In a pinch can I fashion my own lawn mower bag?

I need to mow the lawn. For some strange reason my husband bought a mower without a bag attachment. Will I be trying out for Darwin Awards if I try to just fashion some sort of bag behind the mower to catch the grass? It’s really long and I don’t want to have to clean up the grass behind the mower. I know we need to get the actual bag that should go with the mower, but my question is more simple - can I/should I try to put a bag there myself and somehow attach it? Is that ridiculously idiotic or reasonable? What could possibly go wrong? :slight_smile:

Some mowers are designed to be operated without a bag - they mulch the cut grass and discharge it from the side.

Not clear from your post:
A> your husband bought a mower that can operate with a bag but did not buy the bag
B> your husband bought a mower that cannot operate with a bag
If it is A, you are better off buying the right bag - since it has to fit correctly on the discharge and needs to distribute weight on the handle - and let air out (porous).

If it is B - then no.

I’m actually not sure if it can operate with a bag or not. I didn’t know that they made them to not operate with a bag. I hope it is A. Thanks…

I made a “bag” out of some sample carpet last summer for a free hand-me-down mower, wasn’t the greatest thing but got me through a tight budget summer.

Find out if you have a mulching mower (no bag by design) before you get too carried away.

a mulching mower works if you cut it about 1/2 inch or longer if your lawn is dryer and grass thinner. you would use a mulching blade and maybe a chute plug.

a bag may need to hold open a strong spring door in a combination mower. hard to do safely without the right bag.

you need to find if your mower is a bagger, mulcher or both.

Two other things to keep in mind. Bags are typically designed so that little or no air goes out the top of the bag (into your face) and the bracket/frame of the bag, where it connects to the mower (assume your mower is designed to have a bag), may contain magnets or metal in specific spots to trip safeties. Once the door is open, the mower may not operate until the bag is in place, a homemade bag may not work.

FWIW, you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly if the mower is designed to have a bag. Most of them are and have a big plastic flap on the bag that lifts up. If you pull it up you’ll see the ground and the blade under the deck.

One last thing, unless the grass is REALLY long, like more then, say, 8 inches, just set the mower deck up higher and mow the grass, then drop it and mow it again and keep doing that until you get it where you want it.
Even if that means doing it over the course of a few days or a week.

Besides, even if you bag your grass, you don’t want to lop off too much at once.

What could go wrong?

  1. The bag could fall off and get caught in the blade damaging the mower.
  2. The bag could fall off and get caught in the blade and fly apart, injuring YOU.
  3. Same as 1 & 2,except it injures someone else.
  4. The bag simply doesn’t work

The owners manual for the type of mower you own will tell you if yours can use a bag. Bags are $200-300 at MOST for a new one and often far cheaper for a used one (check online sites for this). It would be best to use this.

You have at least 3 different ways to deal with grass clipping on mowers. You can bag, generally discharging the grass through the rear. Or you can buy a mower that discharges the cut grass to the side, but doesn’t mulch it. Or you can buy a mulching mower that just drops the clippings back onto the lawn below the mower (no side or rear discharge), or sometimes discharges the mulched clippings to the side. Having a rear panel doesn’t mean it isn’t a mulching mower - you can definitely buy mowers that can be operated either with a bag or with the panel closed as a mulching mower.
Edit to add, I can’t think of any good reason to use a bag mower over a mulching mower long term. Sometimes if you have a grass disease maybe you want to take away the clippings, but otherwise the clippings provide fertilizer for your lawn.

Interesting - so good to know all of that. Thanks for the information. I will update after I figure out the plan.


The rule of thumb is, don’t cut off more than a third of grass blades at a time, or you will harm the roots.

Better than buying a $200 bag just buy a new mower that comes with a bag for $200 - probably cheaper if you wait for a sale. In my experience these no frills mowers are adequate for small (i.e. most people’s) lots.

What mower model are you talking about?

Re: Mulching mowers.

My cheap Craftsman mower came with a bag. I never use it. There is a door on the back of the mower. When the bag is attached, the door is open. When the bag is off, the door is closed and the clippings are mulched. I’ve never heard the blade being called a ‘mulching blade’. If it is one, then it seems a ‘mulching blade’ works well as a ‘regular blade’.

there are also combination blades for mowers that are a compromise between mulching and bagging so that you don’t have to switch blades with function. a mulching blade creates lots of air turbulence to keep the clippings in the air until they are chopped to small bits. a bagger blade cuts and streams the grass out the discharge chute.

if you only mulch then get a mulching blade when you need a replacement.

As long as you can cut the pieces into dime size or smaller, it doesn’t really matter if you’re cutting grass or leaves your lawn will be healthier if you leave it in place. If you can’t cut grass that small you should probably be mowing more often anyway.

If you’re really going to try to DIY some sort of bag - aside from numerous safety issues - first is don’t think of it as a “bag.”

Factory made bags are more like a catching screen than a bag. The blades create a fan effect that blows (along with the grass) lots of air. Lots. Any bag needs to have enough ventilation (holes, like a screen) to allow the air through it while still catching the grass.

Trying to rig something like that DIY that’s reasonably safe is probably going to be more work than just raking the yard after you mow it - even mowing it twice.

Another advantage of mulching is that you can mulch dead leaves in the fall. It’s much easier than raking or blowing, and adds nutrients to the lawn.

And there’s certainly more to a bag than just the fabric. All the ones I’ve ever seen have at least a rigid heavy-wire frame (in the case of mine, something like 2/0 gauge wire) that holds the top of the bag up (so air can vent), supports the bottom (which is a plastic sheet, not cloth), and locks into a hook scheme that holds the bag inlet on the mower outlet while holding the outlet cover door open. (Cuz the mower is one of those mulch/bag convertibles.)

I’ve heard nothing about fabricating a frame, and a limp bag almost certainly won’t work.

Mine came with a bag, but I left it off. I’ve always been told that the grass clippings were good to leave behind. I would assume if it didn’t come with a bag it doesn’t need one.