If you are a lawn enthusiast, then you will know that having a neatly striped lawn is not only a depiction of your skill and dedication, but also often a symbol of status.
This is because, for years, it was well out of the capability of the average gardener to stripe the lawn – with the know-how and tech only being available to professional landscapers, and a neatly striped lawn could only be found in golf clubs and on baseball fields.
Now, though, times have changed, and you can purchase attachments for your home lawns to create stripes as it mows.
These models of striping kit can be found for both riding (sit-on) mowers and walk behind mowers, letting you create appealing stripes in your lawn regardless of the size of your mower. The question is, should you buy one? Read on to find out!
What Is Striping Lawn Kit For A Mower?
The most common type of striping kits for mowers are those which attach to the front of the mower deck, allowing you to cut strips across the width of the grass.
These kits usually consist of an attachment bar or frame, along with a blade or blades, which are used to cut the grass into strips. They are typically made from plastic, steel or aluminum, and come in many sizes and shapes.
You can use them on either a riding mower or a walk-behind mower.
The Science Behind A Striped Lawn
Lawn striping is a method of cutting your grass in a way that accentuates their natural features. In particular, it can help the cuticle, which is an essential part of every blade of grass.
Lawn striping helps these cuticles retain moisture and direct this water towards the root system.
The cuticle is a waxy layer on the topside of every leaf or blade of grass, and because it is a different structure to the underside of a blade of grass, it will reflect light differently.
From this information, we can draw that the striping effect that we see in attractively mown lawns is the result of blades being bent in different ways, altering the amount of light that rebounds off of them when the sun shines.
It’s also worth noting that striped lawns tend to work better in cooler temperatures, where your grass is able to retain water more easily. Striped grass also looks great because it appears as if there were lines running down the middle of the blades.
The Basics Of Striping A Lawn
If you are considering getting a striping kit for your lawn, you should be aware that there are some logistics to getting one to work – first, you will have to mow around the edge of your lawn, to create a working zone, and then start to mow in parallel lines, finishing each one with a Y turn to get the perfect stripy lawn.
To get simple stripes, you have to turn around when you reach the end of the mown line, and then cut a perfectly straight line going in the opposite direction, adjacent to the one you have just completed.
Grid patterns require making two passes of the lawn – making stripes, as described above, and then going over the already mowed lawn from the other side, taking a secondary set of stripes in a perpendicular way to the already existing stripes that you have just cut.
Stripes can be made in a diamond pattern too – these are made by going back then diagonally across the lawn, angled at the edges of the lawn.
How To Use A Striping Kit With Your Mower
When striping your lawn, the best results will come from attaching a striping kit to your lawn mower. A long, weighted cylinder drags after the mowing machine, which works to bend grass more than normal, reflecting light in a more stark manner.
You don’t necessarily need a striping kit to generate a striped looking lawn, as the safety strip that comes attached to your mower as a default is also available as an option, and will do the job.
But, investing more money into a lawn striping kit will make the lines cleaner, crisper, and more long lasting than you would get from any other alternative.
Hardware stores carry striping kits, ranging from around $15 to upwards of $100 and above. The cheapest kits are usually made out of heavy materials (typically made of rubber) that drag across the ground.
Safety strips are often included with lawnmowers, making striping merely a perk, rather than an expensive add-on. The pricier lawn mower striping kits will have a set of parallel wheels, or a bar trailing the mower.
If you want an inexpensive DIY striping kit alternative, you can easily attach a rubber mat to the rear side of the mower, or you can drag a plastic pipe capped on the mower’s ends, and then fill it with water or sand.
No matter the expense of your striping kit, they all work in the same way when you boil it down – they create a stripe by flattening the grass down, so that more or less of the blade’s waxy cuticle is visible.
Why Do I Need A Striping Kit For My Lawn?
There are many reasons why you might wish to invest a little more money in a striping kit for the lawn. First, it makes the lawn look better, more neat, and well looked after.
