Image of a man mowing a lawn.

Learn How to Properly Mow Your Lawn

Updated October 1, 2019 . AmFam Team

Learn how to mow a lawn properly, from working with your mower to cutting your grass safely. Our key lawn mowing tips help you get consistent, great results every time. Review these safety basics, so your home can be a safer place, too.

Cutting your grass regularly can help you maintain a healthy lawn. By adjusting your mower height and keeping your blade sharp, you can increase the lifespan of your mower. Whether you’re a first-time home owner or an old pro, take a look at tips on grass clipping — you’ll improve your lawn mowing technique in no time at all.

How to Mow Your Lawn Well

When you’re mowing your lawn correctly, you can help keep it healthy. But if you’re working with a dull blade or cutting your grass too short, you could be damaging it. Take a look at our pro lawn care tips:

Set your mower height high. For great results, you’ve got to know how to set up your mower. And one key factor is setting your mower high. Adjust the wheels on the mower so they’re only clipping the top third of the grass. This will encourage your lawn to grow back fuller and thicker.

Only mow when the grass is dry. By waiting until the sun’s cooked off that morning dew, you’ll be saving yourself — and your mower — a lot of work. Wet grass is hard to cut. Aim for mowing in the early evening on days without rain.

Vary your mowing pattern. Thin wheel ruts can become permanent lines on the lawn if you mow the same way every time. By varying your mowing pattern, your grass will grow fuller in a few days. Help those grass blades stand up nice and tall by changing your path each time you mow.

Mow when necessary, not on a schedule. Grass that’s cut regularly — whether it needs it or not — may not be benefiting from the trim. A better approach is to cut your lawn when it’s grown enough to justify the work. During periods of high rain, you’ll probably need to cut it more frequently than during a drought.

Let new lawns take root before mowing. If you’ve got a young or immature lawn, be sure to let it grow a few weeks longer than you would normally. New grass seedlings typically take a while to get to mowing height, and a little wait can do your new lawn well.

Mulching mowers are smarter. Because grass breaks down quickly in the sun, keep those nutrients right where they can do the most good. Remember to compost your yard waste if you do collect the clippings.

Keep your mower blade sharp. Dull blades shred the top of your lawn blade, and that can lead to disease. Sharpen the blades and prevent the grass from drying out.

Lawn Mowing Safety Tips

Now that you know how to mow, it’s time to put safety in the spotlight and look at ways to work safely across the whole growing season.

Wear protective gear every time you mow. Safety first. Even if the temps climb, be sure you’re not skimping on staying safe. Wear wrap-around eye protection designed for outdoor work, choose pants over shorts and put on a good pair of closed-toe work shoes to keep your feet safe.

Let your mower do the work. Self-propelled, walk-behind mowers mean less pushing for you. A steady pace keeps your grass cut evenly.

Refuel when the engine’s cool. It’s smart to check your gas levels before you start mowing. To avoid getting burned and prevent wear and tear on your mower, only refuel when the engine is cool.

Purchase a smart mower with on-board safety features. When selecting a lawn mower, it’s smart to get one with an automatic blade-brake clutch system that stops the blade from rotating without turning off the engine. Blade control systems like these allow you to safely move obstacles out of the way without getting too close to a rotating blade.

Survey the area before starting to mow. Whether or not you have an automatic blade-brake clutch system, it’s a good idea to walk around your lawn and remove objects like sticks, toys, rocks, hoses and other debris before you start mowing.

Never leave your mower running. It almost goes without saying, but your mower should never be left unattended. By purchasing a mower that automatically kills the engine when you remove your hands from the push bar, you may prevent accidents from happening.

Clean the mower after the engine’s cool. After cutting the grass, let the mower cool down before cleaning. Always be sure the mower’s in the “off” position when cleaning.

Keep debris clear from the exhaust line. To prevent a fire, it’s a good idea to use a broom or rake handle to clear accumulated grass and leaves from the muffler, undercarriage and engine.

Disable the engine before your hands go near the blade. If you have to reach under your mower for any reason, remember to disconnect the spark plug wire to prevent accidental starts. If you’re using a battery-powered mower, pull the key out before working.

Keep children safe and never offer rides. Children over 12 are generally considered mature enough to handle a push mower, and anyone 16 or over can operate a riding mower. Even if it’s tempting, giving kids rides on riding lawn mowers isn’t safe. While you’re mowing, make sure kids and pets are at a safe distance because mowers can potentially throw debris.

Keeping your lawn looking great does a service for your whole community. A well-groomed home helps keep property values high, and it tells your neighbors you care. While you’re working on your lawn care routine, make time to check in with your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab). You’ll have an opportunity to explore coverage options and your agent can show you ways to save on your homeowners premium. With great coverage, you’ll rest more peacefully knowing that everything that means so much is well protected.

Tools & Resources

Explore our tools and smart tips.