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How to Stripe a Lawn Without a Roller

green grass with copy space natural green plants landscape ecology space care nature idea fresh wallpaper as background How to Stripe a Lawn Without a Roller

Can you put stripes in your lawn without a roller? Absolutely. And you don’t need a major league grounds team, an expensive roller, or a striping kit to do it.

You can get the job done with your lawnmower, a wide shop brush, a squeegee, or even a piece of wood. You may have to mow your lawn a few times before the grass blades will continue to lay in the direction you want.

There is a process you will need to follow to stripe your lawn. It is not difficult but does require a bit of consistency. 

Here are the lawn striping techniques you can use to have an eye-catching lawn.

green grass field pattern background soccer football How to Stripe a Lawn Without a Roller
Striped football/soccer field

What Causes the Stripes?

The striping effect is achieved by bending grass in two different directions. The stripes you see are caused by light reflecting off the grass. Or not. Grass tips do not reflect much light. These are the dark stripes. The lighter stripes are made of light reflecting off the grass blades.

The stripes will look darker or lighter depending on the amount of light and the direction you are seeing them from. 

Benefits of a Striped Lawn

Besides increasing the curb appeal of your property and making your neighbors envious, striped lawns can improve the health of your lawn. Proper striping can help increase the amount of sunlight your grass gets. Changing patterns occasionally allows plenty of sunlight to get to all sides of the blades. 

Proper lawn striping needs longer grass–3 – 4 inches. Thick grass helps choke out weeds, prevents new weed growth, and encourages healthy roots.

How to Stripe Your Lawn

Before starting, you should have a plan. Straight stipes are most common, but you and also opt for a diagonal scheme,  a checkerboard, or something really creative. Make sure your grass is long enough–4″ is optimal–and your lawnmower blade is sharp.

You can usually make stripes in most types of grass–although fescue and ryegrass work best. Some grasses, like Bermuda grass, are a little harder to make lay down. Just takes a little more effort.

Stripe Your Lawn With a Lawnmower

Lawnmower striping is much easier and quicker if you are using a riding mower. It can be done with a push mower. It just takes longer and uses more energy. 

Set your lawnmower to leave 3 – 4 inches of crass. Make one cut around the perimeter of your lawn. Then mow the rest of the lawn in straight lines. Mow from one end to the other. Turn 180 degrees and mow in the other direction. Continue until the entire lawn is done. 

When complete, set the deck as low as possible. Turn off the blades. You are using the machine to bend the grass; not to cut it. (If using a push mower, there is no need to start it.) Run the mower in the exact same pattern and directions. You will be bending the grass in opposite directions each pass.

One pass may not produce the exact effect you intended. It may take more than one pass, or even a couple of mowings to get your grass to cooperate. 

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Lawnmower striping

Stripe Your Lawn With a Shop Broom

Shop brooms can work well on smaller lawns. They are available in many widths–giving you different striping options. (Using two different-sized brooms can make for an interesting effect.) Use a soft bristle broom. Stiff bristle brooms can damage or even tear out your grass.

Walk backward across your lawn in straight lines exerting light downward pressure on the handle. Walk in opposite directions every second line. With enough passes, the blades of grass will stay down.

Two More Sawn Striping Options

Here are a couple of more quick inexpensive lawn striping ideas for smaller properties.

  • Floor Squeegee. Floor squeegees also come in different widths. They are made of rubber or a rubber-like material, so don’t put too much pressure on the handle as you are pulling it across the grass. You will likely be pulling out or crushing grass blades. Follow the same pattern of opposite directions every second pass.
  • 2 x 4. Cut a 2 x 4 to the length of stripes you want to make. Screw a 2 x 2 handle onto the top of it–forming a T. Drag it across the lawn following the same pattern. 2 x 4s are fairly smooth–allowing you to exert more pressure on the handle without damaging the grass.

Lawn Striping Maintenance

Mow your lawn in the same direction you striped it. This keeps grass laying in the same direction. To keep the stripes on your lawn looking their best, mow the grass twice a week. Otherwise, the grass may grow out and begin to look straggly.

After about 3 weeks, change your striping pattern. To 90 degrees or 45 degrees of the original. Or to a pattern. “What kind of idiot am I dealing with,” you are thinking. “I just got it perfect.”

Running your lawnmower in the same pattern over and over will eventually leave ruts–especially if the grass is wet occasionally. Changing patterns and directions help ensure strong healthy grass.