Seeing $tripes

Let's face it, you maintain lawns and landscapes for a living because you have to make a living. But you also love mowing and maintaining lawns and landscapes. Like any "artistic" professional, you take great pride in what you do. When it comes to mowing lawns, nothing brings pride like a well-striped lawn.

There is some science behind lawn striping. What creates the illusion of stripes is the direction in which the grass is bent. So, for example, you make one north-to-south pass across a lawn, turn around, and make an adjacent south-to-north pass. Voila, there's a stripe. It also helps if you can drive straight, the grass is lush and green, you mow at the right height, and you have a good mower with nice vacuum action under the deck. And if the sun is hitting the lawn from the right angle at the right time when onlookers are gawking ... that's magic.

It also helps to have some kind of roller, which attaches behind the mower to really lay that grass down after you clip it. There are several out there. Ask your equipment dealer if he can get you one. If you have high-end residential or commercial clients that want you to do more than simply make the grass shorter, a striping kit (roller) could be an awesome tool for you.

Productivity or perfection? In this day and age, with so much focus on productivity and getting in/out of a property as efficiently and quickly as possible, some contractors can lose sight of quality. You really have to know your customers and what they are looking for, and what you can deliver for the price you're getting.

Paul Driver is a young gun, having started Neighborhood Turf Care in central Indiana just a couple of years ago. He makes his stripes with a Toro zero-turn and striping kit from Big League Lawns. Driver says, "In my experience it takes a few mowings to really get the stripe defined in the lawn because it trains the grass to grow in the certain direction. So I mow a lawn three or four times in one direction, and then switch directions. I also alternate directions each week so there’s always a checker-board or diamond pattern the whole season.”

Show us your stripes. We asked some of our social media followers to show us some of their stripes. Check out the photos with the story for a look, and feel free to send us some of your own:

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