The Insider: Lawn order is the way to deal with unruly gardens

Everyone wants their lawn to look great throughout the summer, but few of us have time to spare to keep it looking perfect. But, choose the right mower for the size and shape of your garden, with the right features for your requirements, and you could cut the time needed to maintain the garden and have more time to enjoy it.

For small-to-medium lawns, electric lawnmowers with a 30cm-40cm cutting width are best. Cylinder mowers, either powered or hand push, are good on neat, frequently mowed lawns but struggle with longer or rougher grass. Hover mowers are good for awkwardly shaped, well-used family lawns where a quality finish is not the priority, as they're quick and easy to use. Wheeled rotary mowers are the best option for a typical family lawn as they're better at coping with longer grass, most will collect the clippings and some have a rear roller for a striped finish. People with bigger lawns should consider a small petrol mower, which start at about 40cm wide.

"There's such a range and variety of lawnmowers out there that it's easy to choose the wrong one for you and your garden," says Ceri Thomas, editor of Which? Gardening. "But, make the right choice and you could cut the time and energy you use, as well as the grass."

In Which? Gardening's latest tests, the highest-scoring electric mower was the Wolf-Garten Power Edition 37E. This mower is great for small-to-medium-sized lawns as it's nippy and manoeuvrable, and it powered through all the tougher tasks in the trials. It has some good features, including an adjustable handle, a padded switch bar and a single-lever blade-height adjuster. The grass collector is easy to use, and a switch converts the mower from collecting to mulching the clippings.

For larger lawns where you need a little oomph, the Mountfield 461HP petrol mower came out on top in the Which? Gardening tests. This mower isn't particularly heavy for such a powerful machine, and it performed well on all the tougher tasks. The wheels are offset on one side so you can cut close to edges, and it has some nice features, such as handles that fold twice for easy storage, and a comfortable switch-bar moulded to the handle.

Where to buy

Lawnmowers are available at garden centres, nurseries and at DIY stores, as well as online. You can check stockists and compare the latest prices using Which?'s price comparison service www.whichcompare.co.uk

Grass-roots: Mulch for results

* Mulching mowers are a great way to feed your grass. They re-cut the clippings into tiny pieces and blow them back on to the lawn, where they break down and feed the grass. *A choice of cutting heights is useful if you have more than one lawn of different qualities of grass to cut, or want to cut at different heights throughout the year. A single height adjuster is easier than adjusting each wheel in turn.

* A long switch is a bar that runs the width of the handle or a double switch, allowing you to use both hands to prevent wrist strain. This is better for left-handers too.

* A big grass collector saves numerous trips to the compost heap. A window in the top or an indicator to tell you when it's full is also useful.

* Rear rollers are great for giving a striped effect, and make it easier to balance when you cut over lawn edges. All hand cylinder lawnmowers have a small rear roller, but most aren't heavy enough to give pronounced stripes.

The Insider is written by 'Which?', the independent consumer champion. For more information on lawnmowers, go to www.which.co.uk/gardening. To get three issues of 'Which?' magazine for a special price of £3, call 01992 822800 and quote INADVICE

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Sport
Premier League Live
footballLIVE Follow all the Premier League action as it happens
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
peopleTV star had been reported missing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
News
i100
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

    £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

    DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

    £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

    Data Scientist (SQL, PHP, RSPSS, CPLEX, SARS, AI) - London

    £60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...

    Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, Finance, MSc, PhD)

    £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, F...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone