Your lawn mower is probably the most important of all your garden tools and therefore needs careful consideration when it comes to purchase or replacement. You need to consider the size, undulation of your ground, how long your borders are, how strong you are and whether you want striped and perfect lawns or just a practically tidy one.

In this age of ecological awareness it makes sense to recycle your garden waste and that includes your grass cuttings. Composting has always been a good solution but with the innovation of mulching lawn mowers you can now return nutrients directly to the soil. The mulching blade will chop the grass so finely that it can rapidly be absorbed back into the ground making your lawn greener and healthier than ever and with no extra work from you, in fact it makes life easier as there are no grass boxes to empty and clean afterwards.

If you are the type of gardener who needs to do the job as quickly as possible then a self-propelled 4 wheeled rotary mower should fit the bill. They are lighter and cheaper than rear roller mowers and they cope better on uneven ground. Although rear wheels are more maneouvrable they do have a tendency to slip over border edges.

To avoid this problem choose a rear roller mower which remain stable right up to border edges and which produce a lovely striped effect. Rear rollers are more suited to flat lawns. They are also not compatible with mulching systems which means that you will have to make regular trips to the compost heap with your grass cuttings.

Look out for the feature which keeps the engine running whilst you empty the grass box,( the Blade, Brake Clutch system or Roto-stop system) making the job easier and less prolonged.

Smaller push mowers are ideal for the compact garden.

Hover mowers cope very well with longer, coarser grass and uneven ground, some can operate at a 45 degree angle which is ideal for banks. They are versatile and lightweight asy to store and often the perfect choice for city gardens. The drawback is their lack of any means of grass collection, and the fact that they are not easy to transport as only the larger heavier models have detachable back wheels.

Cylinder mowers are ideal for bowling green type lawns of the very highest quality but are only suitable for flat lawns with fine grass. They can create striped effect lawns and can be fitted with a scarifier but they cannot cope with long or coarse grass as the front roller keeps it flattened while the cutting blades pass over.

If you really want a healthy lawn cut with a recycling lawn mower which cuts with a rotary blade then re cuts and returns the clippings to the lawn where the nutrients get returned to the soil. They save time too as there is no need for trips to the compst heap although you need to cut more often in the peak growing season otherwise you will find that too high a volume of grass cuttings will stay on the lawn blocking out the sunlight and damaging the grass and soil.

Remember to consider the lawn size, the accessibility and the quality of the cut you wish to acheive.

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