How Do I Put Stripes On My Lawn?


A smart and crisp striped lawn is as British as Blackadder, Wimbledon and Chicken Tikka Masala and lawn enthusiasts and sports ground-staff across the country, spend time and effort creating manicured, beautifully finished lawns. But what is the secret of a stripy lawn? How do you do it and what exactly gives that effect. If you are interested in striping your lawn there are some tips and answers to some of your questions here.

What Are The Stripes?

The stripes are actually an optical illusion caused by the light hitting the grass blades in different ways.

How Does It Work?

When you flatten blades going one way and then flatten them coming back the other way, there is less the light reflected by the blades pointing towards you than reflected by the broad part of the blades directed away so one looks dark while the other looks light.

So How Is It Achieved?

It is simply a matter of flattening the grass in different directions. 

Are All Stripes The Same?

No. The heavier or more effective your flattening surface, the deeper and more defined the stripes. Also the more even and smart your cut, the better the stripes will look, so if you are interested in stripes, go for the equipment you can afford. And you can make more elaborate patterns, as made famous buy various football groundsmen in recent seasons. 


Is There Anything I Need To Do First?

Think about which direction the stripes are going to go. remember, as it’s all down to light they will change in appearance as you move around the garden. Make sure the lawn is clear. Make sure you give it a good cut and perhaps edge round it first. Have a look to see if there are any lumps and bumps that need removing. 

How Many Different Methods Are Used To Create Stripes?

 Within the basic principle of flattening grass blades, there are a number of different methods.

  1. Mow with a standard mower then roll the lawn with a push or towed roller
  2. Mow with a rotary mower with a striping flap
  3. Mow with a rear-roller rotary mower
  4. Mow with a rear-roller cylinder mower
  5. Mow with a rear-roller ride-on mower/lawn tractor

Can You Give More Details About These Methods?

Yes. They are all very different and have their own benefits and disadvantages. 

1/ Mow with a standard mower then roll the lawn with a push or towed roller

 Mowing with a standard mower then pushing or pulling a mower by hand is certainly going to give you some exercise. Probably the most laborious of the methods, if you get a good cut to start with and have a decent, heavy, roller you can get very good results indeed and this is how bowling greens used to be finished before the invention of larger, heavy-rollered cylinder mowers. Iy you tow a roller with a ride-on you can also get good results but your turning circle is an issue to be addressed. Rollers lik,e the one pictured can be filled with water or sand to give you the weight and usually come with rolled edges for a smooth run and are often made from corrosion free material. The hand roller option is probably the best option if you are looking for stripes on a budget and a towed roller is a good way to get more value from your ride-on garden or lawn tractor.



Einhell BG-GR-57 Lawn & Garden Roller

2/ Mow with a rotary mower with a striping flap

This kind of mower may have a plastic or fabric flap at the rear which serves to press the grass down instead of a roller his is a relatively cheap way of achieving stripes and quite easy to carry out but the stripes are unlikely to be very defined and a rear striping flap is considerably less effective than a roller.

3/ Mow with a rotary mower with a rear-roller

This is a popular option and mowing your lawn with a good quality rotary mower can give you very good stripes indeed. There are a number of types and styles and they come in all types of power, petrol, electric and even cordless. There are a number of well-known makes including Hayter, the granddaddy of rotary rear-roller mowers, but many high-quality makes are available from Mountfield, Lawnflite, Massport and some newer quality machines like the pictured self-propelled petrol powered Morrison Oxford.



Morrison Oxford 48RS Petrol Rear-Roller Mower 

4/ Mow with a rear-roller cylinder mower

Probably the best known and tried and tested method of producing defined lawn stripes the rear-roller cylinder mower generally gives a very sharp and low finish and a very clearly defined stripe. A cylinder mower works differently from a rotary mower. In a rotary mower, the cut is made by a circling horizontal blade. 


Rotary Method

In a cylinder mower, the multiple blades are set into a cylinder that rotates forward in a clockwise direction. These blades cut against another blade that sits at the bottom front of the deck, so it is more like a scissor cut, crisper, neater and causing less damage to the grass blades, the roller, often split for easy turning, then leaves the stripe.              


Cylinder Mower Method

Old established brand names include quality manufacturer Masport and major market specialists Allett, who build very high quality, traditional cylinder mowers for domestic gardens and also provide professional cylinder roller machines to major professional sports arenas across the UK. pictured is an Allett Classic Cylinder mower. 


Allett Classic 12EL Petrol Cylinder mower


5/ Mow with a rear-roller ride-on mower/lawn tractor

This is basically a larger version of using a rotary mower. A ride-on rear-roller mower usually involves a large rotary cut. The difference is, of course, scale. You cutting width will probably be wider, and the weight will be more so stripes may well be defined. This method will certainly save you effort and can be very enjoyable. There are a number of fine rear-roller ride-on mowers from the likes of Mountfield, Lawnflite and the pictured example is from premium manufacturer Simplicity.



Simplicity Regent SLT250 Garden Tractor with Striping Roller

Ultimately it is a matter of choice and budget but whichever method you go for, you will find a wide range of all types of lawn rollers on these pages and some of the best rear-roller mowers on these pages


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