Lawn owners know the importance of properly caring for your grass. While you could hire a gardener for the job, many homeowners do the task themselves to save money. Consistent lawn care is important, and overgrown lawns require a different approach than regularly maintained lawns.
When mowing your lawn, follow a few easy steps to make sure the job is done properly and safely.
Yard pickup and mower preparation
- Branch trimmers
- Work gloves
- Yard rake
It is important to take a walk through your yard before you mow to remove any obstructions, trash, or debris out of the path of your mower. The section below details what you need to look for while performing a walkthrough of your yard.
Step 1: Walk the yard. Start off by walking around your yard.
Look for items such as branches, trash, or other debris that might damage the blades of your mower. You should also pick up smaller items that the mower could throw, causing damage to your home, passing cars, you, or pedestrians.
- Trim the branches: Your initial walkthrough also represents a good time to trim any low hanging branches, especially if you must pass beneath the tree to mow.
Also take this opportunity to trim the bushes around the area where you mow and discard the branches and debris, along with the other loose items you find on your walk.
Step 2: Rake the leaves. In addition, you should also rake up any fallen leaves.
If necessary, gather the leaves in a large trash bag for disposal.
Mowing your lawn
- Gasoline (in an approved container) or a battery (for an electric lawnmower)
- Push, self-propelled, or riding lawnmower
When mowing your lawn, follow certain cutting patterns to ensure that you mow all of the grass on your lawn and give it the best cut. The cutting pattern you need to use depends on what type of mower you use. Also vary your mowing pattern each time you mow, if possible, to prevent your grass from developing a grain in the cut.
The following section details how to mow a lawn using a push/self-propelled mower or a riding mower.
Push and self-propelled mowers represent the most common types of mowers used in the U.S. When mowing with a push/self-propelled mower, mow across an incline as opposed to up and down. Some other steps to follow when mowing using a push or self-propelled mower include:
Step 1: Mow in rows. The easiest pattern to use is to mow in a straight line.
Mow all the way across your lawn in a straight line, overlapping the previous row slightly as you follow it.
At the end of the row, turn around and follow the same mowing pattern. Repeat this until you have mowed all of your yard.
- Check for missed spots: As you mow, keep your eye out for any sections of grass you might have missed.
Dull lawn mower blades can also cause an uneven cut and might require you to go over a section again. The best way to avoid this is to get your blades sharpened at the beginning of the mowing season.
Using a riding mower to cut your grass is a little different. Unlike a push or self-propelled mower, a riding mower usually does not have the same turn radius. This requires you to take into account the wider turns you must make as detailed in the steps below.
Step 1: Mow initial rows. For the first two rows of mowing, you want your riding mower positioned so that the grass discharge chute is to the inside of your yard.
This allows you to mow close to obstructions, such as your house or the road, without getting grass on everything.
Start from the outer edge of your yard and follow the edge of your yard all the way around.
Just as with a push or self-propelled mower, overlap the previous row as you follow it.
Step 2: Invert mowing pattern. Beginning with your third row, turn the riding mower around so that the grass discharge chute now points to the outside of the yard.
Follow the same pattern of slightly overlapping the previous row of cut grass, mowing from the outside edge of your yard in toward the center.
Step 3: Mow in sections. Keep in mind that you probably need to mow your yard in sections, which makes mowing bigger yards more manageable.
Just remember to start each section at the outer edge and work your way in toward the center of that section of yard.
In addition, if mowing on a hill, make sure to mow up and down the hill as opposed to side-to-side, to avoid tipping the mower over.
If an incline is more than 15 degrees, do not use a riding mower to cut the grass. Use a push or self-propelled mower instead.