The perfect checkerboard pattern found in professional baseball and football fields is an awesome sight. It may look as though it requires special equipment or using colored dyes on your lawn to achieve the effect, but this is not the case. The checkerboard pattern is achieved when the grass is pushed down in such a way as to cause the light to reflect in different colors off opposing surfaces. You can easily make this happen by mowing your lawn in a few different directions using some basic equipment. Follow the steps below to make a checkerboard pattern on your own lawn.
Start With a Well-Tended Lawn
The quality of the grass you start with is of the utmost importance in achieving the checkerboard effect. Regular professional maintenance is the key to lush green grass with a tight growing pattern. The proper treatment of fertilizers, an effective watering schedule, adequate drainage and mowing on a regular schedule to the proper height are necessary measures for a good looking lawn. Consult with a lawn care professional or check out our “Giving your Lawn the Home Field Advantage” e-book for more detailed instructions and support.
As mentioned before, the checkerboard pattern occurs when the grass is bent in two different directions. The grass that moves away from you will appear lighter than the grass that moves towards you. Here are a few different ways you can get your grass to do this:
- Any kind of push mower can do it, but a reel mower with a good sharp blade will do the best job. Most newer models of reel mowers have a roller on them that can be adjusted to push the grass down.
- If you are using a gas or electric mower, attach a roller to it to push the grass down.
- An alternative to the roller is to weigh the rubber flap at the back of your mower down with a small weight on each side. This will also push the grass down as you move along.
Types of Grass
To bring out the colors you will want, consider a grass that has a strong contrast of color on each side. Choose hardy varieties such as, Ryegrass, Fescue and Bluegrass for the best results. Warm weather grasses like Bermuda and Zoysia are more common and you can still get the checkerboard effect with these, but it will not show quite as well.
Now that you are growing a lush patch of green grass and you’ve gathered the proper equipment, it is time to mow the lawn. Here are the steps:
- Mow the entire lawn in straight lines going in one direction (North to South).
- Pass over it a second time in a crosswise direction (East to West).
- To achieve straight lines follow the edge of a sidewalk, fence-line or house, or lay out a piece of string. Also, remember to look ahead of you about 10 feet rather than down at the ground as you walk. Once you get one straight line you just follow it to get the rest straight.
With these simple steps you will be enjoying a checkerboard lawn worthy of your favorite ball park or NFL stadium in about the same amount of time it would take to mow your lawn normally. One final tip is to water the lawn after cutting it to really bring out the pattern.
Want to learn more about lawn maintenance? Check out our free downloadable e-book!