You may have seen this pattern on football fields or on the lawns of large, expensive homes, and you might think to yourself, "What sort of sorcery is this?" Believe it or not, the principles behind lawn striping is surprisingly simple. Even if you don’t know all the basics of lawn care, in this article we'll show you how it works and how you can do the same on your own lawn at home.
The "Magic" of Lawn Stripes
As it turns out, lawn stripes are not caused by having different types of grass; instead, it is an effect of how light hits and reflects off of the lawn. When grass is bent in a certain way, light does not hit the grass evenly, creating a "light" and "dark" side in a similar manner to how fuzzy or furry fabrics interact with light. On the "light" side, light reflects off of the broad side of the grass into your eyes, producing a brighter shade; meanwhile, the "dark" side produces a darker shade of green as the light only hits the tips of the grass blades, which has a much smaller reflective area.
One thing to note is that the intensity of the colours of the stripes can vary widely depending on several factors, the first of which is direction. That is, the intensity of the colours will vary depending on where you are viewing the lawn relative to the direction the grass is bent. You will get the most intense colours when you are viewing the grass in such a way that the blades are bent directly toward and away from you, while these colours become less intense when you view the same grass from a different angle. And because the grass is bent one way, a "light" stripe when viewed from one angle can turn into a "dark" stripe when viewed from the opposite side.
Lighting conditions are another factor affecting the intensity of the colours of the lawn stripes, as the visual effect is, after all, caused by light interacting with the grass. In most cases, you will get the most contrasting colours when the sun is behind you, as the light will hit the grass at an angle that reflects back into your eyes more directly. In general, however, the effect of light on your lawn stripes is highly variable and ties in with the other factors mentioned here, so you may have to adjust these other factors to achieve the desired effect.
One of the biggest factors by far, however, is the grass itself. Since the grass needs to be bent in order to create the lawn stripe effect, the characteristics of the grass play a part in the resulting intensity of the stripes colours. Ideally, you would want the grass to be the kind that can bend and retain that bend easily; however, you can also improve the visual effect by cutting your grass at a different length. Cutting your grass a bit longer will produce better contrast as there is a larger area for the light to reflect off of, while cutting your grass shorter will naturally produce the opposite effect.
Lawn Stripe Patterns and How to Create Them
To create a lawn stripe pattern, you will need a lawn striper, a special tool that you attach to the back of a push mower or a riding mower. The striper works by pressing down on the grass after it has been cut by the mowing blades just before it, bending it down and creating a lawn stripe. If that seems like too much, consider perhaps getting a lawn mowing service that is already prepared and experienced. With that in mind, here are some common lawn stripe patterns you can do:
Parallel Stripe Pattern:
This is the most common stripe pattern you will probably see, consisting of parallel lines that run the entire length of the lawn. To achieve this pattern, you must first mow the perimeter of your lawn. Afterwards, you start mowing across the length of the lawn to create a straight stripe. Once you've reached the end, turn around and mow down the adjacent grass in the opposite direction. Simply repeat this process until you've mowed down the entire lawn space, and you now have a parallel stripe pattern.
Diagonal Stripe Pattern:
This stripe pattern is pretty much the same as the parallel stripe pattern; however, instead of creating the stripes parallel to the perimeter of the lawn, you mow at an angle to create a diagonal stripe that cuts across the lawn space, then perform the same process as with the parallel stripes.
Checkerboard Stripe Pattern:
To create this pattern, one must create a parallel stripe pattern as normal, then run the mower through the lawn again at an angle perpendicular to the first stripe pattern. To clean up any marks left by the mower from turning it around as you mow, it is recommended to do a second run over the perimeter of the lawn area.
Criss-Cross Stripe Pattern:
This pattern is exactly the same as that of the checkerboard pattern, except it is done with diagonal stripes instead.
Zig-Zag Stripe Pattern:
This pattern gives your lawn a very unique look, but will take up a lot more of your time than any of the other patterns mentioned here. Depending on how you want the zig-zag pattern to look, you should start by creating a checkerboard or criss-cross stripe pattern on your lawn first; this will give you a template on which to base your zig-zag pattern. Once you have your base pattern, you can now start creating a zig-zag stripe by mowing from the edge of the lawn until you reach the next stripe that is the same 'colour' as the first stripe you mowed over.
In other words, if your starting point is on a 'light' stripe, you should keep mowing until you reach the next "light" stripe, mowing over a 'dark' stripe in the process. After this, you should turn your mower 90 degrees to the right (or left, depending on your desired zig-zag path) and mow until you reach the next same-coloured stripe, turn 90 degrees, then repeat the process until you have created a zig-zag stripe across the lawn space. Repeat the same steps for each of the subsequent stripes until you have completely covered the lawn. To finish off, mow across the perimeter of the lawn to clean up any turning marks left by your mower, and you're done.
Want to get your lawn looking its absolute best, with a fancy striping pattern to boot? Contact us at 0419-046-523 and get a quote for our high-quality lawn care services today.