A Complete Guide To Mowing Your Lawn
If you want to have a picture perfect looking home, one thing above all else is necessary.
That’s right – it’s having the best, most well manicured lawn in America. When people see a great lawn, they stop and stare for a moment, taking in all of the luscious grass that has clearly been well maintained.
A gorgeous lawn isn’t always the easiest thing to achieve, but it’s certainly rewarding to see.
The key thing to point out here is that getting a gorgeous lawn isn’t always easy – that is, when you don’t know what you’re doing.
As with anything else in life, knowledge is power, so if you know what you are doing you can get the results that you are looking for.
With that in mind, we’ve written this complete guide to mowing your lawn so you can bask in the glory of symmetrical, wonderful grass.
Tools Required for Mowing Your Lawn
You can’t just cut your lawn with a pair of scissors.
Well, you could, but it would take you half of your lifespan, and it would just grow back by the time that you’re finished.
No – you need the right tools for the job if you want to be successful!
With that in mind, here are some of the tools needed in order to mow your lawn.
The first, and most important thing that you need in order to mow your lawn, is a lawnmower.
You cannot ‘mow’ a lawn without one of these bad boys. Your lawn mower will be your best friend when you are trimming down that grass.
As such, it’s important that you get a high quality machine for the job.
Now, the right lawnmower for you will largely depend on the size of your lawn.
For instance, a riding mower will usually be a better choice if you’re mowing a pretty large lawn.
For smaller lawns a mower that you can walk with that’s powered by gas or electric and works.
Remember, when buying your lawnmower you’re going to need to check the product description.
Don’t just buy the very first lawnmower that you see.
You may feel too lazy to do the research now, but you’ll kick yourself later on if the thing shorts out on you after a meager two steps across your 100 acre lawn.
Get something durable that will do the job that you want it to do. If you pay a little extra for a high quality option, you are also far more likely to get a lawn mower that is going to last for a long time.
This is ideal, since it means that you aren’t always going to need to replace it.
Gasoline Safety can
Your lawn mower often can’t just run on fresh air, we’re sorry to say.
We’re sure they’re probably trying to make that technology, but for now the machine is going to need to have some fuel in order to run properly.
The vast majority of lawnmowers will run on gasoline, so it’s a good idea to have a gasoline safety can at your disposal so you can fill up the fuel when you need to.
Make sure that you get a safety can though, since this makes it significantly less likely that you’ll experience gas leaks which can be pretty dangerous.
When you’re done with using it, follow the instructions to ensure that you are storing the can correctly so you can use the remaining fuel again in the future.
In most cases your lawn mower will handle most of the dirty work of tidying up your lawn.
With that being said, there’s a chance that you may need to give the lawn a bit of a touch up in order to ensure that it’s extra pristine.
This will involve using a grass trimmer to clean up the mess left on the lawn.
You can buy these things for very affordable prices, but it’s usually best not to buy the cheapest ones on the market since they often don’t last very long and they aren’t efficient, either.
When buying an edge trimmer, there are a few things that are worth looking out for.
For starters, look for a model with a rotating head, since this will make it a lot easier for you to cut vertically.
It’s worth getting a telescoping shaft too, since you can adjust the length of the handle based on your height so it’s more comfortable for you to use, especially for longer periods of time.
Also look for models that have wheels on the head of the grass trimmer, bike handles, an adjustable angle head and a harness or strap to go over the shoulder so you don’t strain your arms too much while doing the job.
If you are unsure about what model to buy, it’s always worthwhile to check the other customer reviews, since they can tell you more about what you’re spending your money on.
When all of the trimming and chopping of the grass is done, you’re going to want to sweep away the debris.
A broom is a fairly traditional way of getting rid of all of the chopped grass from your lawn, but if you want to go with something a little more modern, then a leaf blower can work too.
This will also be handy for the fall when the leaves from your trees get scattered across your lawn.
A leaf blower will help you to blow away the clippings of grass and the leaves that would otherwise stay on the lawn.
You can then put these into the compost, and they won’t be sitting around on your lawn decaying, giving things like mushrooms and other fungi the opportunity to grow.
Lawn and leaf bags
Finally, you are going to need to ensure that you have lawn and leaf bags on hand.
