Buying a Lawn Mower For The First Time? Here's What You Need To Know
Whether you’re a new home owner looking to invest in a lawnmower for your first garden, or simply wishing to upgrade a hand-me-down from a family member, buying a mower can be a tricky task – electric or battery powered? Rotary or hover? Collection box or mulching?
Fear not, this handy guide will provide enough information to transform even the most novice of gardeners in to a lawnmower expert in no time, meaning making that all-important purchase will be a breeze!
First Things First
Before you get to the fun part of actually choosing your lawnmower, there are a few practical things to tick off the list first. To help establish what type of lawnmower you will need, it’s good to have an idea of your garden size (or at the very least, the size of your grassed area.)
If you’re a new home owner, this information should be included as part of your documentation. Alternatively, it’s easy to do yourself – especially if you have a square or rectangular lawn. Simply measure the width and the length, before multiplying the two together to give you the area.
Once you’ve crunched the numbers, take a look at the handy guide below to give you an idea of which mower is likely to be best for your garden based on its size – of course, this isn’t something that needs to be stuck to religiously but is certainly a good starting point.
It’s also a good idea to assess the condition of your lawn – if it’s overgrown or unruly, it will likely need trimming before you can mow. Take off a small section at a time, removing the waste as you go. Depending on how long the grass is, you’ll need to keep going with this until you can access the lawn. Once complete, water it thoroughly and leave for a week or so to give the grass time to recover. Remember the one third rule. Never cut more than one third of the length of the grass blade off in one go – or risk over stressing your grass leaving it susceptible to pests and diseases.
A Who’s Who Of The Mowing World
So, now you’ve established the size of your garden and prepped the grass ready for cutting, it’s time to start thinking about the perfect lawnmower for you. Most gardens tend to be small–medium, which in reality will give you the option to go for any of the three main mower types; electric, battery or petrol. However, unless you’re looking for something particularly powerful and have the time to regularly service it (as well as plenty of space to store it), a petrol mower is possibly not the best option for a first-time lawnmower buyer.
This leaves you with the choice of choosing an electric or battery lawnmower – both have pros and cons, but in the main they’re the more compact, easy to use option, with electric mowers in particular tending to come in at the lower end of the price bracket.
It can still be quite tricky at this stage to narrow your selection down further before finally choosing ‘the one’, so here’s a handy guide to help:
Hover Mowers: Designed to glide effortlessly across your garden, these handy little mowers float on a cushion of air, making them lightweight and easy to manoeuvre. They take up a small amount of storage space and you can choose either a collecting model (which collects the grass as it mows) or a non-collecting model (which leaves the grass clippings on the lawn.) Flymo’s grass collecting hover mowers are ready to use out of the box and require no assembly.
Rotary Mowers: Suitable for most types of garden, these lawnmowers come with wheels. Like hover mower you can adjust the cutting height, meaning you can get the cut you want with minimal fuss. They also usually come equipped with a collection box, so all you have to do when you’ve finished mowing is empty it – no grass clippings to tidy up! Handy Hint: If you’re aiming for a striped effect on your lawn, this is the one for you – choose a rotary mower with a roller mounted on to the back of the machine and the holy grail of lawn styles will be yours!
Battery Mowers: An increasingly popular choice in recent years, battery mowers are ideal for those with gardens that are situated a little further away from the house – no more extension cables! This type of cordless lawnmower are quiet, have no direct emissions and are incredibly easy to use.
Receive hints and tips on how to take care of your lawn directly to your inbox.
Accessorise All Areas
Hopefully you’ll now be at the stage where you have your mower in sight – before you make the final decision, it’s worth bearing in mind the various accessories that either come with the mower or can be included as an added extra. We’ve touched upon a few of these above, but here’s a little more detail to make sure you’re fully informed:
Mulching – this means your grass clippings are cut incredibly fine before being expelled onto the lawn as you mow. The grass then quickly breaks down and acts as natural fertiliser providing nutrients and moisture into your lawn.
Collection Box (or bag) – if you don’t fancy a mulching mower, a collection box or bag is your next best bet. The bigger the collection box, the more grass clippings it’ll collect, meaning you don’t have to empty as frequently – it’s as simple as that! Some collection boxes compact the grass cuttings down as well, meaning you can collect more grass in a smaller space.
Adjustable Cutting Height – helps you to dictate the height of the grass, meaning you can leave it longer or take it shorter whenever required. It’s usually easy to do via a lever on the side of your lawnmower and advisable to vary the cutting height depending on the season and whether conditions. Never cut more than a third of the grass blade off in one go.
Cutting Width – technically not an accessory, but one worth bearing in mind – this will let you know the width of lawn the mower will cut in one stripe. The wider the cutting width, the faster you’ll mow your lawn, however make sure that you pick a lawnmower that will fit down the smallest passageway of your lawn, otherwise you will need to use a grass trimmer to cut the grass in this area.
Top Tips For Maintaining A Good Mow
So, you’ve bought your brand-new lawnmower and are ready to take it for a spin – here are a few tips from us to help get you started:
1. Prep the grass – we touched upon this briefly earlier, but it’s an important one, especially if the lawn hasn’t been tended to for a while. Take time to clear any mess, trim overgrown grass before mowing, then gradually decrease the cutting height on your lawnmower each time to reach your preferred length.
2. Always follow the one third rule: never cut more than a third of the blade of grass height in one go as it can stress the grass.
3. Cut regularly to help thicken the grass and maintain the length – little and often is key and vary the direction you cut the grass to avoid graining.
4. Take care of your lawn edges as well – your grass trimmer can be utilised again here to keep them neat, tidy and straight.
5. For more handy hints, check out our post on everything you need to know about grass here
That’s it – now it’s time to mow your own way. Enjoy!