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How to Stripe Your Lawn Like a Sports Field

It’s football season! If you’re like us and love gathering to watch football games with friends and family, you’ll love the idea of bringing football home to your own lawn.

Have you ever watched or attended a sporting event and wondered how the grass is so perfectly striped? Although it looks very professional, any homeowner can easily take on this project with the right tools.

Sod University will take the time to discuss how you can add stripes to your lawn (both with and without a mower attachment), the grass types that are best to accomplish this with and the benefits that come with striping your lawn.

How to Stripe Your Lawn

Lawn striping is accomplished primarily by adding an additional roller behind your mower. Some mowers come with rollers attached to the back of them, but not all of them include this piece of equipment.

The good news is, you don’t have to use any additional equipment besides a lawn mower to stripe your lawn, but an additional roller can make your stripes significantly more defined. Learn more about striping your lawn without a mower attachment here.

If you are looking for a roller attachment, be sure to check out the Toro Lawn Striping System below.

This specialized roller should be towed behind your mower and is a heavy metal or plastic roll, which bends the grass blades to a certain direction. The sun then reflects differently off of the bent grass blades that are facing different directions, which alters the coloring of the grass to a human eye. It will appear lighter or darker depending on the direction that you bend the blades.

You will not need to change anything at the end of each mowing row you create. Simply change the direction you are mowing in to create a contrasting look with the previous row you mowed.

When striping your lawn with a roller attachment, there are a few things you should take note of:

  • Don’t mow or use a lawn striping roller when the grass is wet. This will make the grass matted and could damage your lawn.
  • You should also keep your mower blades sharp to get a consistent cut and to keep your grass from looking torn. Crisp cut grass blades bend more consistently than torn blades. It also reduces the possibility of a disease outbreak.
  • The longer height of cut makes a more dramatic look. Ideally, you will want to remain cutting your grass in line with the recommended cutting heights for your grass type during that time of year.
  • Change the pattern between each cut. You don’t want to always bend the blades of grass the same direction; it will damage your lawn. Try diagonal stripes or a checkerboard pattern next time.
  • The thicker your lawn, the better your stripes will be. It is possible to stripe thinner lawns, but the stripes will generally look their best in grass that has a very thick canopy.

If you aren’t sure how to sharpen your lawn mower blade properly, read How to Sharpen Your Lawn Mower Blade. You can also check out our Lawn Mowing Guide to find more information on the appropriate mowing heights for your type of grass.

How to Stripe Your Lawn Without a Mower Attachment

Method 1: Using Only Your Lawn Mower

This method works best if your grass is left at a taller height like 3–4 inches. Start by mowing your lawn in rows at this height. At the end of each row, make a 180-degree turn and mow the next row (and so on). Do this until the entire area is mowed.

Next, turn your lawn mower off completely. The blades should not be spinning. Lower the mowing deck so that it bends the grass blades as you push the mower along. Go up and down the same rows you’ve created. At the end of each row, change directions by making a 180-degree turn and push the mower along the row you’ve created.

After two or three rows, you should begin to see how the changing directions of the bent grass blades creates a striped lawn.

If the rows don’t seem to stand out as much as you’d like, it may take a few more passes.

Method 2: Use a Household Push Broom

If you already have a push broom, this might be a good option for you. Before starting, make sure the bristles are soft so that it doesn’t damage or tear the grass. If the bristles are too stiff, it may be best to find another option.

Similar to the method above, this works best if the grass is 3–4 inches in height so that there’s enough grass blade material to bend.

Push the broom in a single direction for each row. At the end of each row, make a 180-degree turn and brush the grass in the opposite direction so that each adjacent row changes directions. Do this until you’ve completed the entire area. This may also require a couple of passes for a more dramatic look.

Method 3: Use Another Household Item to Do the Same Thing

If you have another household item that comes to mind, you can also use it to bend the grass blades in different directions. Be careful not to rip up or damage your lawn though. If possible, try testing a small area first before dragging the item across your lawn.

The Best Grass Types for Lawn Striping

Some grass types stripe better than others. In general, cool season grasses like fescue, ryegrass or bluegrass are better for striping. This is due to the fine texture and ability to stay healthy at higher heights of cut.

For warm season grasses, a finer bladed zoysia, like InnovationTM Zoysia, can stripe pretty well. Innovation Zoysia, Zeon® Zoysia and Geo®Zoysia are a few zoysia varieties that are finer-bladed.

innovation zoysia grass close up blades

Pictured above: A closeup of Innovation Zoysia.

Warm season grasses like zoysia grass, bermuda grass or St. Augustine are a little more difficult to stripe. You may be able to stripe a bermuda grass lawn—in fact, some homeowners do this pretty well—but it typically will not last long due to a bermuda grass’s rapid growth and low profile.

Sports fields and golf courses that use bermuda grass and stripe their turf spend a lot of time and energy into making their fields look nice.

The Benefits of Striping Your Lawn

Striping your lawn promotes healthier grass growth and most importantly, increases your curb appeal while making your neighbors jealous. Lawn stripes can also serve as a visual guide to let you know where you need to apply fertilizer or other control products.

Striping your lawn is going to help your grass maintain its health. If you properly stripe your lawn, you will be altering the direction in which you mow your lawn with each row. Ensuring you change the way you mow your lawn promotes healthier growth for your grass. If you continuously mow your grass in the same, consistent direction, it will build a canopy over the shorter blades and block those blades from the sun until they die.

As previously mentioned, the thicker your lawn is, the more your lawn stripes will stand out. The Lawnifi® fertilizer program is great for keeping your lawn thick and healthy so that it creates a strong, dense canopy.

If you’re excited for football season, or really enjoyed this article, be sure to also take a look at our other Sod University article, It’s Football Season! – Grasses on High Profile Football Fields.

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