How to Mow Your Lawn

Cutting grass is one of those tasks that possibly faces the majority of people either from time to time, or on a regular basis. How anybody might feel about doing it can range from it being an unwanted chore to an obsession, and the ways of achieving it have been many and various over the years. Done with a Scythe once upon a time, and even though scything is enjoying a come back with enthusiasts, there are easier ways of doing it. But cutting grass is not the only concern. What about weeds or moss? What about thatch and diseases? Compaction, waterlogging, fungi? Fertilizers, which and when?


For the purposes of this blog, we shall assume a general purpose turf which includes dwarf Rye Grass and just talk about cutting.


When we think about it in these more modern times, we have a huge range of options open to us. Cut it ourselves, leave it for as long as we can and hope that someone else will do it, pay a family member or friend to do it or maybe pay for a garden services company to do it. So let’s assume that we want our lawn to be the best that it can be, and that we are going to do it ourselves. So what type of mower is best ?

So there are basically two types readily available … those that actually cut it like a pair of scissors would, or those where a sharpened blade hits the grass at such speed that it takes the top of the grass blade off by force. As the average golfer amongst us will be aware when our ball mysteriously ends up in the rough, even a golf club will cut grass ! Both types of mower are able to either collect or leave the clippings.

A ‘Cylinder Mower’ is the more expensive of the two types simply because its two blades have to be precisely machined so as to match one another.




As can be seen from this image, this mower has no engine, although they are of course more commonly seen with engines. The blades are arranged in a spiral formation around a horizontal shaft, and when the mower is pushed forwards the blades rotate and rub up against a fixed horizontal blade set behind it. Any blade of grass which is long enough gets caught between the two blades and is cut off and thrown out. The advantage of this type of mower is the fact that it does actually cleanly ‘cut’ the grass.

They do also generally have a roller which is what gives the much loved stripes.

The Rotary Mower is generally on wheels, and has to be powered in order to generate the necessary force required to be effective. The blade is housed directly below the engine and is a straight piece of metal with a cutting edge fashioned into the leading edge of the bar at both ends. The ‘twist’ is there to create a ‘lift’ to blow the grass either down into the turf or up and out of an outlet in either the side or back of the circular casing that surrounds the blade. These two functions are usually controlled by inverting the blade and thus the tilt of the ‘twist’. 

There is no doubt that mowing a lawn can be exhausting ….

…. but it’s important to buy the right machine to suit both your lawn and your capability ….

The next important thing to consider is how low you are going to cut your lawn. You should aim to never cut off more than half the height of the grass, as over a period of time this will weaken it, so frequent cuts are the best way to maintain things the way that you want them.

If you insist upon only cutting once a month for instance, it will take much longer, remove too much leaf in one go and ‘stress’ the lawn unnecessarily. If you cut too often, and particularly if you always cut in the same way – whereby I mean the same start and finishing points on the lawn – the most significant effect is one of over compaction to the soil in which the lawn is growing, particularly if the ground conditions are wet. So little and often is good, but as with all things, a measure of leeway has to be considered sometimes.