What Direction Should You Mow Your Lawn?

Growing up, we didn’t have a very big yard to mow.

We have one side of our yard that was maybe 1 foot wide right along the street, which didn’t make it very convenient for changing the direction of mowing.

So typically we mowed it in the same pattern each time we mowed it.

This begs a few questions: what direction should you mow your lawn and should you mow in the same direction each time? The direction you mow the lawn doesn’t really matter as long as you are not mowing the lawn at the same time each time.

Continue to read on to find out why the above is true.

In what shape should you mow your lawn?

Most people will swear by a certain pattern for their lawn.

This is either for convenience or because one look is better than another, in their opinion.

But other than that, most opinions aren’t backed up by anything.

There are also many different options of shapes that you can mow in.

Would it be better to mow in a circle or in a square shape?

The shape you should mow your lawn really depends on your situation.

If you have a large mower that will cover a good amount of area in one mow, you can do all kinds of shapes with your lawnmower.

And you don’t have to worry about the amount of time it is going to take.

You could go over the same area multiple times and not have to worry about taking up too much time.

If you have a single mower, though, instead of a riding lawn mower, you might want to take a little more time to consider how you mow the lawn and what shape to do it in.

For example, if you have a straight-back lawn that doesn’t have too many obstacles, then going in a square might be the most efficient for you.

Going in a circle in this situation might make it so you are taking up more time than you really have to.

And instead of going in straight rows down and back, you could also go in a square around the outside of the whole lawn until you finally finish in the middle of the yard.

On the flip side, you could also start in the middle of the lawn and then end on the outside.

Though, in my opinion, starting on the outside and going in seems so much more satisfying than the former.

But, in the end, the shape you mow your lawn really doesn’t matter.

What really does matter is

Change your direction

When it comes down to it, there are two important things to remember.

The first being not to cut your grass too quickly.

Meaning, if your grass is getting long, don’t cut it to the regular length on first pass.

When you cut your grass too quickly and too short, the grass then has to focus on growing the grass blade instead of putting the roots deeper into the ground.

Hence why you shouldn’t cut it too short too quickly.

To read more on this, you can read one of our previous articles here

The second is that you should change the direction you are cutting your grass.

It can be a force of habit to cut the grass the same way every time, but you should avoid doing this.

I think that was probably part of the reason why my dad wanted me to switch from going up and down (North and South) the lawn to going back and forth (West and East) on the lawn.

Not only did it look good with the checkerboard pattern on the lawn, but it also helped with the life of the grass.

When you mow the grass in the same direction, the grass gets used to that pattern and will start to lean that way.

For instance, if you are mowing North to South, the grass will start leaning North on the pattern you are going North and South on the pattern going South.

Eventually, the grass is going to start looking like it is laying down instead of standing straight up.

There is a way to address your grass when it gets like this.

The way you address the issue is to pull out a rake and rake the grass the opposite way it is leaning.

The grass will eventually start to stand back up.

If you have a large yard, you might not want to walk around your whole yard raking your grass to get it to act appropriately.

So you can avoid this whole situation if you change up the pattern in which you mow the lawn.

This could even mean starting at the far end of the lawn instead of the closest end.

This could also mean going North to South one week and then West to East the next week.

Or going in a square one week and then in a circle the next week.

Just remember that the important part is to change up how you are mowing the grass week to week.

A specific pattern is a preference more than anything.

Something else to consider

What you are going to do with the grass clippings is another thing to consider when mowing the lawn.

If you are bagging your grass clippings, then that might not change how you mow the lawn.

Grass clippings are typically good for mulch or for your compost pile.

So if you are bagging your grass clippings, that is what you should use them for.

You should really consider another option though.

If your lawnmower has the option, consider mulching the grass clippings back into the lawn instead of putting them into a pile to decompose.

My lawnmower has an extra attachment I can put into it that will open it up to allow the grass clippings to go flying back into the lawn.

Some lawn mowers, all you have to do is remove the bag and the lawnmower with throw the clippings back into the lawn.

The reason you should consider this is because the grass clippings are going to act like a natural fertilizer when they are cut up and put back into the lawn.

Since the grass will decompose, they will put nutrients back into the live grass and provide it with things that the grass needs to continue living.

So what does this have to do with in what direction you mow your lawn?

Depending on your lawn mower, it is going to kick the grass clippings out somewhere from the lawn mower.

It could be to the left hand side of the lawn mower or the right.

It could also be behind the lawn mower.

Anyway, you are going to want the lawnmower to spit out the grass clippings towards the grass that you are going to be mowing.

If you run over the same grass clippings at least once, this will leave the clippings rather short, allowing them to cover more area of the lawn.

Thus spreading the nutrients around.

So, if your lawnmower pushes the clippings out to the right of the lawnmower, then start mowing on the left-hand side of the yard.

This will put the clippings back into the lawn.

Don’t mulch the grass clippings if you are dealing with long grass.

The grass clippings getting onto the lawn could cause the lawn mower to have a harder time mowing the grass.

You will end up having a lot of stops and starts while mowing, which would thus make it take a longer time to finish.

With longer grass, bag the grass clippings and put them in your compost pile.

And save yourself the hassle longer grass typically causes.


Keep in mind that the direction you mow your lawn doesn’t really matter.

What really matters is that you make sure to change up the pattern every few weeks.

If you don’t, you’ll end up having flat grass and then you’ll have to spend more time to unflatten it.

Change up the pattern and that not only helps with the health of the grass, but also gives a good look to the lawn.

Bill Lantz

Bill Lantz is a database analyst by day and a weekend warrior by... weekend. He's currently building up his own miniature homestead in Central Utah with his wife and six kids. Some of his interests include knowing random trivia about films, reading history books, and playing video games with the boys.

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