Mowing Patterns, part 2 – The BackForth with Yard Contour

I mowed the front and back yard yesterday with a new pattern – the BackForth with Yard Countour.
Welcome to my series on Mowing Patterns.

Since last week employed the Expanding Concentric Circle pattern, this week called for something totally different. The challenge is to use a different pattern every time I mow, which not only gives the grass some variety but also keeps me far more interested. With a different pattern, you don’t risk catching the wrong tiremarks from last week and missing a section, which is sometimes only seen from the deck, 5 hours later. NO ONE wants to get the mower back out for a 3 second mow, yet no one can quite get the scissor thing down, either.

The BackForth with Yard Countour is a reliable mowing pattern that produces stunning results. BackForth is simple — run a line from top to bottom boundary, turn around, head back the other way, repeat turn around at other end, etc. This gives a nice variety to the look of the lawn, all stripey and stuff. In this case, my clippings can only be seen every 96 inches, which is a phrase I wouldn’t normally utter unless I was talking about mowing the lawn.

BackForth is wonderful but somewhat time consuming. To cut down on total time on tractor (ttt), I decided to follow the contour of the back yard, wrapping the first time around the garden and apple trees, and following that wavy line through about midpoint. This modifies a normal BackForth pattern so that it becomes BackForth with Yard Contour.

The PROS: BackForth looks pleasing to the eye, that is, the eye of I and of passers by. Following Yard Contour saves some time, I suppose. Steering is occasional on the straight edge (the East border) but constant on the contour (the West). Variety abounds.

The CONS: BackForth feels somewhat wasteful because I’m always backing up and turning around at the end of each run on the North/South border. Straight lines are difficult to produce given the rudeness and scale of the rather cumbersome riding mower and its rather cumbersome operator.

The LIFE LESSON: Psalm 5:8 – “Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies— make straight your way before me.” We think we know what’s true, straight and plumb, until we mow the lawn and see our own weaknesses and inconsistencies when left to our own brilliance. God still loves me when the lines aren’t straight.

Postscript: I was going to write about the Goalpost-50-Goalpost pattern, especially in honor of the coming UM/WMU game, but I was swayed by a comment by Ryan. And that’s just fine. Michigan will still win.

About radamdavidson

When I'm not blogging, I'm hanging out with my family, pastoring a church, or listening to vinyl. I think and write about Jesus, music, communication, organizational leadership, family whatnot, and cultural artifacts from the 1980's -- mostly vintage boomboxes. You can read my blog at, watch [RadCast], a daily 3 minute video devotional, or find me on socials (@radamdavidson). I also help Pastors in their preaching and public speaking (
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