Anaheim baseball field in California - Stadium photo by kathkarno via Twenty20
Anaheim baseball field in California - Stadium photo by kathkarno via Twenty20

How do they make the grass stripes on major league baseball fields?

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We all love the alternating stripes of light and dark green grass on major league ball fields.

So how can you get the same effect on your lawn at home?

Agricultural art

It seems like every ballpark these days — from Yankee Stadium down to your local Little League lot — has a pattern in the grass. Whether it’s a checkerboard, spirals, diamonds, stars, or any of a myriad of shapes and designs, they’re all doing it now.

Yankee Stadium baseball field in New York - Photo by ssevans via Twenty20
Yankee Stadium baseball field in New York – Photo by ssevans via Twenty20

So yeah, it looks cool. And wouldn’t it look awesome in your own front yard or backyard?

Fortunately, creating basic patterns doesn’t take much in the way of fancy equipment or replanting your yard — you just need a little patience and time.

Artistic lawnmowing techniques

According to the Cornell University Department of Horticulture, who offer some detailed mowing techniques for lawns, sports and other landscapes, the best results come from using a lawnmower with a roller on the back.

As you mow in one direction, the grass is pressed down to give a lighter color, and in the other to create a darker color.

Specifically, you want the grass bent away from the viewer to make it appear lighter, and bent toward the viewer to make it appear darker. When the grass is bent away from you, the light is reflecting off the long part of the blade — but when it is bent toward you, you are looking at the tips of the blades and the corresponding shadowed area around the tips, making it appear darker.

Colorado Rockies - Coors Field baseball grass photo by billnes via Twenty20
Colorado Rockies – Coors Field baseball grass photo by billnes via Twenty20

While this can be done by going over the grass after it is cut with a separate roller, professionals note the roller has a better effect if used along with the lawnmower itself.

So, stripes are easy — just alternate directions with each stripe (north on one, south on the next). For a checkerboard pattern, you’ll want to add east/west paths after you complete your north/south ones (or vice versa). A diagonal pattern is just a checkerboard pattern cut on an angle.

It’s worth noting that this really only works on full, lush, rich lawns — so if your lawn is looking a little down, some fertilizing and overseeding can help bring it up to the fullness you need for a truly impressive pattern cut.

So go ahead — break out the mower and the roller and dazzle your neighbors.


5 more grass stripes patterns, as seen on MLB fields

Miami Marlins baseball park - Grass lines photo by klovestorun via Twenty20
Miami Marlins baseball park – Grass lines photo by klovestorun via Twenty20
Great American Ballpark - Cincinnati Reds Baseball team Ohio - Photo by speech524 via Twenty20
Great American Ballpark – Cincinnati Reds Baseball team Ohio – Photo by speech524 via Twenty20
The skyline of Minneapolis, as seen from Target Field.
The skyline of Minneapolis, as seen from Target Field.
Seattle baseball field - Photo by karishmakiri via Twenty20
Seattle baseball field – Photo by karishmakiri via Twenty20
Safeco Field in Seattle - Baseball grass stripes photo by melissadoar via Twenty20
Safeco Field in Seattle – Baseball grass stripes photo by melissadoar via Twenty20