How to fill a lawn mower roller: The 5 do’s and 5 don’ts

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One of the best ways to keep a sleek-looking lawn is with the use of a lawn mower roller. Maintaining the look of your yard is one of the most important aspects of landscaping. Cosmetics are a big deal when it comes to the outside of your house, business, or any other property.

In this article, I will first explain the purpose and function of a lawn mower to ensure you have the most precise knowledge of the product you are working with. Next, we will discuss a number of do’s and don’ts when it comes to filling your lawn mower roller, taking care of it over time, and making sure you are using it properly.

In short, here are my five do’s and don’ts before we start to dive deep into the topic:

Do Your ResearchExceed Weight Capacity
Follow The DirectionsHave Too Little Weight
Keep Up With The MaintenanceFill your Roller With Random Weight
Fill Your Mower CorrectlyUse Concrete in A Small Roller
Invest in A Good Lawn RollerUse The Wrong Roller For The Terrain

What Is A Lawn Mower Roller?

Have you ever wondered how professional baseball fields get those perfect light-and-dark patterns on their grass? Well, landscapes such as these are intricately formed with the use of a lawn mower roller.

The shape of a lawn mower roller is designed to follow the path of the blade of your mower, smoothing out the landscape and, at the same time, making it look presentable.

While lawn mower rollers are a big advantage considering the aesthetic of your grass, they must also be used correctly for the right outcome. If you do not fill your lawn mower roller with whatever is recommended, you may not see the result you are looking for.

Lawn mower rollers are a great accessory for lawn mowers, and their use is both beneficial for the look and feel of your yard. By this, I mean that while a lawn mower roller will definitely make your yard pleasing to the eye, it is also useful for a smooth, healthy surface.

How Does A Lawn Mower Roller Work?

The function of a lawn mower roller is pretty simple: to make your yard look better, and to keep your landscape even. Lawn mower rollers are cylindrical pieces generally made of strong steel with hooks that allow them to be attached behind your lawn mower.

As you mow your lawn, your lawn mower roller follows closely behind, smoothing out the soil underneath and pushing the grass in a certain direction so as to provide a more appealing look.

Photo 90635640 | © Brett Critchley |

The main aspect of having a fully functional lawn mower roller is its weight. The weight of the roller is what pushes and sets the grass and soil below the grass in a specific manner.

Because of this, you must make sure to fill your lawn mower roller with whatever is suggested and fill it to its available weight capacity.

When your lawn mower roller has enough weight to function properly, it will do all the work for you. You push against your lawn mower; your roller pushes against the ground.

As it rolls, the weight inside of it helps level out any major bumps in the dirt or soil below, flattening your yard so that it does not appear uneven. At the same time, the roller pushes the grass in the direction that it rolls.

If you use a push lawn mower, your roller will not be too heavy. Typically, a push mower will be used for a small to the medium-sized yard, and the main purpose of your lawn mower roller will be for the aesthetic, not necessarily a perfectly flat yard.

So, the weight capacity of your lawn roller will probably not exceed twenty to thirty pounds.

This video here from Silver Cymbal describes and shows how a lawn mower roller works and that you can get amazin stripes with them:

Types of Lawn Mower Rollers

As I mentioned above, not all lawn rollers are the same. However, in the simplest terms, think of all of them as miniature bulldozers for your grass. The weight of a lawn roller is meant to secure the ground beneath the grass as well as provide a clean, smooth look above the surface. Below is a short summary of different types of lawn rollers.

Push Mower Roller

The chances are that the lawn mower roller you have is the smallest kind you can find that easily attaches behind a push mower. Yes, you probably want an even yard, but the aesthetic might be your top priority.

While lawn mower rollers that attach behind a push mower can definitely aid in smoothing out your yard, they are also known for providing the neat-looking light and dark pattern we have been talking about.

These types of lawn rollers usually hold around twenty to thirty pounds of weight, making them easily maneuverable behind a push mower. They get the job done without adding too much extra weight that would require more work for you. Mower rollers with this small of a weight capacity are usually recommended to be filled with sand or water.

