Buying a Lawn Mower: The Basic Stuff You Should Know
For the true lawn mowing enthusiast, nothing can take the place of a great lawn mower. There's just something about it. It's a heavenly connection between man and machine. And as technology and lawn mowers meet, the number of choices continue to grow. There's a whole lot more to choose from when shopping for a mower.
If you've ever found yourself standing in the middle of a home and garden center mulling over the options on a huge selection of lawn mowers, don't worry. You're not alone.
You're aware of how difficult the decision making process tends to be. What width of mower do you need? Do you need a mulcher or a bagging mower? How much horse power is required? This list of options and features keeps going and growing.
Thank goodness there's a simple way to get your answers fast.
Look at your lawn first.
Let me explain.
Consider your lawn and what it needs first. Use the aspects below to help you decide as you keep your property in mind.
Consider Yourself and Your Property
- Total Area. If your lawn is smaller, stick to the push mowers or reel mowers. Riding tractors or mowers are a better fit for homeowners with over 3/4 of an acre of land or more.
- Slope and Grade. Think about the level of your yard. Is there a slope and grade? If so, using a power driven push or riding mower may be the ticket.
- Your Physical Condition. Some "decked out" lawn mowers look nice but they sure pack the weight. Using one for your yard for any excessive amounts of time may be tiresome. Again, a power driven mower may be best depending upon your physical condition.
Perhaps the idea of using a traditional gas-guzzling lawn mower isn't up your alley. In fact it may be uninviting to you. Well there are a number of options that could fit your needs. Below are some of the more popular alternative lawn mowers that you may prefer.
Popular Alternative Lawn Mowers
The next time you're at your local home and garden center, check out the latest line of alternative lawn mowers for your yard maintenance tasks.
- High-Wheel Lawn Mowers. If you have to push a mower up a hill, high-wheel lawn mowers make the job infinitely easier.
- Cordless Mulching Lawn Mowers. Cordless mulching lawn mowers feature electric power and no bagging. Perfection!
- Reel Lawn Mowers. Reel lawn mowers take it back to the good old days, with a technological twist. These manual mowers are making a comeback.
Lawn Mowers: Should You Buy a Mulcher or a Grass Catcher?
Lawn mowing in and of itself is simple. It's those grass clippings that can be a bit of a problem. What do you do with them? When trying to decide whether to purchase a mulcher or a grass catcher, there are some things to consider.
If you're in the market for a new lawn mower, you're not alone. Thousands of homeowners are in the exact same position. But the question still stands, should you buy a lawn mower that mulches or one that has a grass catcher? Is there really much of a difference? The answer is yes.
Let's take a look at a comparison.
Using a Grass Catcher
- Extra Maintenance. Like any motorized equipment, you'll have to provide maintenance to it every so often. This includes looking after rust, tightening screws, and other time-consuming steps that keep this type of mower up to par.
- Extra Effort. One of the biggest drawbacks of using a grass catcher is the extra effort required to stop, unload grass clippings, reattach the bag, and keep going. It extends your cutting time.
- Cleaner Lawn. The biggest advantage to using a grass catcher is that you'll love the look of a clean, smooth, lawn. Today's catchers are great at collecting unsightly clippings and removing them from your yard along with other debris like leaves or small sticks.
The bottom line on grass catchers is that if you're willing to put out the energy and time, bagging the grass clippings will improve the look of your lawn drastically. But as you'll see, mulching has its own benefits that you'll want to know about before making the grass catching lawn mower purchase.
Using a Grass Mulcher
- Healthier Lawn. Mulching your grass clippings will provide rich nutrients that your lawn desperately needs to stay greener throughout the year. In essence your lawn will not only get cut, but will get a mild fertilizing as the grass clippings left behind break down into the soil.
- Bigger Expense. Most mulching lawn mowers are considerably more expensive than their grass catching counterparts.
While this decision is not the end of the world or anything of that magnitude, it is one that you'll need to consider. It all depends on how far you're willing to go to have the best looking lawn on the block.
