Kya de­longchamps

Cuts through a sward of in­for­ma­tion to bring the short story on mighty mow­ers, ride-on trac­tors and sleek su­per­car-styled robotics

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Diy -

MOW­ING the lawn puts a com­fort­ably re­spectable, tidy face on a place. Still, as a chore, it’s a re­garded as a repet­i­tive bor­ing, largely so­cial duty by most of us. The tem­per­ate wet weather of our sum­mer means an hys­teric dart out to the garage to grab up the horse-power when the green stuff is suf­fi­ciently dry not to jam up in clumps on the blades.

Throw in the wrong type of ma­chin­ery and there’s very lit­tle to look for­ward to as we curse our way through the de­cap­i­tated daisies. Choose the right ma­chine, how­ever, and it’s a dif­fer­ent story — cut­ting a dash might be­come al­most bear­able.

Mow­ers are bro­ken down into push and self-pro­pelled, ro­tary mow­ers, and cylin­der mow­ers; hover mow­ers, and ride on mow­ers, or gar­den trac­tors. Flat ro­tary blades are ex­tremely pop­u­lar, as set to your choice of sward height, they can scythe through long­grass,an­da­part from need­ing reg­u­lar sharp­en­ing, are good value and easy to main­tain.

With stan­dard cut­ting heights of 2 – 7.5cm, pow­ered by mains or petrol, they will please most gar­den­ers. For that nipped to the nub, golf course vel­vet, a cylin­der­mow­er­with a set of mov­ing blades that cut the grass against a fixed blade is the answer. Add a rear roller, and you have the full coun­try es­tate stripe, the envy of your slaver­ing neigh­bours, up to their petu­nias in rag­wort and clover.

Cylin­ders cut like a scis­sors, and are less suc­cess­ful in rut­ted ground with shaggy grass, so neu­rot­i­cally main­tained, class A grass only for your go­ing.

Ro­tary mow­ers with rear rollers are avail­able. A ro­tary or cylin­der mower in elec­tric form is per­fect for a smaller gar­den un­der the 3000 sq foot mark.

Flymo, Bosch and Honda are mar­ket lead­ers in teth­ered, bless­edly light ma­chines that just plug into an RCD and play. Prices from €150.

If you want to go cord­less to stroll around trees and do away with ex­ten­sion cords, put an­other 30% on the bud­get. Lay hands on any ma­chine you’re plan­ning to buy to judge its han­dle height to yours. Mow­ing with a small low mower can be a cause for ex­cru­ci­at­ing back-ache. Ad­justable mod­els are great for fam­i­lies where not only Dad does the deed.

If you have a medium sized gar­den with any sort of gra­di­ent, a self-pro­pelled petrol or elec­tric lawn mower (1000w1800w) is vi­tal. Choose vari­able speed mod­els to suit your gait. A rel­a­tively large deck of 40cm plus can whip up and down a straight sided, slop­ing gar­den.

If your gar­den is a clut­tered or com­plexly planted third of an acre, greater ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity and a neater deck in the 30cms might suit you bet­ter.

Mo­tor­heads, who thrill at the roar of the motor and the idea of manly tin­ker­ing, get pos­i­tively ex­cited at the choice of ma­chine and will crum­ple this sim­plis­tic ar­ti­cle on the sub­ject to rub down the pelt of their growl­ing, petrol-fed ve­hi­cle. Ex­pect to pay in the area of €200 and up for a mid-range 125cc ro­tary ma­chine, tag­ging on about an­other €100 for ev­ery 10cc addition.

Chest-beat­ing over the privet hedge in- cludes the brand­ing, horse­power and size of the cut­ting deck, and once given room, some buy­ers take glee­fully to ride-on mow­ers as part of the mid-life tran­si­tion — hand­ker­chief gar­den or not. For the pa­rade of blades, there’s noth­ing quite like a Deere and buy­ers are happy to reach for €400-€500 for both high per­for­mance and re­spected high build qual­ity.

Boast­ing an au­to­matic choke sys­tem seen usu­ally in cars, the proven, re­li­able fourstroke Readys­tart petrol en­gines in the new John Deere Run will please petrol heads and lightly-built mower-per­sons, who want cut­ting mus­cle with­out the wres­tle. Ex­plore the range at John Deere stock­ist in­clud­ing Farm Power, Cork.

The elec­tric hover mower will elicit groans of ut­ter con­tempt from the gritty divi­sion of petrol-pow­ered hor­ti­cul­tur­ists, but for un­du­lat­ing bor­der edges, over­hang­ing shrubs on a lawn and bird-like fore­arms, hov­ers are a cheap, un­com­pli­cated ro­tary mower with in­creas­ingly clever de­tail­ing.

Prices start from as lit­tle as €50, but ex­pect to pay more for a true Flymo and com­pacted col­lec­tion.

Get a good cut at the start of the sea­son on a nice dry day and use your hover mower reg­u­larly to get a pleas­ing fin­ish. Lithium ion bat­ter­ies can run man­ual or ro­botic ma­chines, but suf­fer on the side of run time and power, frus­trat­ing in a medium sized gar­den where you throw spon­ta­neous BBQS and need a quick clip with­out a lengthy recharge.

Find­ing ma­chines that will cut more than the size of a stan­dard ten­nis court in a sin­gle charge will be prob­lem­atic. For a com­pact roamer, take a look at the Flymo Mighti-mo - 40V, €170.49, Ar­gos. Ry­obi, also stocked by Ar­gos, have in­tro­duced a hy­brid ma­chine that can switch from bled bat­ter­ies back to a cord. 32cm, €529.99.

It’s not just about the cut, and as the ma­chine grows larger and you mount up, the me­chan­ics and ease of op­er­a­tion and emp­ty­ing are key. Vari­able cut­ting heights op­er­ated from your stand­ing po­si­tion, or a seat can deal with a close, shaggy or un­even lawn, but your ma­jor de­ci­sion is tack­ing down the horse­power to suit the job.

Con­trols vary, some shared over hand and foot, other mod­els be­ing op­er­ated to­tally by hand. Don’t buy any­thing you haven’t at least pushed or sat on in a show­room, ex­am­in­ing the er­gonomics and ease of repet­i­tive ac­tions.

This Bosch Ro­tak Lithium-ion Er­goflex Cord­less Ro­tary Lawn­mower fea­tures a 1200 watt Pow­er­drive motor and32cm cut­ting blades, 30-60mm grass heights and 8 grip po­si­tions. Bat­tery fed ma­chines that recharge as fast as this one, a mere 90 min­utes, re­main...

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