Should I Alternate Directions Each Time I Mow?

As the old saying goes, “the grass is always healthier when you mow it from different sides.”

Well, OK. That’s not really how the cliché goes. But it is a good mantra to keep in mind before you mow your lawn.

Read about why you absolutely should change up the route each time you mow. And, get tips on the best mowing patterns for your machine.

Should I Change Direction Each Time I Mow?

Yes! Why? Because when grass is mowed in the same direction over and over, it’s trained to lean one way. Also, going over the same tracks each time can cause rutting and soil compaction, which is essentially when soil particles get packed too tightly, making it hard for water and air to reach lawn roots.

Also, mowing in just one direction makes the lawn look worn out over time. Ideally, grass stems should grow straight up and stand tall. Mowing in different directions helps make that happen.

Lawn Mowing Patterns for a Push Mower

With lawn striping, you weave your mower vertically, horizontally or diagonally throughout the lawn to make a striped pattern. Here’s how:

  • Start by mowing around the perimeter of the lawn.
  • Then, mow across. When you get to the end, swing the mower around and go back in the other direction, making a line that just slightly overlaps with the first one.
  • Keep mowing back and forth to make a pattern.
  • Finish up with another rollover the lawn’s perimeter.

The key is to start with one direction one week, let’s say horizontal, and then use this same technique to mow the lawn vertically the next week, and diagonally the week after that.

Riding Lawn Mower Patterns

Since a riding mower can’t turn quite as quickly as a push mower, opt for an easier pattern. You can simply roll around the perimeter of your yard once or twice, close in a bit to make a smaller perimeter cut and then make smaller and smaller squares until you reach the middle of the lawn.

Or, mow the lawn like a pro with the Zamboni pattern. Yes, think big machine used to smooth over an ice rink. Here’s what to do:

  • Cut the border of the lawn, and then ride down the middle all the way across.
  • Go around the perimeter again in the opposite direction, and then ride back down the middle, slightly overlapping the first line.
  • Keep this up until you have overlapping lines throughout the whole yard.

Want more tips to cut grass like a pro?

Read this blog post on the best mowing height for every season

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