These are very affordable, and they help you to dispose of your leaves and grass without too much trouble.
Have a couple of these on hand for when you are mowing the lawn, and you can then dispose of them properly when you are done.
Simple and stress free!
Steps to Mowing Your Lawn
Now you have all of your gear together, it’s time to get into the thick of it – it’s time to start mowing your lawn!
It can be difficult to get it right straight away, so here are the steps that you need to take.
Clear Your Lawn
The very first thing that you need to do is to clear the lawn.
This can seem a little tedious, especially if your lawn is currently littered with all sorts of things.
Clearing your lawn begins with making sure that it’s clear of people and creatures that can get in your way.
This is not the time for you to be throwing your dog a ball while you mow the lawn – this is the time to hurry him and any children that you may have inside.
They could end up getting hurt by your lawnmower, so it’s better safe than sorry.
When your lawn is clear of any people or pets, you can then move onto moving any other obstacles.
This could be random things like stones that you may notice, bigger items like lawn chairs or balls or pretty much anything else you need.
Think of it like your canvas – you’re an artist of the lawn variety. An artist doesn’t want to work with an inappropriate surface.
You want a nice, clean canvas to work with so you can get pristine results.
That begins with ensuring that your lawn is cleared off before you get to the mowing business.
Check the Mower
You may think that the next step after you have cleared your lawn is to pull the lever and get your mowing whirring away on your grass.
Hold your horses – there are some things that you need to do first! A lawn mower is a piece of powerful equipment.
Technology, if used in a poor state, can have a habit of backfiring.
Unless you want to experience the wrath of a low functioning lawnmower, it’s best that you take heed of what we are about to say.
Check. Your. Mower. That’s right – give your mower a good once over before you set her free on the green grass of your lawn.
It’ll help you to ensure that you don’t have jagged looking grass, and it will help to keep you safe as you are mowing your lawn.
Do all of the necessary safety checks and ensure that it’s working properly before you set it onto the lawn.
If it’s a new lawn mower, read the instructions before you start using it so you know what you’re doing.
It’s boring, but safety first. If you’re using an older lawn mower, do the internal checks first.
Check that the mower has plenty of oil and gas for it to operate properly.
If it’s powered electrically, make sure that the cord is long enough for it to move properly across your lawn.
Check there aren’t any damaged parts of the mower that may need fixing, since this can impact the kind of cut that you get on the grass.
Have a look to see that there isn’t any debris and grass on the mower deck.
When you feel confident that you’re all good to go, you can then set your mower deck to the appropriate height.
Then, get the engine started, ensuring that you are beginning on a paved surface that’s clear of any debris.
Cut Accessible Patterns
When you get started on cutting the grass, you should try to cut accessible patterns.
Try to select a cutting pattern when you begin, and you can then alter it when you mow the lawn in subsequent sessions. Different people prefer to work in different ways.
For example, some people will start mowing on the edges of the lawn on the outside – in very much the same way that someone may choose to begin doing a jigsaw puzzle.
They’ll work in squares and then gradually make their way towards the center of the lawn.
Alternatively, you can just cut it in straight lines so it looks like it’s in a more uniform pattern. Just choose a pattern and stick to it – you can always mix it up the next time you mow the lawn.
Trim the Edges
You’re going to want to do some tidying up when you’re done with the main mowing portion.
Yes, most of your grass will be cut by now, but for it to look truly done you’re going to want to use an edge trimmer.
You will usually need to use an edge trimmer on locations where the grass touches the paved sections of your lawn.
You can also use it around walls, objects and trees on your lawn too.
You could theoretically do this first, but it’s generally better to do it after you have mowed the lawn since you will know what height the grass needs to be at this point.
Decide What to do with the Grass Clippings
Now all of the cutting is done – well done to you! Of course, the next thing that you will need to figure out is where you are going to put the clippings leftover from your trimming efforts.
If you want to, you can just leave them as they are. This can be quite useful since the trimmed grass can give the lawn some additional nutrients, which is always a bonus.
Many people want to have a polished looking lawn though. If that sounds like you, then you should make an effort to remove the clipping from the lawn.
You can do this using a sweeping brush and just sweeping them away, or if you have a leaf blower then you can use that instead.
