How to stripe your lawn and make it look bigger

Striped lawn
Striped lawn (Image credit: Shutterstock)

A perfectly striped lawn can make all the difference to elevate your backyard and give it the wow factor.  And while it looks like a job for the professionals, you can easily learn how to stripe your lawn, and get those sports stadium results.

So why do stripes look much better? Well, the answer is all down to clever lighting. Natural light reflects off the grass blades that are flattened in different directions. So next to one another, they create a visual effect of alternating light and dark stripes. 

Lawn striping not only makes a great, finishing touch, but can also act as an optical illusion that elongates spaces. This works wonders even if you don’t have a large, outdoor space. In addition, striping also keeps the grass healthy and looking at its best. Or you can always check out how to make your grass greener, how to water your lawn in a heat wave and the seven common lawn care mistakes for more top tips. 

So if you want to impress with a stunning lawn, here’s how to stripe a lawn and make it look bigger in just three, simple steps. 

It might also benefit from knowing how to put lime on your lawn for greener results. And here are 7 ways you can reuse grass clippings after mowing. Also, if you want a rain chain , here are 5 reasons to buy or skip. Plus, here are 5 reasons to buy a robot lawnmower or skip.

1. Prep the lawn 

Raking leaves on lawn

Raking leaves on lawn (Image credit: Shutterstock)

First, ensure that your lawn is in a healthy condition before striping. Ideally, it would need to be dark green colored grass so the stripes will be prominent and stand out. If your lawn has patchy areas, you may need to know how to plant grass seed to make your grass greener. Prepare your lawn by raking dead leaves or debris, and removing moss and weeds. For those stubborn weeds, check out how to get rid of dandelions for tips on what to do. And don't forget to find out how to aerate a lawn and when you should do it

2. Cut with a rear roller mower 

Mowing grass with a lawn mower

Mowing grass with a lawn mower (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Not all lawn mowers are designed to create a striped lawn. Choose a lawn mower with an integrated rear roller. If you mow in parallel lines, the rear roller will bend the grass blades back to achieve the stripe effect. First, set your mower to the highest height setting and mow around the edges of the lawn at right angles, so the grass is cut right to the edge of the lawn. Use a trimmer like this Worx WG163 GT 3.0 20V PowerShare 12" Cordless String Trimmer & Edger ($109, Amazon) for awkward or hard-to-reach spots. 

Next, create stripes by lining your mower up in the direction you want your first row before mowing to the end. Turn 180 degrees and repeat until you reach the end of the lawn. 

TIP: Don’t cut the grass too short as your stripes won’t be prominent. Striping relies on the grass blades lying flat, so the longer the blades, the better results.

3. Define your stripes 

Woman striping a lawn

Woman striping a lawn (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Finally, intensify your stripes, making them stand out for a more well-defined garden. Simply go over the stripes again with the mower engine turned off and using just the roller. 

How can I stripe my lawn without a rear roller mower?

Striped garden

Striped garden (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you don’t own an integrated, rear roller lawn mower, you can buy a lawn roller to attach to your existing one. A lawn roller like this Brinly PRC-241BH-A 270 lb. Combination Push/Tow Poly Lawn Roller ($161, Amazon), is a cylindrical-shaped metal or plastic garden tool that will flatten the blades of grass. 

Other tips for lawn striping 

— Always make sure the grass is dry before you cut

— Always ensure the blade is sharp when you mow the lawn to achieve a clean cut. Check out our guide on how to sharpen lawn mower blades for more info

— Experts suggest the perfect grass height for stripes is 3/4 of an inch to 1.25 inches (20-30mm). But this will depend on the type of mower you have, and preferences. 

— Don’t leave long grass clippings on your lawn, as they will dry out and turn yellow. Gather them up and use them instead for mulch.

If you need more lawn care help, we can tell you how to dethatch a lawn and you might also be interested will 2024 be the year of the robot lawn mower. For more planting tips, tricks, and how-tos, check out our guides on how to plant sunflower seeds and when to do it, how to plant potatoes and how to grow tomatoes in pots. You'll also want to read how to prune hydrangeas, how to care for an orchid, and how to care for air plants.   

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!