Ask someone in the street to describe your typical British lawn and one thing that always comes to mind is stripes. In fact, the striped lawn is something quite unique (although not exclusive) to the UK. Any fan of tennis or cricket will be more than familiar with the truly spectacular quality of the grounds. Now I'm not going to tell you that achieving the perfect lawn is easy but hopefully with the tips I've been giving in these columns you'll have the know how. If you've ever wanted to get the perfect stripes on your own lawn then read on.
First step is the right machine. You have two choices here: rotary or cylinder. A rotary mower is your standard machine with a spinning blade on the underside of the machine. These are cheaper to buy and maintain. The other option is a cylinder mower, which are your more traditional machine and the tool of choice for professional groundsman. These are more expensive but give you a much higher quality cut. Whatever mower you have, make sure it has a rear roller as this is what gives you the striping effect. The roller is weighted so as it passes over the grass it lays it down in the direction of travel. By travelling in opposite directions on each pass you lay the grass in opposing directions to give you the striped effect, simple.
Start mowing from one end of the lawn and gradually work your way to the other. If you have a rectangular lawn, use the lawn edge or a fixed object as your focal point to help keep those stripes straight. Once your reach the end of one pass, make the turn and line up the mower so the next stripe slightly overlaps the last one.
Try not to mow stripes in the same direction every time and change it round every now and then. This will prevent the grass from growing flat and to prevent ruts forming in the lawn. Be sure also to regularly empty the grass box.
And that's it, a beautifully striped lawn. But don't think for a second that stripes only have to be straight. Use your imagination and get creative. Try putting some patterns into your lawn for something a little different or try crossing your stripes to create a patchwork effect.
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