Mowing your lawn seems like a pretty straightforward job and it is. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t certain tips and tricks you can use to get the very best results with your lawn.
All too often I see people going in all guns blazing with their mowers and then wondering why their lawn isn’t looking quite how they expected.
But lawn mowing isn’t something that’s taught in schools and unless you had a parent or family friend that was willing to show you the ropes, it’s often a chore that we learn for ourselves.
So, if you’re keen to get the best mow for a healthy and manicured lawn, you’re in the right place. I’m going to show you the right way to mow your lawn and I’m sure you’ll really notice a difference in the finished result.
What’s The Point In Mowing The Lawn?
Mowing can feel like just another monotonous chore and for a lot of people it is. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. When you cut your grass, you’re boosting its growth and its health.
Grass is a plant and therefore needs to do photosynthesis. This is a process where plants take carbon in as well as the sun’s energy and water which they then convert into oxygen. When the top section of the grass is cut, this encourages further growth so you’ll end up with a much thicker, healthier looking lawn.
The benefit of this is not just aesthetic. It’ll also ensure that weeds have no place to grow. The thicker the grass, the less space and resources there will be for weeds.
Tips For Good Lawn Mowing
Knowing how to properly mow your lawn is much more than just understanding how to top up the fuel tank or plug the machine into the mains. Here are my top tips for mowing the lawn to the highest standard.
Always Mow In The Right Conditions
I’d never recommend mowing the lawn in wet weather. Not only could this be dangerous to you because the traction underfoot will be worse but it’s a nightmare for your grass. Cutting it when it’s wet means that you won’t get as clean a cut and that can be damaging.
Moreover, your mower won’t cut the lawn as evenly so you’ll end up with a less than uniform result that you’ll only have to go over again when things dry up.
It’s also important to make sure that there isn’t any debris on the lawn such as stones, rocks, branches and anything else. Get these removed before you go anywhere near the lawn with the mower, unless you want to damage the blades.
And Know When To Mow
Generally speaking, most people will mow their lawn when it is needed. However, during peak mowing season, the pros like to stay on top of things and mow around every seven to ten days. The most important thing, however, is to set a schedule and stick to it.
In reality, how often you mow your lawn will depend on several things. For example, when you have recently treated the lawn with a fertiliser, you may need to mow a little more often since it’ll likely have a growth spurt.
On the other hand, you’ll want to reduce how often you mow when the weather is hot and dry as drought can put a lot of stress on the lawn. The last thing you want to do is make this worse with too frequent mowing.
Also, you have to consider the type of grass you’re growing. Cool season specimens will go dormant when the soil gets down to around 10 degrees and you’ll find that this happens with warm season grasses at the beginning to middle of autumn.
I’d also encourage you not to mow your lawn too early in the day. Mowing between the hours of 6 and 8 am means that the lawn may still be wet with dew and this ties in with not mowing the grass when it’s wet. On the flip side, you want to avoid putting stress on the grass by mowing in the hot midday sun. Around 10 am is said to be the perfect time. Failing that, anytime after 4 pm should be fine.
Don’t Cut The Lawn Too Short
A lot of people think that cutting the grass as short as possible is a good idea but let me tell you why you shouldn’t do this.
Cutting more than a third of the current length off the grass will put it under undue stress. The result of this is grass that will struggle to thrive and could even die.
In the summer, you should keep the length of your grass to around 2.5 cm and in autumn, raise this to 4 cm. However, the first few cuts will need to be longer since you’ll have to get it to this point gradually.
To Mulch Or Not To Mulch
A lot of lawn mowers come with a mulching plug and this allows you to use the clippings as a type of natural fertiliser. They’re packed with nutrients like nitrogen which are really good for the health of your lawn. However, mulching isn’t always necessary.
It’s best to collect your grass clippings if you’ve used a side or rear discharge chute. Leaving them on the lawn like this could increase the risk of fungal infections. It’s only when they’ve been mulched that they can be used in this way. The only exception to this rule is during dry weather where the clippings may help to lock in moisture.
As a rule of thumb, it’s better to mulch where you can. While there is a misconception that mulching can worsen thatch this isn’t actually the case. In fact, by mulching you’re contributing to the health of your lawn and there’s nothing wrong with that.
What’s more, if you have a sprinkling of leaves on the lawn, a lawn mower with a mulching blade will chop these up as well. Although, I wouldn’t recommend doing this if the lawn is very heavily covered in leaves.
The best way to mow your lawn is by mowing up and down in straight lines. You’ll want to overlap these ever so slightly as this will ensure you don’t miss any blades. Start at one side and work your way across. This works well for square or rectangular shaped lawns but if you have an irregular shaped lawn then I’d suggest starting in the centre and working out before moving onto the other side.
Now, if you’re looking to create that classic striped look then you’ll need to have a mower with a rear roller. Some mowers come fitted with these but if yours doesn’t then it is possible to buy an add-on kit. Just make sure that you alter the direction of the stripes every week.
When you’re done with the main part of the lawn, you should then mow around the edges to get rid of any marks. I’d also recommend going in with some shears or a trimmer to tidy up the edges and any hard to reach spots that your mower can’t access.
The Right Equipment For The Job
It’s all well and good knowing how to mow your lawn but the job won’t be done properly if you’re using the wrong equipment.
If you have a sloped lawn then it’s worth considering buying a self-propelled petrol mower. In any case, you should make sure that you mow from side to side as opposed to directly up and down the slope as this reduces the risk of the mower tilting or tipping over. Plus, it’s less strain on you physically.
It’s also really important to consider the size and type of lawn mower in relation to the size of your lawn. If you’ve got a smaller lawn then you’ll be able to choose a smaller mower up to around 32 cm. Typically an electric or cordless mower is ideal for smaller gardens.
However, if you have a very large lawn then you might opt for a more powerful petrol model with a cutting width up to 48 cm. There are also riding and zero turn lawn mowers which are generally reserved for lawns that exceed the size of two tennis courts. Of course, you must remember that these are a lot more expensive, but they will take a load off you.
Mowing your lawn doesn’t need to be a super difficult task but it does involve some forward planning and a little knowledge. Understanding what equipment to use, the right time to mow and some basic mowing techniques can help your lawn to remain healthy, green and dense.
I know there’s a lot to think about when it comes to choosing a lawn mower, but it really is worth taking the time to weigh up your options. If you’re still unsure, I have lots of helpful information throughout this website to make it easier for you. Why not try out my tool where you can simply enter your requirements and I’ll recommend the best matched mowers for you. Together, we’ll find a great lawn mower for you and your garden!
My Guide to Buying a Lawn Mower Video
As a seasoned expert in the field of garden power tools, I have dedicated over a decade to working with and reviewing a wide variety of lawn mowers. My extensive experience has allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the benefits and limitations of different types of mowers and garden tools.
Over the years, I have honed my skills in writing informative articles and creating helpful videos for various blogs and publications. This has given me the ability to not only recognise what makes a good lawn mower, but also to help you choose the perfect garden tool for your specific needs and requirements.
With my wealth of knowledge and expertise, I am confident that I can provide you with valuable insights and recommendations when it comes to selecting the right lawn mower for your lawn. So, whether you're looking for a battery cordless, electric, petrol, or robotic mower, you can trust in my expertise to guide you towards the best option for your garden.