When it comes to gardens, there are few things that say ‘I know what I’m doing’ more than a perfectly striped lawn.
However, to get those beautiful stripes, you’ll need the right mower – not all of them can achieve this coveted effect.
Choosing the best lawn mower for stripes on your lawn will depend on the size of your garden, the effort you’re willing to put in, and how much money you’re prepared to part with. The information below will help you make a more informed decision.
How to Create Lawn Stripes
Whilst some mowers can achieve a small amount of ‘striping’ on the lawn just from their weight on the grass whilst mowing, you’ll need a rear roller attachment for clearer, more defined striped.
A rear roller mower is, as the name suggests, a roller that fits on to the back of the mower. Some lawn mowers come with these already attached, or sometimes it’s possible to separately purchase a roller and attach it to the back of your existing mower.
The mower cuts your grass normally, and then the roller is dragged over the cut grass behind the mower. This folds the grass, causing it to reflect the sun in a certain way. Mowing in the opposite direction will fold the grass the opposite way. This creates surfaces that reflect light differently and therefore appear to be two different colours.
Using a rear roller to create stripes doesn’t require you to do anything additional when mowing the lawn. As long as you line up the mower for each pass, to ensure you’re going in a straight line, the stripes should be easy to achieve. You’ll need to lift up the rear roller at the end of a run so that you can turn without making stripes.
Choosing Between an Electric and Petrol Lawn Mower
Petrol lawn mowers are powerful and a good choice for bigger gardens. They can be used to tackle wet grass and longer growth. The downsides are that they are noisy, not the best for the environment and require a fair amount of maintenance. They can be bulky and heavy, often weighing upwards of 30 kg.
For creating stripes, I have recommended electric lawn mowers over petrol lawn mowers because they are easier to control precisely.
Mains-powered lawn mowers are low maintenance and tend to be lighter (10 – 15 kg). For standard mowing jobs, modern electric mowers have more than enough power. They just might not make it through a lot of long grass. The only real downside to a mains-powered electric mower is that your movement will be limited due to the cable length. You may have to use an extension cable, which adds an additional hazard as you need to make sure not to cut through it.
Cordless battery powered mowers are lightweight and allow you to move freely around the garden. They are best for small to medium size gardens, as the battery life tends to be under 30 minutes. They are very easy to use and manage.
Self-Propelled Mowers vs Manual-Push Mowers
Self-propelled lawn mowers use engine power to achieve forward motion, with the alternative being users pushing the mower manually. If you’ve got a large area to mow, an uneven lawn or a lot of slopes, using a self-propelled mower will make the job a lot easier. You won’t need to support the weight of the mower and push it over these areas.
However, self-propelled mowers require a lot more power, which can make them heavier, larger and more expensive than push mowers. Although the extra weight is fine when the self-propulsion is activated, there are times when you’ll need to move the mower without the engine on. They can be a little trickier to move in and out of storage, or up steps in the garden, especially if you struggle with upper-body strength.
Push mowers are a great budget option. However, they are most suitable for those with flat, even lawns and grass that doesn’t get too long. The mower is pushed by hand, with no help from the motor, which can make them harder work than self-propelled mowers.
Push mowers are generally smaller, lighter and cheaper than self-propelled models. They’re a good option for smaller gardens, and can be a bit easier to manage than self-propelled mowers, especially because they don’t require you to ‘keep up’ with the set speed.
The size of your garden is important for two reasons – it will dictate the cutting width that you should choose, as well as the size of the mower’s grass-collector bag.
Larger mowers will have a cutting width of between 40 – 53 cm. These are most appropriate for medium/large gardens because a larger width means less passes are required to cut the whole lawn. However, a large mower can be a hinderance in smaller gardens; the wide width can make the machine hard to manoeuvre and difficult to get into tight corners.
A small lawn mower can be very narrow – down to a cutting width of 30 cm. Even in a medium-size garden, this may be too small because you’ll have to do a lot of passes with the mower. However, it can be useful in small gardens and gardens with narrow pathways.
Cutting widths ranging from 30 – 40 cm should be suitable for small/medium gardens.
The Grass Collector
A grass collector of 30 L is considered relatively small. It may be too small for a medium garden, especially if the grass is quite long – you will find yourself frequently emptying the collection bag.
For medium gardens, a grass collector of 40 L+ should be sufficient. Some larger mowers will have a grass collector of 70 L.
Whilst having a large grass collector sounds ideal, because you won’t have to empty it often, it does have its disadvantages. Primarily, a large, full grass collector can be very heavy. This can make the mower difficult to push. If you have a self-propelled mower, it will use more fuel to push a heavier mower.
Cutting Options: Collect, Discharge or Mulch
Mowers can have different methods of disposing of grass clippings. Having options can help you control the health and appearance of your lawn.
Some mowers have a mulching function. This requires a mulching ‘plug’ to be attached to the lawn mower. This accessory will shred the clippings into tiny pieces before discharging them onto your lawn. This helps keep your lawn healthy and retain moisture.
Other lawn mowers will either discharge or collect the clippings. If you are striping your lawn, you will probably want the clippings to be collected by the mower, so that they don’t ruin the effect.
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