The lawn mower is the most expensive piece of garden equipment, but it is a ‘must’ in practically all gardens. Lawn-mowers can be hired but are needed so regularly that a purchase soon pays for itself. For a small lawn, to about 100 square metres, a push-mower is adequate.
Between 100 and 200 square metres, an electric mower is ideal. These models are cheap and easy to operate, and give a neat finish but should be used regularly because they cannot cope with tall, rough grass.
For lawn areas over 200 square metres, there are large electric rotary mowers that are suitable and cheaper than petrol motor mowers, but the cable for electric mowers can be inconvenient, and there are now battery powered mowers without a cable.
Much over 250 square metres and certainly over 500 square metres, a petrol-engined mower is likely to be used. Of course, petrol mowers can be used on lawns of any size, even small areas – there is the cost factor but this can be outweighed by ease of use and speed of cutting.
Always choose a mower that will do the job comfortably – the lawn is more likely to be cut as often as it should be, and the mower itself will last longer by not being forced beyond its capacity.
‘Cylinder’ mowers have a cylinder of curved blades that cut the grass by pinching it against a fixed blade. ‘Rotary’ mowers have a single blade than spins at high speed cutting the grass in the process.
Cylinder mowers cut the grass more evenly, leaving a smoother finish, but rotary mowers can take rougher conditions, longer grass and wetter grass. Rotary mowers are not as safe as cylinder mowers, being more likely to throw out stones, although modern designs have better safety features.
The rotary type delivers the cut grass more efficiently into a grass-bag – an important point. Mulching mowers are rotary mowers designed to cut the grass very finely and blow it back into the sward.
Mulching mowers give good results with dry grass but the mower model should be dual purpose – capable of carrying a grass bag for use when the grass is damp, which is likely early and late in the season.