How to mow a lawn – all the tips and tricks you'll need

Our advice on how to mow a lawn will transform your patch of grass into your garden's crowning glory

how to mow a lawn: lawn mowing tips and tricks
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We've rounded up the tips and tricks on how to mow a lawn to ensure your garden will be the envy of all your neighbours. Sure, you could just mindlessly run the mower over every month or so, but these are the insider secrets that will get your lawn looking great. Think of it like a hair cut – you could quickly hack it with the kitchen scissors, but it'll look so much better with some TLC.

Timing is everything when it comes to mowing your lawn. Never cut your lawn between October and 'First Cut Sunday', which is usually the first weekend in April. This leaves the lawn to rest during winter when there's very little growth. It also means you can avoid cutting during wet weather or frosty conditions, which can damage the roots.

The golden rule of lawn trimming is to never trim more than a third of the blades at a time. If your lawn is overgrown, be patient and spend a few weeks getting it back to the length you desire.

You'll need to make sure you've got the best tools for the job, so take a look at our guides to the best lawn mower and best strimmers for 2020.

How to mow your lawn

1. Make sure your lawn mower has sharp blades and is free from debris. You can remove and sharpen the blades yourself or look for a local company online to do it for you.

2. Set the height of your mower to the length you want to cut the grass (see below). If you don't know how to do this, check the manufacturer's instructions. There are normally levels on each wheel that allow you to move the body of the mower, and therefore the blades, up or down.

3. If your lawn has got a bit overgrown, resist the temptation to set your mower to its lowest setting as you'll just 'scalp' the lawn, which damages the blades and can lead to weeds. Instead, follow the rule of thirds and never cut more than a third of the blades off in one go. This will encourage fresh, healthy growth but start to neaten things up.

4. Move any pots, plants, children's toys or games off the lawn.

5. Mow around the edge of your lawn first and then mow the body of the lawn up and down in straight lines. Don't walk too quickly or you won't get an even cut.

TOP TIP: It's always best to wear trousers when mowing to protect your legs.

How often should you mow your lawn?

During summer, trim your lawn as often as it needs – don't be dictated by your schedule, but by the grass. So don't mow every Sunday because it suits you, grow when the grass is long enough for you to need to trim it down by a third. This will usually be once a week.

Always avoid mowing on really hot, dry days as you'll expose the roots of the grass to the sun and cause more damage than good.

How to cut new grass

If you're regrowing patches of your lawn from seed, be especially careful not to damage it. First-season grass from seed is especially tender, so wait until it's at least three inches long before trimming. And remember – only take a third off at a time!

lawn mowing tips and tricks

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Keep the edges of your lawn looking neat

There's no point getting the main bulk of your lawn trimmed to perfection if messy edges let it down. If the edges are generally uneven, you may need to re-cut them with a half-moon edging iron or, if you don't have one, a sharp spade. Once you've got a neat shape, choose a strimmer or a pair of sharp, long shears to keep those rogue blades in check.

Top lawn mowing tips

  • Splash on apple cider vinegar instead of weedkiller: it's just as effective and more eco-friendly
  • Wear your stilettos (yes really!) – the heels will help puncture thick grass and let nutrients penetrate the soil
  • Put rusty nails in your watering can – grass needs iron to grow, and the nails will release iron into the water

Check out these top buys for your lawn: