Our Top Tips for How to Mow a Lawn in New Zealand

Date: 8 Jun 2024

Many people mow their lawns on a standard setting and hope for the best, but if you’d like to keep your lawn looking great and staying healthy, we have some perfect tips for mowing the lawn. Keeping on top of your lawn care means no more wild, overgrown grass that chokes your garden, no more scalping or dead grass — you can feel good about your yard and know you’ve done everything possible to keep it healthy. Here are our top 20 lawn mowing tips to help your lawn stay picture-perfect.

1. Plant Wisely

Choose the right grass type for your garden’s aspect and soil type. Once lawns are established, avoid cross-contamination. For example, if your footpath is Kikuyu but your back lawn is Couch, clean your mower between mowing each area to prevent one grass type from overtaking another.

2. Water with Care

Watering is crucial for a thriving lawn. Water during the morning (6am-9am) to avoid burning grass in the afternoon heat or causing disease with night watering. New lawns need frequent watering, while established lawns can typically be watered 2-3 times a week in warm weather.

3. Take Your Time

Rushing mowing can lead to missed patches or over-mowing. Keep your mower at a medium setting and go slow and steady, especially in tricky spots like corners or borders.

4. Maintain Your Lawn Mower

Regularly service your lawn mower to prevent unexpected breakdowns. Clean the mower body, air filters, and small engine components, check and replace oil and fuel as needed, inspect pull-cords, and keep blades sharp to ensure a clean cut.

5. Avoid Mowing a Wet Lawn

Mowing a wet lawn can damage both the lawn and your mower. Wait for the grass to dry to avoid clogging mower blades, tearing grass, and exposing your lawn to disease.

6. Trim Your Edges

Create a polished look by trimming your lawn edges. Use a plank or twine and pegs to guide you, cut dense growth with a half-moon edger, and use grass shears and a whipper-snipper for precise borders.

7. Adjust the Cutting Height on Your Mower

Always adjust the cutting height to suit your grass type and weather conditions. Follow your mower’s manual for specific instructions on how to adjust the height.

8. Consider Your Grass Type

Different grass types require different mowing heights and frequencies. In New Zealand, common grass types include Kikuyu, Buffalo, and Fescue. Adjust your mowing schedule and blade height accordingly to maintain a healthy lawn.

9. Don’t Cut Lawns Too Short

Cutting grass too short can cause it to become stressed, wilt, and become vulnerable to pests and weeds. Aim to cut only one-third of the grass height at a time.

10. Double Cut an Overgrown Lawn

If your lawn has grown too long, mow in two separate sessions to gradually reduce the height. This helps prevent stress on the grass and ensures an even cut.

11. Stay Safe

Avoid mowing in full sun to prevent heat stress on both you and the lawn. Be cautious on slopes, mowing downhill for safety, and avoid mowing in wet conditions to prevent slipping.

12. Don’t Use Chemicals Right Before Mowing

Using insecticides or chemicals right before mowing can damage your lawn mower, the grass, and the environment.

13. Don’t Cut Newly Sown Lawn

Allow new lawns to establish strong roots and blades before mowing, usually about 3-4 weeks. Mow when the grass reaches about 40-60mm in height.

14. Lawns for All Seasons

Adjust your lawn care routine according to the season. Fertilise and water well in summer, reduce mowing frequency in autumn, aerate in winter, and fertilise and dethatch in spring.

15. Get Creative with Cut-In Patterns

Create eye-catching lawn patterns like stripes or diamonds by cutting and rolling lawns geometrically. Use guides and a striping kit for the best results.

16. Grass Clippings as Mulch or Compost

Use grass clippings as mulch or compost to enrich your garden soil. Lay clippings around 6mm deep or combine with brown material for compost.

17. Lawn Edging

Edging your lawn gives it a finished look and prevents grass from invading garden beds. Options include bricks, prefabricated materials, or spade-cut edges.

18. Eco-Friendly Lawn Mowing

Consider using manual, battery-powered, solar, or electric lawn mowers to reduce pollution and garden more sustainably.

19. Help Damaged Grass Recover

Water generously, mow in different directions, and raise the mower blade height to help lawns recover from damage. Topdress to repair patchy or uneven areas.

20. Make Life Easier

Automatic self-propelled mowers, ride-on mowers, and robot lawn mowers can make lawn care easier and more efficient.

By following these tips, you can keep your lawn looking lush and healthy while reducing the effort required for maintenance. Happy mowing!

Our Top Tips for How to Mow a Lawn in New Zealand