roller to get the job done. Also, you can make your own lawn striper with PVC, as mentioned above.
Sources for Further Reading
To Stripe or Not: Fairway Mowing Patterns – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
Turfgrass Maintenance Rolling – University of Tennessee Extension Service
Guidelines for Mowing Lawns Properly – University of Illinois Extension
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