Many homeowners, especially first-time homeowners, may not realise the importance of having a reliable lawnmower with which to properly maintain the garden around the home. There are many varieties of lawnmowers ranging from manual mowers to petrol or electric mowers, as well as mowers that an individual pushes, ride-on mowers, and stand-on mowers. Which mower a homeowner selects depends on how large a lawn he or she has to mow, whether there is an incline on the lawn or any uneven ground, how much ornamentation needs to be mowed around, and the ideal height for the type of grass the homeowner is mowing.
Although most homeowners keep a well manicured lawn because it is aesthetically pleasing and because it makes their entire home look nicer, the truth is that maintaining a lawn properly also promotes healthy grass and prevents the possibility of killing the grass due to mowing too frequently or infrequently. Another fact some homeowners may not realise is that how often a lawn is mowed depends on the season and whether or not the grass is growing rapidly or is in a dormant phase.
Brief History of the Lawn
While domesticated animals have been munching on the grass surrounding homes since the Middle Ages, the idea of actually cutting grass for aesthetic purposes did not arise until the 1600s. The English lawn, as it was known back then, was popular with the nobles of the time and involved trimming the lawn with a scythe. The lawnmower, patented in 1830 by Edwin Beard Budding, replaced the scythe and made it possible for anyone to have a well-manicured lawn.
Budding’s lawnmower was made of cast iron and featured a cylindrical cutting tool mounted to a frame that was pushed by the individual mowing the lawn. When it was first introduced it was used mainly by individuals maintaining large gardens and sports fields, although it was soon accepted by the general population and used by many homeowners to trim their lawns.
The introduction of the horse-drawn lawnmower and later the steam and petrol-powered lawnmowers made it even easier for homeowners and anyone else needing to keep grass trimmed to achieve a perfectly manicured lawn in no time at all. Although the types of grasses used for lawns and the styles have changed often throughout the history of the lawn, two things remain: the perfect lawn is green and trimmed to its optimum height. Today, consumers can choose from manual, petrol, or electric mowers and have the option of purchasing a ride-on mower for larger lawns or using a push style mower for medium and small size lawns.
How Often to Mow a Lawn
How often an individual mows his or her lawn will depend on the type of grass he or she has as well as the season. During a specific grass species’ growing season, the grass will need to be trimmed on a weekly basis to keep it in tip-top shape. For many grasses the peak growing season is in the spring, then the growth begins to taper off during the hotter summer months.
When the grass is not growing as quickly it may be possible to mow the lawn every two to three weeks and still have a beautiful lawn. Since most grasses are dormant during the colder winter months, mowing can be halted until the spring. In areas that have warmer winters, it may be necessary to mow the lawn on a bi-weekly or monthly basis.
Tips for Mowing a Lawn Properly
In addition to mowing with the proper frequency for each season, it is also essential to mow a lawn properly to ensure that the grass does not die. Individuals who are caring for their lawns should remove one-third of the height of the green portion of the grass blade with each mowing. This prevents the thatch of the grass, the brown portion just above the root, from growing too tall while leaving enough of the green portion to conduct photosynthesis and provide nutrients to the grass.
If an individual lets his or her lawn grow without trimming it regularly, the thatch will increase in height. Trimming the grass too much at this point may remove most or all of the green portion of the grass, which will result in a brown lawn and may cause the grass to die off since it cannot conduct photosynthesis without the green portion.
Finding the Perfect Lawnmower
The perfect lawnmower will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of grass, the size of the lawn, the grade of the lawn, and whether or not there are obstacles that must be manoeuvred around. Using the right mower for the job will make mowing easier and will take less time, which is why every homeowner should evaluate his or her lawn before purchasing a new lawnmower. Anytime a homeowner moves, he or she should also determine whether the mower he or she already has will work with the new lawn or whether it would be best to purchase a new one.
There are two main types of blades found on lawnmowers today: rotary blades or cylinders. Rotary blade mowers feature a blade positioned parallel to the grass. The blade revolves around a central shaft in a circular pattern, cutting any grass that falls within a specific radius. A cylinder mower has blades on a cylinder that rotates past a second cutting blade to cut the grass. The cutting action of a cylinder lawnmower is similar to the mechanism used by scissors to cut things.
Most mowers today, whether cylinder or rotary mowers, offer a height adjustment mechanism that allows the user to adjust the height of the cutting blades, which in turn adjusts the height that the grass is cut to. Rotary mowers are better suited to grasses that are kept long because their cutting height range is typically between 25 and 100 millimetres. Cylinder mowers, on the other hand, offer a cutting height range between six and 40 millimetres, which makes these mowers ideal for shorter grasses and for individuals who want a very short lawn. Individuals who wish to achieve the striped look that is often seen on golf courses and tennis courts will want to choose the cylinder mower with a roller bar in the back to help create the stripes.
