The Insider: Lawn order is the way to deal with unruly gardens
Saturday 09 May 2009
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
- 1 Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
- 2 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 3 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 4 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 5 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...
£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...
£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...
£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, F...
Day In a Page
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony