How to choose and use a lawnmower

  • Find your ideal lawnmower with our guide to help you choose the one to suit your needs.
  • From cutting width, to the type of start the mower has, we cover all points to find you the best one.
  • Every Countrywide stores offers advice and servicing to help you with your lawnmower.
  • Read up on our tips for caring for your lawnmower, including steps of maintenance to make sure it’s optimised at all times.

Which Lawnmower to choose?

As with most machinery it is important to find out what your needs are as one type of mower is always going to be more practical than another.
As with most machinery it is important to find out what your needs are as one type of mower is always going to be more practical than another.

As with most machinery it is important to establish what your needs are as one type of mower is always going to be more practical than another.

There are two basic types of mower, walk behind which are the most common and tractor mowers (ride-on), these are clearly easy to differentiate.

Engine power makes less of an appearance, they do vary, but a particular mower will always have the same engine performance being optimised for the proportions and features of an individual mower.

The main points to choose between are:

Cutting Width

This is the main point, simply the wider the cut the faster the lawn will be cut. If you have a wide square section of lawn then a large deck will enable you to cut quickly. Whereas if the lawn is separated by flower borders then a smaller machine may be better suited as they are more agile.

Roller

A mower with a rear roller will give a traditional striped finish, however if flower borders are a factor then this pattern may look haphazard, so a mower with four separate wheels would be more appropriate.

Self-Propelled

To make cutting easier, some mowers are fitted with a self propelling gearbox that drives the mower along taking the effort out of pushing. These machines can be spotted by the second lever under the handle, this is so the drive can be quickly engaged when mowing in straight lines and disengaged when reaching a corner.

Pull or Electric Start

Most mower engines start by a pull cord, however a few models may feature an electric key start.

Ride on or tractor mowers

When mowing large areas of open lawn a tractor mower is a very practical choice, with the wider cutters than any walk behind, they cut quickly, and as the operator is seated on board no physical effort is needed, put simply there is no easier way to cut grass.

Grass Box

Most mowers are equipped with a grass collection box, walk behind mowers are emptied by hand, whilst tractor mowers empty by tipping the collector.

What size mower might I need?

This is an open ended question, but the following table can be used as a guide:

Size of LawnType of Mower Most Suitable
Up to 0.5 Acre Walk behind mower
0.5 - 1 Acre 30 - 36 inch Tractor

One acre being about the size of a football pitch. For areas larger than those listed machines are available as a special order.

Must have accessories

Engine Oil

Mowers use four stroke engines so oil is kept separate to the petrol in the same way as a car engine does, SAE 30 is the standard grade for Briggs and Stratton engines, with some Honda engines using a 10w/40. A new machine will need 600ml as no oil is present in a boxed machine. It is essential to add oil before starting a new machine. Refer to the manual or speak to a member of staff to guide you on the right oil for your model.

Petrol Cans

Useful to make sure the correct petrol is used, especially important if you also own has any two stroke machines, the cans can be labelled to avoid confusion.

RCD Circuit Breaker

For Electric models an RCD circuit breaker is essential and an extension lead will help you get to further away places.

Ground Sheet

This can be used to aid removal of grass clippings if there is no compost heap, especially useful with tractor mowers.

Maintenance

There are some basic engine care routines that you can do to help keep your mower in top condition. Electric mowers, however, need specialist attention and therefore your local dealer should be contacted. Whenever dealing with an electric machine always disconnect the mower from the mains.

For petrol engines always remove the spark plug to maximise your own safety when working on a petrol engine. The air cleaner should be checked and cleaned regularly particularly if working in dusty conditions. A blocked or partly blocked cleaner will affect the running of the engine and with prolonged use in this condition will accelerate engine wear and tear.

  • Oil should be changed regularly and according to individual mower manufacturer's recommendations.
  • With rotary mowers blades can be changed or sharpened to ensure maximum performance of the machine. Grass won't be cut effectively and damaged by blades not in prime condition. The mower itself can also either dip in performance or actually cause damage which can be serious and expensive to repair. Changing blades every 25 working hours is ideal. Cracked or notched blades should always be replaced immediately.
  • Do not allow grass residues to build up under the mower or around the cooling ribs or exhaust areas. Use a plastic or wooden spatula to clean under the deck and then wash with a brush and water. Never spray water onto engine components.

Servicing

Countrywide has its own Garden Machinery Service Centre, where most types of garden machinery are catered for. Deliveries to and from any store by our own transport network mean that you can bring your machinery in to your nearest store to get it serviced. Speak to your local store to find out current waiting times and standard servicing costs.

Always seek specialist advice when choosing a lawn mower. Staff at Countrywide will guide you on the most appropriate machine for your needs and supply relevant safety clothing and accessories.