The cheapest and easiest mowers to maintain are manual mowers because they use a minimal number of moving parts and don’t have any expensive electrical or engine components to replace. Manual mowers are very similar in style to the lawnmower introduced by Budding in 1830. They feature a cylinder mounted on a frame along with wheels on the front and back. The rear wheels drive the gears that make the cylinder turn. As the cylinder turns, the blade cuts the grass. These mowers are the most labour intensive because the user must push the mower to cause the gears to turn.
Electric mowers plug into an electrical outlet and use that power to make the cylinder or rotary blade turn. Some electric models are also self-propelled, which means the electricity is used to propel the mower as well, so the user simply has to guide it in the right direction and turn it when necessary. While electric mowers offer a vast improvement over manual mowers in terms of reducing labour output and time required to mow the lawn, users have to be careful not to run over the cord.
Additionally, since these mowers need to be plugged in during use, those with large lawns may not be able to reach all areas with an electric mower. Outdoor extension cords can be used to extend the mower’s range; however, users should keep in mind that using power cords in excess of 30 metres will cause the power output to drop, which will reduce the mower’s efficiency.
Battery-powered mowers are another alternative for those who do not want to use a manual mower, but want to avoid a petrol mower as well. These mowers feature a rechargeable battery that moves the mower without cords. While these mowers offer a better range than corded mowers, they are usually less powerful than petrol models and the batteries can require up to a day or more to fully charge. In addition, individuals with large gardens may find that they need to recharge their mower at least once to mow their entire garden. Although the battery can be recharged numerous times, when it stops holding a full charge, it must be replaced with fresh rechargeable battery.
The final power option for today’s mowers is petrol. These mowers feature internal combustion engines that operate on the same petrol that is used in automobiles. While these mowers are often more powerful than electric and battery-powered mowers, they are also louder due to the combustion engine. Homeowners who use a petrol-powered mower will need to add petrol to the mower when the petrol tank is empty, which means petrol needs to be purchased regularly and may need to be stored safely near the home until it is needed. Both the petrol and the mower need to be stored away from open flames and areas of high heat because the petrol is flammable. Mowers that operate on electricity or batteries can be stored anywhere because there is no flammability concern.
The final criteria lawnmower buyers will need to consider is which style of mower is best for mowing their lawn. Push style mowers are popular for individuals with small to medium size lawns. These mowers are smaller and easier to store than ride-on mowers; however, they lack the power of a ride-on and are very time consuming and labour-intensive when mowing larger lawns.
Ride-on or stand-on mowers are better suited to larger lawns as well as to small farms and uneven terrain. Stand-on mowers are mowers designed to allow the user to stand on the back of the mower and offer improved safety and manoeuvrability over ride-on models. For individuals with small farms or large homesteads, garden tractor style ride-ons may be preferable because they can tow a wide range of attachments from tillers and cultivators to wagons and fertiliser spreaders.
Shopping for Lawnmowers and Parts
Lawnmowers vary greatly in price, but for most homeowners, a lawnmower is an investment. Protecting the investment with proper maintenance and care will ensure that the lawnmower works for years to come. Prospective buyers will find both lawnmowers as well as replacement parts, such as oil and petrol filters, blades, and tyres, at local home and garden centres as well as through some department stores. In addition, consumers can search online for lawnmowers and parts.
Buyers may find that the prices online are better than those at local shops; however, they should be sure to factor in postage and handling, if applicable, before making a purchasing decision to ensure they are getting the best price. When shopping for replacement parts, buyers should consult their owner’s manual or check online to ensure that the parts they are about to buy are compatible with their lawn mower.
Buying Lawnmowers and Parts on eBay
If you want to view the listings for lawnmowers or lawnmower parts on eBay, type the appropriate phrase into the search box and click the search button. Once the search results load, you can narrow down the number of listings using the subcategory options or the price or location filters. If you know you want a specific type of mower, such as a ride-on mower, type that information into the search box to narrow down your initial search results.
Before making a purchasing decision, prospective buyers read each listing carefully to confirm what is being sold, as well as the condition of the item. While consumers can save quite a bit of money buying used mowers or parts, they should be aware of the condition of the item as well as the seller’s return policy before they purchase the item.
A perfectly manicured lawn is a point of pride for many homeowners and something everyone can achieve with a little consistency and diligence. Having the right tools for the job will go a long way in helping a homeowner achieve their desired lawn. In this case, the main tool is the lawnmower. Although some homeowners may be tempted to go for the biggest ride-on mower they can find, they should keep in mind that ride-on mowers have both strengths and weaknesses, but they are not right for every lawn.
Once a prospective buyer has decided which type of mower is best for his or her lawn, he or she can begin to research the different models within this category. Buyers will find that lawnmower manufacturers offer a variety of bells and whistles to attract buyers. Some of these features, such as a grass box or mulcher, are extremely helpful tools while others are not worth the extra money. Buyers should keep these things in mind before deciding which model to buy.