When you mow a lawn without a striping kit attached, you are likely to leave a bit of a mess of grass behind. This is because the grass blades are not flattened down evenly, leaving gaps between them, and creating a ragged looking appearance.
By using a striping kit, you ensure that the grass is flattened down evenly, ensuring that no gaps appear. Second, it helps to keep the grass growing healthier.
Grass grows a little slower if its leaves are flat, producing a more lush green color, preventing the grass from getting leggy and yellow.
The Best Lawn Striping Kit For Your Mower
When you are picking the ideal lawn striping kit to attach to your mower, you will have to consider a few factors. First things first, the kind of mower that you have is the most important thing to think about.
A striping kit for a zero-turn or tractor lawn mower will cost much more than a standard walk behind mower. Zero-turns are also bigger and heavier, so you’ll need extra parts to operate them properly, and be designed with this in mind.
When the mower is bigger, the striping kit will have to be bigger, making it a lot more expensive. Typically, the striping bar of a sit on mower will cost about four times more than the striping kit of a push mower.
So, if you have this kind of mower, but aren’t overly concerned about having a stripy lawn, looking for a more budget friendly option may be a good decision.
You’ll also need a lot of fuel to run them, but if you’re going to be using them regularly – for example, if you are an absolute lawn fanatic, have a lawn to mow at your business, or are a lawn care professional – then buying a high quality striping kit is worth it.
However, if you are just buying a striping kit to look after your home lawn, or only have a small lawn, we think you should go for a cheaper option, which is easier to handle, and will work perfectly well for a small home lawn.
In every case, regardless of your budget, you should make sure that the kit’s width matches the width of your mowing machine. You should also be sure that the striping kit fits well on your mower.
If you have the wrong sized striping kit, your stripes won’t line up perfectly.
A Few Words On DIY Lawn Striping Equipment
Making your own DIY lawn striping kit is pretty easy and cost effective, too – you can construct one from PVC, old rubber mats, or sandbags.
These DIY options are pretty simple to set up for most lawn mowers – you just have to construct it so that it matches the size of your mower. Whilst you are crafting your lawn striping kit, just remember that you will have to push it too!
The heavier it is, the harder it will be to maneuver, and the more fuel it will take up.
Our Final Thoughts
In conclusion, lawn striping is a lovely (but not essential) part of lawn care. Though you do need to use the right equipment to get a great result, it isn’t necessary to go all out and purchase something extravagantly expensive to get a beautiful outcome.
Whatever piece of equipment you decide on, whether that is a quality piece of kit, a DIY job, or just sticking with the default safety strip on your mower, the most essential part of creating beautiful stripes on your lawn is your own technique and expertise.
You should always use your equipment to its fullest extent, as there’s no point spending a premium on a fancy bit of kit if you don’t use it properly.
We do really recommend that you engage in the practice of lawn striping, no only because it is gorgeous, but also because it will increase the overall health of your lawn, by preventing low spots.
A low spot forms in your lawn when a taller blade blocks sunlight to shorter blades of grass in your lawn.
By changing the direction that you are mowing in, you significantly rise the amount of sunlight that your lawn is able to absorb, resulting in a higher level of uniformity.
Lawn care should be done in different directions every time – which striping ensures. In addition to tall spots, soil compaction could occur if you mow in just the one direction over and over.
You may want to lower your mower height. So, a striping kit could make a huge difference to both the appearance and the health of your lawn.
A Few Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Stripe My Lawn?
Striping your lawn requires mowing around the perimeter of the lawn to make a working zone, which you use to make turns using a Y-turn to make consistent parallel lines.
How Do You Make A Diagonal Pattern?
It’s also possible to make a diagonal-pattern striping by using the same principle as the grid pattern, but angled to the edges of the lawn.
How Much Does A Striping Kit Cost?
For a stand behind mower, any hardware store will sell a kit, and depending on what you want, they’ll range from $15 all the way to over $100 and beyond. If you have a sit on mower, they can be more expensive, as the kit has to be bigger.