My Team and I have been working recently on our top tips for a professional mowing job. Here are our pearls of wisdom from what we have learnt over the years of mowing lawns week in week out:
1. Start out with a decent mower and choose a mower that is appropriate for your lawn. We like rotary mowers with a roller - they are easy to use, hoover up leaves when necessary, cope with long or wet grass better than cylinder mowers and still produce a nice stripe. It is important that it is height adjustable to avoid scalping and for those circumstances when you need to mow higher.
2. Check mower before you start: Oil Levels, Blade Sharpness, Petrol Levels etc.
3. Select height: General reccommendation – 3cms or 1.5 inches
This is normally a setting 3 or 4 on the mower or about the middle if the scale is ungraded. The lawn can be mown longer if the conditions require it: in drought conditions, or if the lawn is long initially (e.g after having been away on holiday). We do not recommend going shorter than this at any time.
4. Walk the lawn. Check there is nothing on the lawn e.g. Childrens toys, which will cause you to stop and remove it. You get the best results if you can do a stripe all in one go. It is also worth looking out for any stones on the lawn surface which might damage the mower blade.
5. Edge first. We suggest using edging shears for best results along borders. You can also use a strimmer along fences, raised beds etc. At this time you can lift any overhanging plants so that they do not hinder mowing and you can achieve a neat edge – use a border fork to hold them back.
6. Start by mowing around the outside edges of the lawn. This will help to ensure that you don't miss anything when turning the mower at the end of a pass. One of my guys likes to go over the edges again at the end of the job just to make it look extra neat!
7. Alternate the orientation of mowing on a weekly basis. If one way is too short for a sensible pass (i.e. you have to turn too often) consider doing diagonal stripes so that you avoid the grass plants always being brushed in one direction by the roller.
8. Try to keep lines as straight as possible. Look at object in the distance and head straight for it. Do not look down at the mower. Overlap one wheel of the mower with the previous stripe to make sure that you don't miss any patches.
9. Empty bag regularly – about every 30m depending on the size of your grass catcher. Watch out for cuttings coming out of the side of the bag – if you spot this the bag is full and needs emptying immediately. The catcher fills much more quickly with wet and long lawns, so you will need to empty the bag more often.
10. Clean out mower after use. Push the handles of the mower down to the ground to create a 45 degree angle and brush out using a stiff brush. Occasionally use a high pressure hose to clean properly and once dry spray the working parts with WD40. A dirty mower can affect the performance of the mower and the neatness of the job.