Most lawn rollers that attach behind a mower have the ability to turn on their own. They are not too tightly fastened to the mower. It is like a trailer attached to a semi-truck. It follows closely behind, but it turns on its own.

While it is attached to the truck, it is not stuck in place. This feature can be great for small to medium-sized yards that require a push mower because of all the twists and turns that can be found over the course of a mow.

Riding Mower Roller

Photo 4138078 | © Roman Milert |

With the same basic function as any other lawn mower roller, riding mower rollers are not too different from the ones attached behind push mowers. The only major difference is its weight capacity. They can usually hold a couple of hundred pounds of weight inside.

Another small detail is that with the added weight, riding lawn mower rollers might be used more for the purpose of flattening the ground below the grass. With large yards or small farms, the ground can easily become uneven from animals like moles or simple soft spots in the soil.

Heavier lawn rollers will do a better job of flattening these problems out. On the other hand, riding mowers are what the professional baseball fields I mentioned earlier are mowed with, so they can definitely provide the beautiful light and dark lines when needed.

The last factor that involves their weight includes riding lawn mower rollers’ ability to hold something other than sand or water. While these things can surely be used, some people prefer to fill these types of rollers with cement. Once the concrete solidifies inside of the roller, the density of its materials can prove much heavier than components like sand or water.

Tractor Rollers

While these types of mower rollers are probably the least used, they are still very important. The main function of tractor rollers is, in fact, solely to flatten out a field or farm for the purpose of an even landscape. When harvesting crops, keeping a level field is very important for consistent growth.

Tractor rollers can have a weight capacity of over three hundred pounds, which is great for flattening evenly and over a large amount of space. Because they can hold so much weight, it is not uncommon for a tractor roller to be filled with concrete, but some people might prefer to use sand or water. Either way, they provide a multitude of weight for your soil-flattening needs.

Do’s and Don’ts of Filling Your Lawn Mower Roller

I have summarized five major do’s and five major don’ts to follow to ensure that you are getting the most out of your lawn mower roller without wasting your time or going over your roller’s limits.

You will find that once you have chosen the correct product and materials to support its function, your lawn mowing days will become both much more rewarding and much easier. Read further on how to ensure the best use of your time and money.

Do: Do Your Research

Although you likely have a pretty good idea of what type of lawn mower roller you are going to need from reading the first part of this article, it is important to make sure you know what you need for the type of yard you have. You will need to decide what brand and size roller you want, along with what you need to fill your roller with.

You do not want to spend an excessive amount of money on a huge roller if you are only using a push mower, obviously because of the unnecessary weight, but also because that irrelevant extra weight can damage your yard.

On the other hand, you do not want to underpay for a product that will not do its job, especially if you use a riding lawn mower or tractor that has the ability to haul a heavier load.

Do: Follow the Directions

It may not always be the case, but your lawn mower roller will likely come with recommended landscapes for your roller as well as recommended materials to fill your roller with.

It is important to make sure the roller you buy will be the best type of roller for the yard you are working with.

In addition to finding the right roller for your yard, it is equally important to see the recommended material to put in your roller, whether that be sand, water, concrete, or anything else.

There may not always be information on this for your specific brand roller, but as I stated before, smaller rollers usually take sand or water, and larger rollers can take your preference of sand, water, or concrete.

If you do not fill your lawn roller with the suggested material, it can lead to damage both on your roller and your yard, which we will discuss further in the Don’ts section.

Do: Keep Up with the Maintenance

You are always going to want to make sure your roller is in its most ideal shape. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Outer steel frame condition: you will want the surface of your roller to be as smooth as possible in order to provide a result as smooth as possible.
  • Inside material weight: (i.e., amount of water, sand, etc.), you do not want to have too much or too little weight inside your roller.
  • Dents or bumps: additional damages on the outside will result in a mediocre role.
  • Opening for filling: make sure the hole where you fill your roller is secured so as not to lose any of whatever is inside.

Failure to properly keep up with these conditions will result in excess of problems, which you can find below in the Don’ts section.

