website designed by Marissa Oketayot

CREATING TURF DESIGN PATTERNS

Over the years, TV coverage of games, highlights on ESPN have helped increase the exposure and popularity of field designs. Field designs are an opportunity to make a baseball diamond sparkle and the aesthetic of a dazzling field captures the attention of those who see it and play on it.

HOW I CREATE PATTERNS

Due to patterns I've created, I receive inquiries from around the world asking how these striking patterns are done. People often think it is done with paints, different types of grass, or even varying cutting heights. However, the ones I create are not (although designs can be done using those techniques).

 

Here's how we do it: we roll or bend the grass blades in different directions. A light stripe is mowed away from you and a dark stripe is mowed toward you. Additionally, we cut the grass, which originated as 100% Kentucky Bluegrass sod, to uniform 1 inch height. I recommend that a homeowner mows at 2.5- 3.5 inches cutting height for cool season grasses to allow the grass blades to shade the soil to lessen water requirements. The general rule of thumb is to never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time so mow more often if need be to follow this guideline. This will help keep the grass plant from the shock of being scalped should more of the blade be removed.

 

Additionally, some patterns are done with different widths of lines, maybe a double or triple wide line combined with single lines or even thin walk behind mower lines. To give the pattern extra depth or contrast we will disengage the mowing reels and go back over and reroll the lines. Establishing a pattern this way can intensify the contrast of the light and dark green colors and add dimension to an attractive design.


As for the time it can take to put a pattern on our 84,000 square foot of turf, it can take from as little a 45 minutes to 2 hours. However, certain patterns take longer because of the amount of time involved in setup and  being careful with the additional turns and details of an intricate designs.

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TIPS FROM DAVID

You have one opportunity to make a first impression, whether it's a professional sports field, corporate green space, or your home lawn.

Have a great time showcasing your works of art--

if you're up to it, post on social media and tag me! 

Mow like a Pro and have Fun!

GROUNDING STATEMENT

Safety and playability are the first priority with any athletic field. Part of a safer sports turf is a vigorous, healthy actively growing grass strong enough to withstand use and provide good footing, yet soft and resilient enough to prevent injuries. A lush, healthy turf is the perfect canvas for creating an artistic image. The extra effort in planning the design, to the actual making of it is a great way to show your willingness to make the extra effort. The reactions and interest a stunning pattern can attract can bring positive feedback. Whether a pattern is a basic checkerboard or a unique display always remember to be careful not to harm the grass while installing them. A pattern should not affect how the game is played, only enhance the magic and aura of the facility. 

LAWN ART

Patterns can be used ornamentally to dress up landscapes too. They give the turf a polished, finished appearance. When done well they add an elegant touch to a manicured yard or office complex. lt is in itself a new form of "lawn art."

GRASS CUTTING

The general rule of thumb is to never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. This will help keep the grass plant from the shock of being scalped should more of the blade be removed.

EQUIPMENT

Patterns can be created with equipment ranging from reel type mowers, drag mats, sweepers, to rotary mowers with rollers, even a common roller squeegee made for water removal can be used. You can make your own roller by filling a PVC pipe with cement, adding bolts anchored in the ends and then attaching an old lawn mower handle to it. For step by step instructions see my first book, Picture Perfect: Mowing Techniques for Lawns, Landscapes and Sports. The weight of the cement in the PVC pipe will add down pressure. After using your rotary mower you can go back to the roller increasing the effectiveness of each walking pass over the grass and roll in a beautiful design. Be sure your rotary mower blades are kept razor sharp to ensure a clean cut. Dull mower blades tear and shred the grass hurting it and detracting from its beauty. Try to sharpen your blades regularly.

DESIGN INSPIRATION

You are only limited by your imagination so let it run wild! Designs can be geometric, based on plaids, words, logos wavy lines. Fun fact: I've even installed patterns from my daughter's crayon drawings. And because I'm a loyal Red Sox fan and Ohio state grad, I'm pretty sure that the Yankees and Michigan logos will kill the grass! 

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