Is your messy-looking lawn stopping you from enjoying it? Do you wish you could mow your lawn, but maybe you don’t know how?
I can’t blame you if you’d probably just say no to mowing your lawn altogether. Going through all the how-to’s can be tedious, such as how tall you should mow, how frequently, and what equipment to use.
If you think you can’t do it, don’t be discouraged! I say it’s about time we make lawn mowing like a pro simple and easy for you. What do you think?
Mow like a pro
Picture this: you’re confidently heading straight to your shed, getting your lawn mower ready, and telling yourself, ‘I got this.’ That’s you on a mission, my friend.
Now you know that when it comes to gardening and lawn mowing tips, I like to cut through the noise to make it simple and fun. Because, hey, that’s why you wanted to have a lawn or garden in the first place, right? To have fun! There’s no sense in getting yourself a lawn, only to make lawn care a burdensome chore.
In this article from our Garden Like a Pro series, we trimmed out the fat and busted the myths on lawn mowing. We’ve rounded up our professional lawn mowing techniques from our lawn experts so you’ll know the best way to mow a lawn. (And we promise, there’s no overthinking or information overload required).
Lawn mowing 101: How to mow a lawn professionally
PRO TIP #1: Water well but let it dry.
Prepare your lawn for a good mowing by feeding it well. Your lawn gets its food from the water it ‘drinks’ through its roots. Always water deeply, but less frequently to ensure that your lawn is healthy and attractive, especially on a hot day.
Want to see if you’re watering your lawn properly? Get a core sample of your grass and check that the roots are moist all the way through. If they’re not, your grass is still ‘thirsty’ and you’ll have to water some more.
Make sure that the grass is dry before you mow, though. Mowing on wet grass will tear the grass blades and you’ll end up with an unhealthy and unattractive lawn. It’s advisable to mow your lawn during mid-morning when the moisture in the grass has dried up and the sun’s heat is not too high, either.
PRO TIP #2: Dress the part.
Before you start mowing, it’s important that you’re wearing the proper personal protective equipment. Your lawn mower has sharp cutting blades that can run over your foot. Your PPE, such as gloves and boots without laces, will prevent you from getting injured while handling a lawn mower. A face shield or goggles will protect your eyes from grass cuttings and dust, and ear plugs will protect your ears from the deafening noise of the mower. You definitely want to make sure that you’re safe while mowing your lawn.
PRO TIP #3: Pick the right mower for your lawn.
It can be quite confusing to pick which lawn mower is best suited for your lawn. To make it simple, consider the grass type you’ll be cutting, your lawn size, and the kind of terrain you have. As a rule of thumb, electric hand-held mowers are appropriate for smaller lawns while wide-mouthed mowers can cover a larger scale of terrain. If you have a large area and rough terrain to cover, ride-on mowers will do the job for you. It’s fun, too.
PRO TIP #4: Mow tall.
When mowing, make sure to mow your lawn tall. Mowing your lawn too short is like having a bad haircut. Not a good look, plus you’ll have to deal with the excruciating wait time for it to grow out. Just no.
When you mow your lawn tall, you’re giving your lawn a well-stocked pantry with plenty of food to feed itself with. You’d want to make sure that your lawn has plenty of nutrients to grow healthy and attractive. This will only happen if you have enough grass to work with, otherwise your lawn will end up sickly.
For many grass types, it is advisable to mow your grass at 3 inches and above so that it can take in nutrients sufficiently. This will give your lawn that beautiful deep green color and that lush luxurious look worthy of a magazine cover.
If you’re still quite unsure about the length you should mow, remember that you shouldn’t cut any more than ⅓ of your grass blade’s length. Check out the recommended height for each grass type below:
Guidelines for grass height
- Bahia grass: 2 – 3 inches
- Fescue (tall): 2 – 3 inches
- Blue grama: 2 – 3 inches
- Buffalo grass: 2 – 3 inches
- Bent grass: ¼ – 1 inch
- Bermuda grass (common): ¾ – 1½ inch
- Bermuda grass (hybrid): ½ – 1 inch
- Centipede grass: 1 – 2 inches
- Zoysia grass: 1 – 2 inches
- Fescue (fine): 1 ½ – 2 ½ inches
- St. Augustine grass: 1 ¾ – 2 ½ inches
- Kentucky bluegrass: 1 ¾ – 2 ½ inches
- Ryegrass (annual and perennial): 1 ½ – 2 inches
Here’s a cool trivia question for you: did you know that your grass roots can grow up to 3x as much as the length of your grass blade? For example, your grass blade is 3 inches long. When you take a core sample of your grass roots, you’ll find that the roots grow up to 9 inches in length.
What does this mean for your lawn? It means that your grass is stronger and can take in more nutrients, thereby making your lawn healthier. We’re going for lush, green grass here, because that’s what the best lawns are made of. Next time you see a blade of grass, try to imagine how long its grass roots go. Gives you a ‘tip of the iceberg’ feel, doesn’t it?
PRO TIP #5. Mow once a week in different directions.
Depending on your grass’ growth rate, it’s usually recommended to mow once a week in different directions. Change up your lawn mowing patterns from vertical to horizontal to diagonal every time you mow to help make sure your grass grows straight, instead of leaning towards one direction only. Doing this helps give your turf develop greater density per area. This means you’ll have more grass blades in your lawn space, which helps give your lawn a thicker, fuller look, not so different from a well-volumized head of hair (a reference for all the Fonz wanna-be’s).
PRO TIP #6: Sharpen your blades.
If you see your grass blunted after you mow your lawn, it’s time to take out your blades and sharpen them. My recommendation is to sharpen after every 4 mows for a standard-sized lawn. Blunt blades result in gnarly-looking edges and make your grass unhealthy and susceptible to tearing.
PRO TIP #7: Trim at 90 degrees.
I’d like to think of a perfectly good shave when trimming the edges of your lawn. To get a sharp, clean edge, use a trimmer slanted at a 90 degree angle at a height of 3 inches tall. Trimming at this particular angle helps to prevent crabgrass from growing out of the edges.
PRO TIP #8: Mulch, mulch, mulch.
Keeping the grass cuttings on your lawn, or mulching, gives back much-needed nutrients to your lawn. Grass is rich in nitrogen and other organic material that your lawn will benefit from, and who doesn’t want fattened up, healthy-looking grass?
Another plus? Keeping a layer of the cuttings on your lawn keeps it cool and lessens the risk of drought or excessive water evaporation. And, you gotta love this part, it does the clean-up for you!
Talk to us.
Think you’re just about ready to mow your lawn and would love to know more? Give us a call at Lawn.com.au so we can chat about how everything’s going with your newfound adventure in lawn mowing. You know we can’t wait to hear from you!