A well-kept lawn is something to truly appreciate at home. I think that much we can all agree on. But what divides many of us is how much we enjoy mowing or the time we have available to dedicate to it. Some people love getting out and mowing, others absolutely hate it. Or maybe you have a ton of other responsibilities and you need to get it done as quickly as possible.
I’m here to help you figure out how to mow the lawn faster. Reducing the number of turns to an absolute minimum, mowing when dry, and keeping your blade sharp are my top 3 tips based on experience.
How to Mow the Lawn Faster: Mowing Tactics to Increase Speed
Turns are the enemy when it comes to trying to mow your lawn as quickly as possible. The more times you turn your mower around, the longer it takes. If you want to know how to mow the lawn faster, the name of the game is reducing those turns to the minimum number possible.
Here are a few tips to help you do just that:
Lawn Features – Tackle Them First
If you’ve got a regular lawn design, with no features, this tip won’t apply to you. But if your lawn does have features, I’d recommend you tackle them first, before you start making full passes. This is because irregularly shaped features can make you have to alter your passes every time, as well as increasing the number of turns, which slows you down significantly.
Common features include flower beds, garden ornaments, rocks and trees. Once you’ve done these areas you can move on to the rest of your lawn.
Make Longest Passes Possible
This depends a little bit on the shape of your lawn, but it’s a good idea to tackle it in rows. And you’re going to want to make these rows as long as possible. So if your lawn is wider than it is long, you’re going to want to mow in horizontal rows. If it is longer than it is wide, mow up and down in vertical rows. If your lawn is square-shaped, this obviously doesn’t matter.
Mow in a Circular Pattern
There are lots of different lawn mowing patterns and techniques, with rows being one of the most commonly used, but other patterns can work more effectively depending on the shape of your lawn. It has to be wide enough in both directions to make it feasible to mow in a circular pattern, so lawns that are long but very narrow wouldn’t be a good fit.
The good thing about mowing in a circular pattern is that it minimizes the number of turns when compared to rows, so you spend more time actually cutting, meaning you mow the lawn faster.
Conditions and Cutting Style
Mowing faster is not all about the actual mowing pattern. The right conditions and type of cut can also help give you an edge and finish quicker.
Only Mow When the Grass is Dry
If you’ve tried to mow the grass when it’s damp, you’ll know it’s much harder going than when it’s dry. The clippings tend to clump together and they stick to EVERYTHING! Not only that, it’s harder to get a clean cut too as the grass doesn’t stand up tall like it does when it’s dry. I personally find that mowing in damp conditions (which I avoid at all costs by the way) adds at least 25% extra time onto the job, if not more.
If you’re wondering “how long should I wait to mow the grass after it rains?” I’d wait a few hours. When paths and pavements are dry, it’ll likely be dry enough (and quicker) to mow.
Mulch Your Clippings (If It’s Not Windy)
Most people I know bag their clippings. I do 60-70% of the time too. But I have to tell you, the trips to empty out the grass catcher really do add on a few extra minutes to every session. I don’t have a huge lawn, but end up stopping to dump clippings probably 3-4 times on each mow. That means I stop, detach the grass catcher, dump the clippings in the yard waste container, walk back to my yard, reattach the catcher, and start up the mower. And I do that roughly 4 times each time I mow.
You can save yourself all that extra work by mulching your clippings. Providing you keep on top of your yard maintenance and are only take off a small amount each time, mulching can be very effective and beneficial to your lawn. Clippings will be deposited directly onto your lawn and you don’t need to do anything else. Another secondary advantage to this, which also helps you to mow the lawn faster, is that with no catcher on the back of your mower, it’ll be lighter and easier to push. My mower really does get noticeably heavier as the catcher starts to fill.
You’ll notice that I did put one condition on this tip though – “If It’s Not Windy”. If you mulch and have high winds ripping around your yard, you’ll see why. The amount of time it takes to clear the clippings up afterward (which will have blown all over your patio and everywhere else), will offset any time you initially gained by mulching.
Lawn Mower Maintenance that Will Help You Mow the Lawn Faster
The pattern and conditions in which you choose to mow can definitely provide “quick wins” when it comes to mowing your grass faster and more efficiently, but there’s something to be said for keeping up with your lawn mower maintenance too. A well-maintained mower is an efficient mower, and that helps you to get the job done faster.
Here’s a couple of things I’d recommend you keep a close eye on in particular:
Given that this is the part of your lawn mower that actually does the cutting, the sharpness of the blade has a massive impact on how quickly you can mow your lawn. If it’s dull, it’ll take you much longer and put a lot more extra strain on the engine/motor too.
So every few sessions, check in on the blade. Blades can dull if you frequently run over stones or debris, and mowing in tough conditions such as thick grass or weeds will also dull the blade quite quickly. If you notice a sudden drop off in cut quality, it’s also a sign that you might want to look into sharpening or replacing your blade.
Condition of the Cutting Deck
If you’re not careful, the underside of your cutting deck can become coated in loose clippings. If these are not removed after you’re done mowing, they will dry out and become solid. They’re then super difficult to get off! They become almost like a second skin.
Keeping your deck free of clippings is another great way to mow the lawn faster. A deck in good condition will circulate air (and therefore clippings) more effectively, so the cutting process is handled quicker, less strain is put on the motor/engine and ultimately you get the job done quicker.
Modifications You Can Make to Your Lawn Mower to Make It Faster
How do you make a lawn mower go faster? As well as routine maintenance, you can also make some modifications to your mower to increase its speed. Changing the length of the governor spring and upgrading to a premium engine oil and premium gas can be good ideas for walk-behind mowers. For riding mowers, changing your current wheels for bigger ones, reducing the weight of the mower, and upgrading to a bigger engine pulley are all ways to get some extra speed.
The Key to Mowing the Lawn Faster
I hope I haven’t disappointed you in this post. You might have come here thinking that there’s got to be some kind of magical technique or masterclass on how to mow the lawn faster that you’ve overlooked all of these years, but the truth is quick and efficient mowing is really about using common sense and good preparation.
Choose the mowing pattern for your lawn that implicates the fewest turns possible, mow in the right conditions (dry grass), and keep your mower in fighting shape (sharp blade). Get these things right and I guarantee you’ll mow a lot quicker.