Ready, Steady, MOW! – Choose the right mower for your lawn
Regular mowing is the key to an attractive, green and healthy lawn. You’ll need a mower, but which one should you choose?
Small lawns – Many suburban homes have tiny lawns. A manual push lawn mower or rotary mower is powered by you pushing it rather than by electricity. The blades are mounted in a cylinder, which revolves when the mower is pushed. This produces a precise, even mowing result. They tend to be very compact which makes them manoeuvrable and easy to store.
Small or medium-sized lawn – If your lawn is a little bigger or you don’t fancy a manual mower, an electric lawn mower might be for you. They run from a power source and make light work of your lawn. Electric mowers for smaller lawns are usually very easy to manoeuvre around objects. Most come with a handy container or bag to collect clippings. They are also pretty quiet and are available in energy-efficient versions. Just be aware that even with a small lawn you will probably need an extension cord. It’s wise to invest in a power breaker for safety. Accidents do happen.
Larger lawn – Petrol mowers are good bigger lawns, where an extension cord becomes impractical. These mowers are powerful, but also heavy as they are often quite sizeable. They are less environmentally friendly because of the exhaust emissions. If you have more than 500 square metres of grass, you’ll probably be better off with a ride-on petrol mower.
All lawn mowers are available in various mowing widths. Generally speaking, the wider the lawn mower, the quicker you’ll get the job done. But you need to consider that wider mowers are less manoeuvrable.
As a rule of thumb small lawns require a mowing width of around 29-33cm (11-13 inches); medium-sized lawns require a mowing width of around 38cm (15 inches).; large lawns may require widths larger than this, but all choices will depend on whether the lawn is ornamental, with features like ponds and trees, in which case a smaller mower might be better, or whether it’s more of an open grassy space.
Most mowers are height adjustable. In other words, you can increase or decrease the distance between the blades and the ground to cut the grass at just the right height for you or the time of year.
You can now buy mulching mowers. These cut the grass clippings into tiny pieces and blow them evenly into the grass. This method has the advantage of preventing the soil from drying out and gives fungus less chance to develop.
A strimmer is a useful gadget for neatening up along walls, fences and the edge of flowerbeds. You can get more powerful versions which will let you attack weeds too. It’s best to wear safety goggles when using one as they generate a lot of flying debris.
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