Whether it's a ballpark field or your own backyard, something about a perfectly striped lawn gets our attention. And creating this effect in your own yard is easier than you might think. Lawn striping is simply the refraction of light off of bent blades of grass. The illusion is created by mowing grass in different directions, which bends the blades opposite ways.

The Grass

Striping can help an unhealthy lawn appear to look healthier, but it's definitely easier to start with healthy grass. So, proper watering and fertilization helps. The type of grass you have and the seasonal weather conditions of the area you live in also affect the outcome of your efforts. Generally, cool season grasses found in the northern United States stripe most effectively. Some grasses, like Bermuda grass, don't stripe as well because of their coarse blades or their tendency to grow close to the ground. Leaving grass taller makes for better stripes.

Equipment

You don’t necessarily have to spend hundreds of dollars on a professional grade striping mechanism. Before spending your money, consider your existing lawn mower. If you are already getting a good stripe from your mower’s deck, you don’t really need to buy a striping mechanism. Keep your lawn mower properly tuned: the blades on your lawn mower should be sharpened regularly for the cleanest cut and position your cutting deck at a slight angle (lower in the front).

Direction of Stripes

The direction you stripe your grass also makes a difference in appearance. Because striping is simply the refraction of light on blades of grass, your stripes will look different throughout the day. Experiment with different stripe directions to find the most dramatic effect.

Straight Lines & Even Widths:

The best way to mow straight lines is to focus your sight far ahead of your mower. The closer your focal point is to the mowing deck, the harder it is to mow in a straight line. Also, maintaining an even speed will keep the line smooth. Overlap stripes to avoid creating gaps between your stripes. Generally the width of your lawn mower tire is the perfect amount of space to overlap and will keep the widths consistent.

Your first attempt will most likely be your worst. But, remember practice makes perfect -- and soon, you could have neighbors asking "Who does your lawn?"