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Lawn Shaping Ideas to Give Your Yard the Best Shape

Updated on June 30, 2018
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Januaris is a miniature-garden designer and author of landscaping guides. He loves to write about garden flowers, ponds, lawns, and hedges.

Does your lawn look empty and uninviting? Does it make your backyard or garden look dull, less eye-catching, and unappealing? If yes, then it's most likely that your mown grass is not well managed or lacks important qualities like regular shape and clear patterns.

Irregular Shaped Lawn
Irregular Shaped Lawn | Source

The shape of a lawn greatly determines the appeal, attractiveness, and feel of a backyard or garden. If you have a shapeless mown grass, your yard or garden will most likely look dull and boring.

If you don't like your turf, probably due to a poor shape, you can simply alter its edges and significantly improve the attractiveness of your garden. Whether you are reviving an existing lawn or establishing a fresh one, you can create the best look for your home or business compound by shaping the grass appropriately.

Read on to discover new and best lawn shaping ideas that will help you improve the beauty and welcomeness of your premise.

Lawn Shaping Ideas to Give Your Yard the Best Shape, in Brief

  • Choose shape designs that suit the purpose of your lawn.
  • Settle for shapes that suit your lawn's size and existing shape.
  • Let patios, paths, and gateways occupy two thirds of the space.
  • Do turf shaping in the spring.
  • Create bare circular patches around trees and flowers.
  • Choose between circular and rectangular lawn patterns.
  • Do a simple survey to create a good shaping plan.
  • Use hand tools or motorized equipment depending on turf size.

1. Choose Shape Designs that Suit the Purpose of Your Lawn

The shape of a lawn determines the purpose and use of the mown grass. So before selecting a new shape design, find out how the new shape design will affect the current and future use of your grass yard.

If your garden is for recreation or entertainment purposes, you should plan for a design that provides a large open space.

The most preferred shapes in this case are the circular or rectangular ones. You should also go for these edging patterns if you plan to have more kids as a large playing ground will be needed.

2. Settle for Shapes that Suit Your Lawn's Size and Existing Shape

First, a normal lawn usually occupies one third of a garden. Second, if your turf is larger than normal, you will have a better chance to shape it accordingly. This is because it is easier to give a large area any type of a shape.

If your turf is smaller than normal, you can expect to try a limited number of pattern types. But the good thing is that you will have less edging work.

The size of your planted grass also determines the type of shaping equipment to use. If you have a small yard, you will only need simple hand tools. On the other hand, if you have a large yard, you will definitely need motorized equipment.

As for the existing design, if your yard is rectangular, you will have a greater chance to come up with a circular shape. If your turf is circular, you will not find it easy to create a rectangular pattern from it. You will be forced to cut and dig a lot of it out.

3. Let Patios, Paths, and Gateways Occupy Two Thirds of the Space

Patios, paths, and gateways take the largest space in any home or business backyard. When shaping your yard, ensure these areas take about two thirds of your compound. Also, ensure that you choose lawn patterns that complement these areas.

If you don’t provide enough space for your patios, paths, and gateways, there will be no enough walking space and your grass may suffer from tear and wear as people walk on it. So choose shapes that provide enough space around these areas.

4. Do Turf Shaping in the Spring

Lawn shaping is more successful when it's carried out in the spring. The soil is usually dry and compact during this season which means that you will not deal with damp soil particles or soil crumbling issues. You will also not need to install lawn edging components which are needed to support loose soils.

Another reason to perform the shaping activity in spring is to allow your grass and trees recover quickly from cuts and other injuries. The activity interferes with grass and trees, and you can ensure these plants do not suffer a lot by carrying out the activity in spring when the plants are dormant and less vulnerable to losing a lot of sap.

5. Create Bare Circular Patches Around Trees and Flowers

Trees and flowers boost the shape of a mown grass yard, and therefore you need to consider them when shaping your grass. You can create a bare patch around the base of your trees or flowers and give it a circular design.

