When I was teenager, my dad assigned my brother and me chores for which we were paid a small weekly allowance. My brother, who was not very mechanically minded, hated cutting the grass, one of his assigned chores. I was always looking for a bit more money, so I convinced him to pay me to mow the lawn for him.
You see, I love to do work where I can see and admire the results. I’m also really well organized, and it wasn’t long before I developed my own system to make the job easier and faster. Back then, I used a manual push mower to mow the small yard around my childhood home, but after I grew up, I purchased a home built on 2 acres. The same system worked just as well with my large gas powered riding mower even though the segments were larger as far as this might be well concerned ever.
The first step is to examine the yard for patterns or segments: squares, rectangles, circles. Then break down your plan so that you tackle one segment at a time, moving from one to the next until the entire areas have been mowed. Planning ahead saves time because you move smoothly from one segment to the next instead of jumping from place to place randomly.
Step 2 is to prepare the lawn. Make sure the lawn is dry; wet grass does not cut well and the grass clumps in the catcher bag or compartment. Be sure to pick up any objects on the lawn: toys, tools, rocks, twigs, or debris. If you have pets, clean up anything they may have left behind on the grass. Running over any stray items on the lawn is a hazard to you and can damage the mower.
The first step to completing the job quickly is the do your edge trimming first. Be sure to trim all the way around the edge of the yard so that you leave 4-5 inches of trimmed edge—enough so that as you push or drive your mower past the blade of the mower overlaps the trimmed space. That way you won’t have to go back and re-trim after the mowing is complete. Be sure to trim around flower beds, trees, sidewalk or patio edges, swing sets, above ground pools, or other items permanently setting on the grass, as well as along the fence line as far as it’s concerned.
Step two is to begin mowing your first section. The real “trick” to moving quickly is to cut the grass in overlapping straight swaths. For example, if the segment you are working on is a rectangle, push or drive the mower in a straight line, beginning at one edge, from one end or side of the rectangle to the other, then turn around, and making sure your mower blade overlaps your last strip by 2-3 inches (wider of you’re using a larger riding mower), drive back in the opposite direction. Repeat this process until you have covered the entire section.
Proceed to the next section and follow the pattern you believe best for that segment. Circles can be mowed in a lapping circle from the outside in, always making sure to keep the 2-3 in lap so no grass is left standing. Triangle and oddly shaped sections will require some creativity on your part as you determine the most efficient mowing pattern for that section.
When you finish, relax and admire your work. A few additional tips might come in handy to make your work easier. First, always be sure that if you’re using a gas-powered mower (or trimmer) that it’s in good working order and that you have a full tank of gas; having to stop to fill up will take time. If you are using an electric device with a cord, make certain not to always keep the cord behind you; running over the cord will eliminate your power and could be dangerous to your health and well-being. When you have finished, clean up your tools and store them in a location where they will be safe from the elements.
Since you’ve done such a great job, and your lawn looks awesome, you can spend the time you’ve saved relaxing with a cold beer or soda.