How To Carry Out Basic Lawn Mower Maintenance
Let's face it. Quality lawn mowers aren't cheap. You can spend into the thousands for riding lawn mowers and tractors. But even the majority, who have spent between $300 and $600 for a standard gasoline-powered lawn mower, have still made a considerable investment.
Like all lawn equipment, there will come a day when you'll need to carry out maintenance on your machines. If you believe that lawn care is essential, you should feel the same way about lawn mower maintenance.
When you look after your lawn mower, you can save money on operating costs as well as on pricy repairs or complete lawn mower replacement by following a routine throughout lawn care season. Even simple tasks like tightening screws and bolts that shake loose during ordinary operation saves wear and tear on both your mower and your body. Cleaning your lawn mower deck throughout the season can save fuel as well as help prevent lawn disease.
What To Do
There is no time like the present. It doesn't matter that you've neglected your lawn mower. Starting to care for it now makes all the difference.
First, install fresh spark plugs. They're inexpensive enough to replace rather than clean or gap. Keep one or two spares to make the swap within minutes.
If your mower has a paper air filter, give that a complete replacement, too. For foam air filters, buy new mower replacement foam and soak it in some oil before installing.
Grass is best cut with sharp blades. Dullness can harm your lawn. Torn grass is highly vulnerable to a myriad of lawn diseases. Either remove the blade with a socket wrench, hone it with a file (following the existing cutting angle), or take it to a lawn-care shop for professional sharpening that may cost you $5 to $10.
It's just good sense before doing any of this work to run the mower until it runs completely out of gas. Turn the mower filter-side up (to prevent clogging) and drain the oil. Be sure to remove the plug or plug wire to keep the mower from firing up while you're up to your elbows in machinery.
Following these simple procedures can add years of life to your lawn mower and keep a lot of money in your pocket.
Lawn Cutting 101: How To Cut Your Grass
It would be safe to say that there are a handful of homeowners that do not know how to cut their grass. Knowing how to cut your lawn is just one of those little things that we take for granted. You need to know lawn cutting basics. Follow these simple steps and you'll stay on the path to success.
Cutting your grass can be much tougher than it looks and not having a plan on how you'll tackle this monster can make mowing seem as fun as a triathalon for someone not in shape.
You need a definite plan to deal with tricky aspects such as navigating rough terrain and achieving desired grass blade length. The following are general guidelines for cutting your grass that you should be aware of. Of course, every lawn is different and each has its own set of steps.
- Cut Often. Cutting your lawn often is the best way to encourage it to grow lush, green, and full. Cutting too often is simply a waste of effort and materials. Once a week or so should be plenty for most climates.
- Blade Height. Set the blade height on your lawn mower to the middle setting. Cutting the grass too low results in scorching in hot weather. Cutting it too long makes the next cut even more tough.
- Cut in Rows. Think of those fantastic baseball field stripe patterns. The best and safest pattern for you to cut your lawn is in straight lines along one of the sides. This will keep your rows even and ensure that you cut all of the blades without missing and areas on your lawn.
- Circle the Trees and Garden Beds. When you reach a tree or a garden bed in the middle of your lawn, cut a row or two around the circumference of the bed. This will make sure that you get all of the blades around a difficult section of your lawn.
- Check the Bag Often. One thing that can ruin your lawn is to let the catching bag get too full. Then clumps of grass begin falling into freshly cut rows which can cause the grass that the clumps fall on to die. Plus it looks horrible after your effort of cutting neat, straight rows.
Following these simple cutting guidelines will get you on your way to earning best lawn on the block in your neighborhood.
A healthy lawn is the first line of defense against weeds, insects and disease and the following maintenance techniques will significantly improve the health of your lawn.
- Lawn Mowing Tips that will reduce weeds, enhance drought tolerance and disease resistance and increase tolerance to insect feeding.
- Watering Techniques that will reduce weed invasion, enhance drought tolerance, reduce or eliminate disease, and kill insect pests.
- Weed Buster Strategies that will reduce disease and improve the appearance of your lawn.
- Landscaping & Gardening Tips that will make your property looks it's best.