Relax After the Job
Phew! After all of that hard work, you’re finally done! It’s time to kick back and marvel in your handiwork.
Grab a beer and sit on a lawn chair with some friends, and show off your freshly cut grass.
They are sure to be impressed by your spectacular looking lawn.
Mowing Tips & Tricks
Now that you know the basics of how to mow a lawn, how about a quick masterclass?
By keeping these tips in mind and executing them as you mow your lawn, you can get even better results.
Aim to Reduce Lawn Height by One-third
When you’re mowing your lawn, it’s a really good idea to try and reduce the height of the grass by about a third every time you cut it.
What does this mean? Well, let’s start out with when you first plant your new lawn.
You will need to let the grass grow to a certain height before you cut it. This will allow the grass and the roots to properly establish first.
When it has grown to that height, you will then cut it by about a third of its current height every few weeks or so until it gets to the height that you want.
You may be eager to get the grass to the height that you want straight away, but this really isn’t a good idea.
The main reason for this is because cutting too much grass at once can result in causing some permanent damage to the health of the grass.
Have some patience and just cut it in small increments instead.
Your grass may be longer than you would like for a while, but it will be worth it in the long term.
Cut it Every Two Weeks During Spring
Having the right cutting schedule is pretty imperative when you’re maintaining your lawn.
As such, it’s important to remember when more cutting is necessary, and when it’s time to hold off.
During the spring months, you aren’t going to need to cut the grass as often because the growth is much slower at this point.
This can save you a lot of work! During the spring, try to only cut the grass about once every two weeks.
Later on, you will need to cut it more often.
Cut it Weekly During late Spring, Summer
So you will need to cut your grass on a fortnightly basis during the spring, but what about as the seasons change and the warm weather rolls around?
By the time that it reaches the end of spring and you venture into summer, you’re going to have to mow the lawn more often in order to keep on mowing and taking off that one third that we mentioned earlier on.
This is because the warmer weather makes the grass grow a lot faster. Sometimes during the especially warm weeks, it may even be necessary to mow the lawn twice a week.
Keep an eye on the rate of growth in order to figure out the best thing to do for the sake of your lawn.
Adjust Cutting Height
Mowing the lawn isn’t something that is constantly going to be the same each time.
The way that you use your lawnmower can largely be influenced by the season.
As such, it’s a good idea to alter the cutting height when the weather changes.
If you’re currently at the beginning or the end of the lawn season then it’s a good idea to raise that blade up a little.
You can do the same thing when it’s particularly hot outside, as this will allow the grass to grow a little more in the hot weather.
This may seem counterintuitive if you want shorter grass, but it’s actually the best option at this point.
During the heat your lawn is going to need to maintain as much moisture as it can.
Longer grass maintains more moisture, so keep it long to keep your lawn healthier in the hot months.
Mow on Dry Days
Here’s a really common question that people ask about their lawns that we are going to answer right now: should you mow a wet lawn?
The short answer is no. You may believe that it doesn’t matter, grass is grass after all, but that is most certainly not the case.
If you care about the look and health of your lawn, it is in your best interest to only mow a dry lawn.
There are a number of different reasons why it’s a bad idea to mow a wet lawn.
To start with, mowing a wet lawn can actually end up damaging your lawnmower since it’s a lot harder for it to cut.
Not only that but it can clog up the deck of your lawnmower.
As for your actual lawn, you will notice that grass that’s cut when it’s wet is generally much more uneven in appearance, which can be pretty disappointing.
Basically, if you don’t want to damage both your lawn and your lawnmower, you should not cut wet grass.
Instead, opt to mow your lawn on dryer days. Try to make sure that the lawn is at least mostly dry before mowing too.
Avoid Recently Sown Areas
If you have recently sown your lawn, don’t mow the area that has been sown just yet.
The best thing to do is to ensure that the grass reaches around 4cm tall and then you can mow it alongside your entire lawn.
By doing this, you help to ensure that the grass grows healthy and that it’s durable too.
Compost the Clippings
You may be eager to toss out those grass clippings, but wait just a moment before you decide to toss them in the bin.
Grass clippings can actually be an asset to your garden, so put them in the compost alongside any brown material on the lawn, as this will help to prevent you from getting slime in your compost.
If you are in a warmer month like the summer time, then you may not need to do anything with the clippings though.