Another reason to consider the location of trees and flowers is to ensure that the grass doesn't lack resources such as water and light as a result of competition with these plants. So avoid planting it too close to the trees and flowers, and as mentioned above, you can create some nice patterns on the empty spaces around the plants.

Turf in a Garden
Turf in a Garden | Source

6. Choose Between Circular and Rectangular Lawn Patterns

A number of factors will determine the type of shape to give your lawn. Some major factors to consider include your personal taste and style, size of your turf, type of shaping equipment, irrigation system, and type of the mower.

Develop your lawn shape designs from lines, curves, or circles. Some patterns that you can get from these geometrical elements include rectangles, squares, triangles, polygons, ovals, ellipses, and circles. The list is endless. You can come up with patterns that suit your specific style.

Circular shapes are very pleasing and can be used in small spaces. If you have a large grass area and you want to use circular shapes, you can try sweeping curves or linking circles. You can also use interlinked or offset circular shapes for an amazing yard or park.

Circular Edging
Circular Edging | Source

Rectangular patterns are usually neat and can easily be developed in large spaces. If you think that one rectangular shape will not give your garden the best feel, use overlapping rectangles and you will surely love your garden. Interlocking shapes add depth and charm to your grass turf.

Circular turfs are easier to mow, so if you have difficulties with mowing, you may have to choose these shapes. On the other hand, rectangular turfs are easier to irrigate, so choose these designs for a hassle-free watering.

Also, rectangular shapes are easier to create which means that you can use simple tools to make them. On the other hand, circular shapes are harder to create. You will need some skills and more advanced equipment to create them.

In addition, rectangular yards are more formal than circular ones, so if you are into formal settings, you can choose the angular designs. Circular lawns are more common in "less-serious" settings, and this is the reason for their popularity in home gardens.

Rectangular Mown Grass Yard
Rectangular Mown Grass Yard | Source

If you don’t care a lot about using clearly-defined shapes, you can consider combining both rectangular and circular patterns. If you adopt this idea, you will have an asymmetrical lawn. This pattern may not be appealing, but if you create elegant lines and curves on it, it will always be pleasing.

7. Do a Simple Survey to Create a Good Shaping Plan

After deciding on the best shape, you should not start cutting the edges immediately without a plan. Do a simple surveying to get a correct outline and borders. Take your time to get the dimensions and other parameters correct.

If you are cutting curves, use a garden hose and chalk to mark the cutting line correctly. On the other hand, if you are cutting straight edges, use stakes with a string to create straight lines.

After you have marked the cutting line, use your tool or equipment to cut the best shape. If you are cutting a circular border, you may experience unstable soil. If you come across this soil condition, use less force to keep the soil intact.

For too loose soil, install lawn edging. Support the edges with stones, wood, or any other suitable material. Remove the supporting material when the grass has grown enough to support the soil.

Professionally Edged Lawn
Professionally Edged Lawn | Source

8. Use Hand Tools or Motorized Equipment Depending on Turf Size

The shaping equipment greatly affects the end result of the lawn. You are likely to get a poor shape if you used wrong equipment, so get the best equipment for the lawn shaping job.

One factor that determines the choice of equipment is the turf size. As mentioned above, select simple hand tools if you have a small lawn or get powerful equipment if your mown grass yard is large.

The soil type also determines the type of equipment to use. If you are dealing with loose soil, use less-heavy equipment. Heavy equipment can damage soil structure, so try to avoid them even on compact soil.


Giving your lawn the best shape can significantly improve the attractiveness of your backyard or garden. And the best thing is that you don’t need any special skills to shape your mown grass. You also don’t have to hire a landscaper to fine-tune your turf. You can just make use of some of these ideas. So get an appealing and inviting lawn by giving it the best shape on your own.

Do you love the shape of your lawn?

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If no, do you think now you can create the best shape for your turf?

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© 2015 Januaris Saint Fores


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