How to Mow Your Lawn

The Best Way to Mow Your Lawn

A weed trimmer can come in handy when mowing the yard.
A weed trimmer can come in handy when mowing the yard.
© Jones

Most experts say the best way to mow your lawn is to avoid the day's heat by doing it in the morning. In addition, avoid mowing after heavy rains, as this will make mowing more difficult and cause clippings and mulch to bunch. Mow in overlapping horizontal or vertical lines to get the most out of your mowing time, never in circles or spirals. Most experts also advise changing directions every couple of mowings. If you've mowed in horizontal lines for a few weeks, change it up and mow in a vertical pattern. This encourages a more natural lawn appearance. Alternating cutting lengths may be necessary to avoid scalping portions of uneven lawns.

An effective mower is a well-maintained mower. Keep manual and gas-powered devices away from the elements to prevent rust and keep blades sharp. Gas-powered mowers require a bit more attention, however. Have the mower serviced and tuned up prior to the spring mower season.

Of course, it doesn't matter how much care you give the mower if you ignore basic safety precautions:

  • Mow across hills -- never up and down. Freshly-cut grass can be slippery, but an added incline makes it easier to lose your footing and potentially mow over your own feet.
  • Never pull a push mower, as this also adds to the risk of slipping under the blades.
  • Wear protective eye wear when using rotary mowers and weed eaters. The spinning blades frequently fling small rocks and sticks, which can cause serious eye injury. They also stir up dust, which may necessitate the use of a face mask.
  • Remove obstacles before mowing. Obstacles include water hoses, toys, tree branches and rocks.
  • Avoid fixed objects in the yard such as sprinkler systems and water faucets.
  • Confirm the mower is off before manually clearing the blockage.
  • Keep children and animals out of the yard while mowing.

To learn more about lawn care, explore the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links


  • American Lawns. "Disadvantages of Growing Grass." 2008. (May 11, 2008)
  • American Lawns. "History of the Lawn Mower." 2008. (May 9, 2008)
  • Ellen, Mary. "Mowing a Lawn." Home & Garden Television. June 20, 2003. (May 11, 2008),,HGTV_3600_1388853,00.html
  • Gardener's Supply Company. "Be a Grower, Not a Mower." 1966. (May 11, 2008)
  • Keyser, Joe. "The GreenMan: Environmental Lawn Care." Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection. (May 11, 2008)
  • Organic Lawn Care Tips. "Guide to grass cutting heights." (May 11, 2008)
  • Pound, William E. and John R. Street. "Lawn Mowing." Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. (May 11, 2008)
  • Reel Mower Guide. "Using a Reel Mower." 2004. (May 9, 2008)