Riding lawn mowers have a larger turning radius than push or ZTR mowers.

How to Cut a Square Yard With a Lawn Mower

by Mary Lougee

The two main mowing patterns for cutting your lawn are a spiral or row pattern. The type that works best for your lawn depends on your type of lawn mower and its turning radius. Making as few turns as possible decreases the time and effort, and gasoline or electricity, spent on grooming your lawn. Mowing a square lawn in either pattern takes exactly the same number of turns to complete your task.

Place a lawn mower on a flat surface that is clear of debris, such as a driveway or sidewalk. Start any type of lawn mower as you normally do after filling the gas tank and checking the oil level.

Move a push mower or zero turn radius lawn mower to the nearest corner of your square lawn. Mow one straight strip down the edge of the lawn to the other side. When you reach the end of the lawn, turn either type of lawn mower around 180 degrees. Mow a strip next to the first one to mow the lawn in rows. Place the wheels on one side in the area that is cut from the previous row to align your mower in the path of uncut grass.

Drive a riding lawn mower to the nearest corner of your lawn. Mow down the edge and turn 90 degrees when you reach the other side. Mow a strip down the second side, along the edge and turn 90 degrees. Mow the third and fourth sides in the same manner. Continue mowing the lawn in a spiral pattern toward the center of the lawn.

Mow around obstacles such as flowerbeds, trees and structures when they occur within your path in both a row and spiral pattern. Mow as closely as possible on each side and return to your mowing pattern.

Items you will need

  • Push lawn mower
  • Zero turn radius lawn mower
  • Riding lawn mower


  • As your spiral pattern of mowing gets smaller toward the center of the lawn, a riding mower will naturally have to re-cut some areas because it has a shorter turning radius than a push or ZTR mower.
  • Cut your lawn more frequently, rather than occasionally during the active growing season to promote deeper roots, drought tolerance and discourage weeds.


  • Starting a lawn mower on a flat, clean surface enables the blades to turn unencumbered by grass and doesn’t toss debris through the exit chute.
  • Fill a gas tank on a lawn mower when it is cool. Spills on a hot lawn mower can combine with grass clippings or debris and ignite.
  • Remove only one-third the length of grass blades in one mowing session to keep a healthy lawn.
  • Keep children and pets out of the lawn when you are mowing to prevent injuries from flying debris.

About the Author

Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.

Photo Credits

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