Do: Fill Your Mower Correctly

No matter what you use to fill your mower, make sure to find out how much your roller needs. Filling your roller with the proper amount of sand water, concrete, etc. will allow you to let the roller do its job while you mow without having to make any changes that will disrupt your activity.

As we said before, lawn care is obviously one of the biggest components involved with keeping up a nice-looking landscape, so if you fill your mower correctly, you will ensure your roller’s ability to perform its best.

An even, nicely patterned yard can make any terrain look and function better. If you have correctly filled your push lawn mower roller, the small yard in front of your house will look as perfect as possible. Also, if you have correctly filled your riding lawn mower roller or tractor roller, your large yard will look just as good, and your field or farm will be as stable as ever.

Do: Invest in a Good Lawn Roller

If you are on the fence about whether or not you should buy a lawn mower roller, consider this a sign to make the purchase. In the long run, proper use of a lawn roller will consistently keep your yard or any type of landscape in tip-top shape.

Once you have educated yourself on how to maintain and fill your lawn mower, the possibilities are endless, literally. If you need a roller for flattening terrain, you can be sure that your needs will be met.

If you need a roller for a better aesthetic, you can use the roller to give your yard just about any design or pattern you would like.


While owning a lawn mower roller definitely has its benefits, improper maintenance can cause damage to both your yard and your roller itself. Below I have listed the biggest problems you might face if you fail to fill and maintain your roller correctly.

Don’t: Exceed Weight Capacity

You might be under the impression that the more weight your roller has, the better job it will do. However, this is not the case. If you fill your roller with too much of whatever you use, there will be consequences.

Suppose you have a smaller roller for a push mower. It warns not to exceed thirty pounds of weight. But you decide it is okay to fill it to the brim with water, exceeding its weight capacity.

As a result, when you begin mowing your lawn, you notice that as your roller follows behind your mower, it is pulling up grass from the soil and making major, uneven divots in the ground.

Photo 146797913 | © Marija Kozika |

If you fill your roller with too much weight, it can damage your yard severely, especially if you just have a typical yard. The sod that your grass grows from is not meant to withstand great weights, so it may give out and move around if too much weight rolls across it.

Don’t: Have Too Little Weight

Similar to exceeding the weight capacity of your roller, not filling it up enough will result in a lackluster job. It will not damage your yard or your roller, but it can be all for nothing. If there is not enough weight on a patch of land that you wish to flatten, the roller will not fulfill its purpose.

Always make sure to get the information needed in terms of the weight capacity of your roller to ensure the best results possible.

Dont: Fill Your Roller With Random Weight

You are most likely going to have a water hose to fill your roller with. That is if you have not yet bought sand, concrete, or whatever. Believe it or not, some people think their rollers can be filled with anything that compensates the weight.

For example, do not use small rocks or pebbles. Please. Unless you want your roller to end up never being used again. Just because it might be a quick choice does not mean it will be beneficial.

Things like rocks or other on-hand materials that may fit in your roller are not going to get the job done. Furthermore, they can easily dent the surface of your roller as they tumble around inside.

Don’t: Use Concrete in A Small Roller

If you have a small lawn mower roller, chances are you do not need the maximum weight capacity available. Concrete is much denser than the sand that might be recommended for your small roller, so it can easily cause your roller to be too heavy.

As I already stated above, exceeding the weight capacity is not going to do you any good, so just make sure whatever you are putting in your roller is acceptable.

Don’t: Use The Wrong Roller for the terrain

If you are mowing ground that might be a bit rocky or rough, it is not a good idea to use a roller that cannot withstand that terrain. A small, lighter roller can also be damaged from misuse on the outside, not just it is inner filling.

Continuing along with weight capacity, do not use a tractor or riding mower and its roller on a simple suburban front yard. This might seem obvious, but as is common, people often want the most weight possible for things like lawn mower rollers. In the end, this is not going to do you any good. That is why research is key.


I hope this article was beneficial for you in terms of a brief summary of a lawn mower roller and its purpose as well as information on filling your lawn roller. When done correctly, the use of a lawn roller has its major advantages. However, improper maintenance and care can and probably will result in unwanted damage.


I am always happy to share all my knowledge about how to keep your garden in good condition and make it special.

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