If you’ve got your own lawn, the chances are that you’ve probably already bought a lawn mower (or a goat to keep the grass down). However, the summer is the time of year when it gets the most use and you tend to find that having awoken from its winter slumber it might not take too kindly to being thrust into action and decides that it’s had enough and is going to protest against its sole purpose, mowing the lawn.
This means you’ve got to go out to your local DIY store or shop online for a new lawn mower which can be either really simple if you just want something inexpensive to do the job or slightly more complex depending on the size and shape of your garden. After all, you might need a sit-on style to cover the vast acres of land around your home, or you might be a fan of an electric model that will be restricted in terms of how long the cord is.
To make the decision making process simpler, here are ten tips to help you to find a new lawn mower and also to look after it so that it’s ready to go in summer 2015 too and less likely to wake up like a grumpy bear after a long hibernation.
- The best place to start is with the size of your garden. If you have a tiny amount of grass, you know you can rule out the need for a sit-on model. From here, you can start to narrow down your search by budget and estimate just how much you have available to spend on your new mower. The more you pay the more elaborate the mower is likely to be so ensure that you only choose one with features you’re likely to use and don’t just choose it because it has all of the bells and whistles
- A small garden is best to be cut with an electric mower that plugs into the power point in your home or garden and will cost you nothing in terms of fuel. You are limited in the range that you can go by the cord length so be well aware of the dimensions of your garden and include the distance to the nearest socket before you commit to buying
- Cordless electric mowers are also available, but you are restricted in mowing time by the life of the battery. Be sure to charge it up before use to avoid it dying in the middle of the lawn. Self-propelled models will use more power than those the user will push which is worth bearing in mind
- If you have a lawn that isn’t entirely and flat and is quite large without being big enough to need a sit-on, then a walk-behind self-propelled mower may be ideal. Using fuel and a drivetrain that when released will push the mower forward, it cuts well and you just need to control the speed and direction
- If you do have a large lawn, then a lawn tractor – which works using a belt-drive similar to those found in cars – would be much more time efficient. Often made to have accelerator and brake pedals, and a blade height adjustor, these models are without doubt the more expensive versions on the market but up to the challenge of just about any large lawn
- The first maintenance tip is to ensure that the blade is always rotating fully and that it is at its sharpest. Over time the sharp edge will grow smoother as it cuts grass and goes over sticks and stones so be sure to pay close attention to the quality of the cut and sharpen the blade whenever you feel it is necessary to do so
- If you are sharpening the blade, make sure that you lift it from the front, not the side, to prevent fuel from leaking out of the filler cap
- Before you tuck your mower up in bed for the winter, drain the fuel tank. Some people will still mow their lawns over the cold months but if you have no intention of doing so, draining the fuel tank will stop it from drying out and clogging which could result in an expensive engine rebuild
- If you do mow the lawn when it is damp, be sure to clean any grass cuttings or dirt off the bodywork when you have finished and the mower has cooled. If you put it away with any damp grass or dirt still attached you risk it rotting through the bodywork and causing permanent damage
- Investing in secure storage for your mower will deter thieves and keep your machine safe from the harsh weather conditions. There are many different styles of storage from traditional sheds to specific mower stores designed to house your lawnmower and other essential garden tools to prolong its life