If you have never mowed a lawn and are unsure how to go about it, we are here to help you feel confident and equipped to tackle your first mowing session.
This beginner's guide will provide essential tips and techniques to make you the mother-of-all-mowers, with a lawn that is the envy of your neighbours.
Regular mowing keeps your lawn neat, promotes healthy growth, and prevents weed infestations.
By following this beginner's guide, you'll soon be on your way to mastering the art of lawn mowing. So, let's get started and transform your lawn into a beautiful oasis!
Using the right mower
Use a lawn mower that is right for the size of your yard, type of terrain, and kind of grass you’re going to cut.
Mowers can be cylindrical, rotary or hover, and they can be powered by gas, electricity/batteries or manually (push start).
Do your research before buying a lawn mower so you know you have the perfect machine for your garden.
Here are some mower options to choose from.
Cylinder mowers have cylindrical blades that cut grass against a fixed blade. Choose this type if your yard is flat and even.
Source: Professional Lawnmower
Rotary mowers are usually petrol or electric powered. They have powerful spinning blades that cut grass. Use this type if you have a large yard.
Hover lawn mowers hover above the grass as you mow. This is great for small to midsize yards with uneven terrain.
Ensuring you mower is maintained and in working order
Keeping your lawn mower in tip-top shape is one of the secrets of a great-looking yard.
Lawn mower maintenance should be done at least once a year, ideally at the end of mowing season.
Consult the manual
Read your manual before doing any maintenance so you don’t accidentally damage the machine.
Remove dirt and debris that has accumulated on the underside of the mower. Change the oil (once for every 25 hours of use) and clean/replace the air filter. If the mower is going in storage for a long time, drain the petrol and remove the spark plug.
Haven’t used your lawn mower for a long time? Take it to a professional to be serviced or if you can’t get it to start. Lawn service pros can troubleshoot issues like dull blades, broken air filters, and battery problems.
Tips to start or charge your mower
Can’t mow the lawn because the mower won’t start? We’ve all been there. Besides checking the obvious (Are the batteries charged? Is the tank full?) here are other tips:
Start a Petrol Mower
- Make sure there’s fresh petrol in the tank and the oil is new.
- Prime the engine first if you haven’t used the mower recently.
- Hold the handles down while pulling the starting rope quickly and forcefully. You might need to do this a few times.
Pro tip: Still won’t start? Drain the old petrol and replace with fresh petrol. Also, check the carburetor. It may be flooded, dirty or in need of repair.
Charge an Electric Mower
- First, disconnect the charger. Connect the positive side and then the negative. Plug the charger into the outlet and wait until the battery is 100% charged before disconnecting.
- Charge the battery before using the mower and before storing it. Make sure to use batteries and chargers made by the manufacturer.
- Avoid overcharging or completely discharging lithium-ion batteries. Keep them at 20 percent or higher, and disconnect when fully charged.
Pro tip: Before your mower goes into storage, remove the battery and keep it fully charged so it’s ready to power your machine come spring or your next mowing session.
Preparing your lawn ready to mow
Mowing your lawn is a straightforward activity, but it is more than just cutting grass. You need to consider a few things. Is your lawn mower ready for action? Is your yard a mess? How high should you trim the grass?
- Get your mower ready. If you’ve done proper maintenance before storing your mower, you’re good to go. If you haven’t used the mower in a while, now’s the time to clean it, change the oil, check the filter, and fill up with fresh petrol or charge the batteries.
- Clear the area. Remove objects that will get in the way of the lawn mower, like rocks, toys, and fallen branches. These can damage the engine and dull the blades.
- Don’t cut the grass too short. For a healthy lawn that is thick and dense, don’t cut the grass too close to the soil. The right height depends on what kind of grass you have, but a good rule of thumb is not to cut more than one third of the grass. Set a mowing schedule based on how fast the grass grows back.
- The best time to mow the lawn? You guessed it. Not in the middle of a hot summer day. Experts recommend mowing the lawn in the late afternoon or when the sun’s not so intense.
- Don’t mow wet grass. It’s hard to get a clean cut if the blades of grass are soaked. It’s also slippery and dangerous, especially if you’re using an electric mower.
Mowing techniques for a perfect result
Your yard can be an award-winner with the proper mowing techniques.
- Have a sloping lawn? Mow in a side-to-side direction, not up or down.
- Take it slow and steady. Low to medium speeds give you the best control. Go slow when mowing around trees, landscaping, garden beds and obstacles.
- Don’t you just love that professional, striped look? Here’s how to get it: Pay attention to direction. Mow your lawn in a straight line and in a back and forth direction. Overlap each pass of the mower a few inches to avoid missing thin strips of grass.