How to Mow a Lawn

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Most of us have a mowed a lawn before. It’s not a complicated task – you just push the lawn mower over the grass until it is cut to the desired height. However, there is a lot more to mowing a lawn than simply pushing the mower over it as quickly as possible, with most people doing the job incorrectly.

While it may not seem like much, if you don’t mow correctly it can have an adverse impact on its overall health. A poorly cut lawn leads to weaker grass, with roots not developing as well as they could, leading to sparse growth and the chance of weeds, moss, and weed grasses invading the lawn.

When mowing right, you encourage healthy growth at the base of the grass leaf, which leads to a fuller, more vibrant looking lawn free from weeds. Check the tips below for all the info you need to properly mow a lawn.

A Good Mower Makes All the Difference  

The difference a good mower makes to lawn maintenance is night and day. With a poor model you will struggle to properly cut the grass blades, often shredding them rather than producing a clean cut, resulting in poor growth and patches appearing.

Moreover, if the mower isn’t powerful enough for your lawn condition, then the entire process becomes far more difficult than it should be. For instance, if you have lots of thick growth with weed grasses, then a mower with a powerful engine and sharp blade makes all the difference.

Also, the best lawn mowers require less maintenance and last a very long time, so they usually offer better value for money over the long-term.

Read our mower buying guides on cordless, petrol, electric and manual models to help you choose a machine that is a good fit for your garden.

Sharp Blades are a Must

Even the best mower blades dull over time, so if you are working with an older machine then it may need to be replaced or the blades sharpened. As mentioned above, a sharp blade produces a clean cut on the grass, which is essential for healthy grass and a better-looking lawn.

If you are sharpening the blade on a petrol mower, always remove the spark plugs first, as these can cause the engine to accidentally start if not fully disconnected.

Not everyone can change or sharpen a blade though, so if you are unsure about doing this you can hire a professional to sharpen the blade for you. It’s an important part of mower maintenance and will make mowing easier and more efficient.

Never Cut too Much Grass at Once

When mowing the lawn always follow the one third rule – never cut more than one third of the grass height at once. Mowing puts grass under serious stress and if you remove too much at once it can very detrimental to grass health, causing all kinds of issues, while it won’t have much time to recover if you are mowing regularly.

So, never remove too much at once. You don’t even need to cut one third of the grass, as you could remove even less each time. The less you cut the less stressful it is for the grass, so by removing small amounts with each mow, you encourage healthy growth throughout the lawn.

Therefore, you want to take advantage of different cutting heights! Keep it high for the first few cuts of the season, gradually lowering the blade height each week, removing a little grass each time for the best results.

Regular mowing is needed when using this approach though, so if you don’t want to do this just cut one third of grass every 7-10 days.

Mowing in the Right Pattern

There are two main patterns you can mow in – back and forth and around in a circle.

Back and forth is best for square lawns. This involves pushing the mower forward in a straight line and then pulling it back again once you reach the end. It’s simple and effective, working on most average shaped lawns.

Circular patterns are needed for awkwardly shaped lawns. Basically, you move in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction, working your way inside or outside depending on where you started.

Regardless of your pattern, always swap directions you start from each week. For instance, if you go left to right one week, do it right to left the next week. This avoids the grass leaning in one direction, which can occur if you start from the same position each week.

Mulching for Natural Fertiliser

If your mower has a mulching function be sure to take advantage! This basically chops all grass clippings into a very fine consistency and disperses it on the lawn. The clippings decompose and return nutrients to the lawn, acting as a natural fertiliser.

Should you not have a mulcher you can just go over the clippings again! It requires more time and effort but the results a much the same, with the old grass feeding new growth, leading to fuller and greener grass.

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