The Delicate Art of lawn mowing

Your lawn desperately needs a good cut. Unfortunately, as is the case for hair, it takes more than just pushing the mower to do a good job. Compared to the stylish affair next door, yours, scalped by Raymond, is a sorry sight indeed.

The poor dear blames his lawn-mower. This may be the case but, according to experts, 70 % of lawn care problems are due to bad technique. Driving a top of the range model does not make you an expert mower.

Don’t despair! With a few clever tips, you too can turn your lawn into a field of dreams:

First, check the blade: if it’s dirty and blunt, it’s the mower massacre guaranteed. Always clean the blade thoroughly and, to prevent the grass from sticking to it, spray some WD-40® (or a similar product) on it as well as on the underside of the mower. And make sure your blade is always sharp.

Only cut the grass when it is growing. When it stops, clean your mower and put it to rest.

Don’t scalp your lawn. It does not need a virile GI haircut. And never cut more than a third of the grass height in one session. The type of grass determines the cutting height – always use the highest mower setting recommended by the salesman – i.e. between 2.5 and 3.5 inches.

In the summer, put the blade up by three-quarter inches. These small changes make all the difference: amazingly happy, you grass will be more beautiful, fuller, thicker and strong enough to keep the weed population down and resist parasites. And you’ll have the bonus of a less painful water bill.

Never push the mower one single way. Be bold, try different patterns: draw parallel lines, L shapes, go clockwise and counter clockwise, do loops, eights, etc. With these switches, your lawn won’t have the usual sad look of a freshly mowed victim. It will sport its new trendy cut with pride and joy.

This awesome new style will need a bit more colour. A vibrant and very manly emerald green will make the neighbour’s grass look rather insipid.

Spray it once a month, with the cheapest of ordinary colas you can buy. Don’t get the light but the regular sugar variety, it works miracles. Be prepared for screams of delight and may be a minor commotion in the street.

You’ll find more amazing gardening tips in Le Dictionnaire à tout faire du jardin.