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How to Mow a Lawn: Steps, Tips, & Tricks

man mowing his frontyard

Most homeowners view lawn mowing as the bane of summer. You might be one such homeowner. Although lawn mowing does require some time, it is relatively simple if you have the right steps and tips in mind.

In this article, learn the top tips and tricks for how to mow a lawn.

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Gather Your Supplies

Before we dive into the steps for mowing a lawn, you first have to gather your needed supplies. The good news is that you only will need one or two tools to effectively mow your lawn.

Obviously, you will need a lawn mower. It’s important that you select a lawnmower based on your lawn and skills. Many suburban homes have a gas-powered push mower. These mowers are strong and compact. Some other mowers to consider include electric push mowers, gas walk-behind mowers, and riding mowers.

If you have a gas mower, make sure that you have enough fuel as well. You will need gas and oil. The oil needs to be changed every two to three mows

Technically speaking, the mower and fuel are the only items you absolutely need. However, you probably want your lawn to look great. In that case, you will also need a string trimmer or an edger and a leaf blower. These tools will allow you to get the proper finish of professionals.

Pick the Right Time

Let’s talk about lawn mowing timing. Although you may be tempted to mow your lawn in whatever free time you have, it’s best to select your lawn mowing time strategically.

On the one hand, you want to select a time when the grass is dry. If the grass is wet, it will clump and make the lawn mowing task even more difficult than it already is. On the other hand, you don’t want to mow during the hottest part of the day. Not only will the job be miserable, but the grass will not be perky enough for effective mowing.

For best results, try to mow your lawn mid-morning between the hours of 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM. Most of the dew will have evaporated at this time, but the blades of grass will not be sweltering in the heat either. If you cannot mow during the mid-morning, try late afternoon instead.

Not just any mid-morning will do. Don’t select a morning after a heavy rain. If it rained heavily the night before, the grass will likely be too wet. Try to select a morning where the grass feels perky but isn’t too wet either.

gardener on a riding lawn mower
Image Credit: tommaso79, Shutterstock

Protect Yourself

After you have selected the best day and time to mow your yard, it’s important that you protect yourself. Although lawnmowing isn’t particularly dangerous, you still want to keep your body safe. It’s important to wear protective clothing as a result.

Always start with a good layer of sunscreen on your face and body. Even if it seems cloudy, harmful UV rays will reach you while mowing the lawn.

Once you are lathered up in sunscreen, wear long sleeves and pants. These sleeves will protect you from the sun, but they will also protect your skin from debris that is dislodged during the mowing process. Put on sturdy, close-toed footwear to keep your toes safe.

Lastly, put on the final touches in terms of protective wear. You should have glasses, gloves, a hat, and noise-protection headphones. All these tools will ensure your body is protected from the elements, noise, and weather.

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The 5 Steps on How to Mow a Lawn

Now that you have thoroughly protected yourself, it’s time to start mowing. Here are the 5 easy steps for mowing a lawn.

1. Prep Your Yard

Before you get started, prep your yard. Prepping your yard includes clearing away any toys or large debris that the lawnmower cannot roll over. This step ensures that the lawnmower is well taken care of and only cuts through the grass.

2. Prep Your Mower

red lawn mower in the field
Image Credit: Piqsels

Once everything is cleared out of the way, it’s time to prep your mower. Begin by setting the mowing height based on your grass and climate. In most areas, the grass height should be between two and three inches.

If you don’t know what your ideal grass height should be, talk to a local agricultural extension program. You can also try talking to home improvement associates, such as the associates at Home Depot. Most will be able to help you.

Next, check the fuel and oil levels. You never want to add fuel to the mower once it is turned on and warm. Fill it up all the way before you begin mowing. Check the oil every two to three mows and add any oil as needed.

3. Start at the Perimeter

Now, you can fire up the lawnmower and start mowing. Begin by creating a perimeter. This perimeter is easy if you already have a square-shaped lawn. If you have trees or rounded planting beds, create straight lines that you can use as a guide.

4. Mow Back and Forth in Straight Lines

man using lawn mower
Image Credit: Roman Zaiets, Shutterstock

After you create the guide, it’s time to start actually mowing. Mow back and forth in a straight line. Have these lines slightly overlap to ensure you don’t miss any blades. Continue doing this until you completely mow your lawn and it is finished.

If you have slopes, still mow back and forth, but position the lawnmower so that you mow side to side on the slope. You don’t want to be facing straight down or up on a slope. Avoiding this position will make it easier to walk on the slope with the lawn mower.

5. Add Finishing Touches

After you have completely mowed your lawn, the last thing to do is to add finishing touches. Use a trimmer to clean up the edges. Blow away any grass clippings that are on your driveway or other visible spots.

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Other Lawn Mowing Tips

Although the steps above are critical for effectively mowing the lawn, there are some other tips to keep in mind as well. These tips will ensure that your lawn is mowed safely over time and always looks beautiful.

Don’t Leave Clumps of Grass on the Lawn

It is OK to leave clips of grass on your lawn after you are finished mowing, but there should not be large clumps of grass on the lawn. These large clumps will dull the blades and impact the health of your lawn. Bag up lumps of grass and toss them.

Mow on the Lawn’s Schedule, Not Yours

Many homeowners make the mistake of mowing on their schedule, not the lawn schedule. This is a mistake. You always want to mow the grass based on the lawn’s needs.

As a rule of thumb, never mow more than a third of the grass’ total height per mowing. What this means is that if your lawn is 2 inches high, wait until the grass is 3 inches. Then, cut it back down to the 2-inch mark.

Mowing the lawn on the lawn schedule ensures that your lawn looks well-manicured and that your grass is healthy. Although this may require you to mow more or less frequently than you prefer, it is essential for a healthy yard.

Old traditional ride on lawn mower
Image Credit: Bluesnap, Pixabay

Maintain the Lawn Mower

Lawnmowers are pretty big expenses. It’s important that you care for them properly. Obviously, make sure that the mower has the right fuel and oil.

You also have to pay attention to the blades. Dull blades will damage your grass and make it more difficult to cut your lawn. Keep your blades sharp. You can maintain your blades by cleaning them after every use and sharpening them as needed.

Change Directions

If you always mow in the same direction, your grass will begin to bend permanently. Avoid this scenario by changing mowing directions. Alternate between mowing in the north-south direction and the east-west direction between each mowing session. This will keep the grass standing up straight.

Try Making Patterns

In the steps above, we provided you with the most basic mowing pattern. As you get more experienced, you might want to try making patterns in the grass. These patterns will make your grass look professionally mowed.

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Final Thoughts

Following the steps above, you will be able to mow your grass in no time. Although mowing your lawn may be a burden at first, you will quickly get the hang of the task and be more efficient than ever. Who knows, maybe you’ll begin looking forward to this task.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay


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