Maintaining a lawn is one of the most time consuming and expensive tasks for gardeners. This section looks at easier ways to mow your lawn.
Information on edging the lawn and the equipment and tools are in a separate section. Find out more about lawn edging
Information about aerating, scarifying and feeding your lawn is also is a separate section. Find out more about lawn maintenance
Always fit a residual circuit breaker when using electrical equipment and consider safety glasses when using trimming or strimming tools. Use a cable tidy or harness for safety and convenience.
Here are a few general points you might want to consider:
- Strong gardeners with larger lawns will probably find a self-propelled mower easier to use. They are available as electric or petrol powered models, and cylinder or rotary cutting action. The best versions have a speed control, or cut out switch, to prevent the mower running away from you.
- Safety regulations require all new electric mowers to have elaborate safety switches that usually require two handed use and a constant grip.
- Hover mowers have to be carried to the lawn and it might be difficult to control them on sloped lawns, but they are lighter and it is easy to adjust the cutting height.
- Ride on mowers may be suitable depending on your disability and if you have a large lawn and depending on your disability, but check you can operate the controls easily.
Here is some information about the different types of mowers and things you might want to consider before choosing and buying:
These produce the best finish but are not so good on long or damp grass. They require more maintenance and sharpening, and stones and debris may cause serious and costly damage to the blade. Wear gloves and take care when cleaning the cylinder. Some models can be adapted and used to rake the lawn.
These mowers cope better with long, wet and rough grass and if fitted with a roller give a stripped effect. For older, slightly disabled or hobby gardeners with small to medium size lawns, wheeled electric rotary mowers are ideal because they can cope with a variety of conditions, are easier to push and manoeuvre, and require little maintenance. Cordless versions are even easier to use but cost more and may require replacement batteries. Mulching rotary mowers do not collect the cut grass but cut it finely and put the clippings back on the lawn
to be absorbed and give nourishment.
Hover mowers are a form of rotary mower without wheels. Once started, they are easy to move when mowing but they have to be carried to the lawn and then carried back afterwards. When using a hover mower avoid swinging them from side to side as this is an inefficient way to mow, and may lead to back strain. To adjust the cutting height you will probably need to tip the mower upside down and be able to use a spanner.
Petrol mowers are more suitable for larger lawns and are best purchased from a specialist. You will need a safe place to store petrol and be able to purchase it regularly. Pull starting a petrol mower can cause back, neck and shoulder strain electric start models are available but they cost considerably more. You also need to be aware that some petrol-powered mowers keep running and can move without an operator. Choose a model with a safety cut-off.
The price of cordless models, including battery powered mowers, trimmers and hedge cutters is falling and these easy-to-use products are becoming more common. However, try these products before you buy as the battery packs can be quite heavy and make them unwieldy and difficult to control.
Automatic and robotic mowers
Automatic mowers are driven or placed on your lawn and they start to cut the lawn at the push of a button. The machine will cut your lawn, then stop and turn itself off when finished. Automatic mowers require some human intervention to recharge but complete the grass cutting on their own.
Robotic lawnmowers go one step further - they are kept on the side of your lawn, in a battery charging station, and come out at pre-set times to cut the lawn, and then return to the charging station to prepare for the next cut.
Both automatic and robotic mowers are battery powered and require some setting-up including pegging down a perimeter wire to define the area of lawn to be cut.
You can look at equipment and tools for mowing in two ways.
The full list of products is shown below, or you can use the Equipment and tool finder to look at products which might be useful if you: are gardening after a stroke or with heart disease; garden sitting down or from a wheelchair; have sight loss; have with a weak grip; use one hand; can't bend easily.