Instead, you could just leave them on the lawn instead. This will help your garden to keep moisture, which is always a good thing when the heat can be prone to drying out your lawn.
Trim the Edges Separately
Don’t try to trim the edges of your lawn while you are mowing – try to do it after you have finished.
You’ll know at which height you need the grass to be, and trimming the edges will be a lot easier. Your lawn will look much more even if you do it this way.
Consider a Ride on Mower
Mowing a lawn can be quite the tiring ordeal, especially if you own a large amount of land.
You can save yourself a lot of stamina and just get a ride-on mower to use instead. This is ideal as it will save you a lot of time. Just make sure that you get the right choice for your lawn.
Mowing Safety Tips
Safety first! Mowing a lawn can be quite hazardous if you aren’t careful, so it’s a good idea to follow some of these mowing safety tips to ensure that you and your loved ones don’t get hurt in the process of mowing your lawn.
Push the Mower Forward when Possible
When you are using your lawnmower, it’s a good idea to keep moving forward. No, we’re not trying to give you some strange inspirational quote – what we’re saying is that it’s a lot safer this way.
It can often be tempting to pull your mower backwards when you are mowing the lawn, especially if you realize too late that you’ve missed a spot of grass.
This can be a really bad idea though, especially since you could end up getting your feet trapped underneath the mower in a freak accident.
It’s one reason why it’s a bad idea to wear the wrong footwear when you’re mowing your lawn!
Either way – you can protect yourself by pushing the mower forward when you are mowing the lawn.
Concentrate on that and you are much less likely to end up in the ER at the end of the day.
Wear Closed-toed Shoes Instead of Flip-flops
Ah, on the subject of feet, make sure yours are protected! Lawnmowers, as you may expect, are designed for cutting grass.
You can’t really cut grass by just telling it ‘hey, I need you to be shorter.’
No – you cut grass in the same way that you cut most things in life – with a blade. Do you value your toes?
If so, then surely you don’t want them to be mangled by lawn mower blades.
Don’t learn the hard way – wear a pair of closed toe shoes like sneakers that keep your feet protected while you are mowing the lawn.
It’ll help to keep those little piggies going to the market for as long as they can.
Look out for Pets & Children
Children and pets – we love them. They are cute, they make us laugh, and for many of us they are the light of our lives.
One thing is certainly true about both children and pets, though – they really can get in the way.
They can follow us around like little shadows, and sometimes we may not even realize that they are there before they have us leaping out of our skin like a Jack in the Box.
Now, you don’t want your children or pets to be anywhere near your lawnmower, since it can be quite hazardous to them.
So with that in mind, before you try to mow your lawn, keep watch on your lawn for a moment and check that both your babies and fur babies are far out of the way.
Keep them in the house for a while as you are mowing your lawn.
It’s always better to be vigilant than to end up in the ER with your children, or paying a visit to the emergency vet.
Wear Eye Protection to Protect Your Eyes from Debris
We use our eyes for a lot of things – they’re quite handy, really.
What isn’t so handy is when nasty things get into our eyes like shampoo, or debris.
Your lawnmower is working pretty fast to cut your grass, and as such, grass can be chopped into tiny little pieces and fly around the air.
All of a sudden it may end up in your eyes, temporarily blinding you for a moment. It’s neither fun nor is it safe.
You can avoid this issue by doing one simple thing – putting on a pair of safety glasses.
With the right eye protection, you can avoid debris getting into your eyes so they’re safe.
When Mowing on a Hill Move Side to Side Instead of Up and Down
If you’re mowing on hills, it’s a good idea to make sure that you are mowing from side to side rather than up and down.
This is especially important when you are using a push lawnmower.
If you are pushing the mower up and down, this can cause problems since it may mean that you are more likely to trap your feet beneath the blades.
This differs with a riding mower, when it’s usually best to cut up and down the hill instead to ensure that it doesn’t tip over to the side.
You are now officially ready to achieve the pristine, picture perfect lawn of your dreams.
It’s fairly simple – just make sure that you know how to use your mower, follow the instructions and use the correct technique.
You will eventually gain mastery over your lawn, and your name will be the one that people talk about when people are talking about people with immaculate lawns.
Isn’t that great? We sure think so.