My father used to joke that he had invented the Worlds first, second, third and fourth automatic lawn mowers: me and my three siblings, otherwise known as The Remote Controls! It was not all bad; we were well rewarded for our chores. Nowadays, an automatic lawn mower, that is not actually human, is a reality and although it came a generation too late for the four of us, it is good to know we can buy one and put our own children to work fathoming the DVD recorder and the surround sound system!
Why buy one?
More like a robot than a home appliance, the automatic lawn mower takes a little getting used to but then so does a new car or electric toothbrush. It will not hold a conversation with you but then who needs appliances to talk back?
These garden gadgets are to be taken more seriously than you might at first think. They cost roughly double that of a conventional ride-on mower but over a two-year period will pay for themselves in fees charged by a person who would do the job for you. And, you can count on the lawn being mowed while you are away, you cannot always depend on the lawn mower man to turn up in your absence.
An automatic lawn mower is not a poor excuse for the real thing. Not only will it cut the grass but it will also mulch it, sending fine particles of grass clippings back into the lawn, thereby fertilizing it at the same time and reducing the fertilizer requirements by roughly one third.
Here is the tricky part. Before you can actually use your new automatic lawn mower, you have to set up a system of wires around the area that you need mowed. This acts as a guide for the mower. You do not want your mower running off and mowing every yard in the neighbourhood, do you? Setting up will take you about a day or so and naturally, all the instructions come with the unit.
Until a product becomes mainstream, a household word if you will, it will always be subject to issues that over time are ironed out. An automatic lawn mower will need to be corrected on its course at the beginning. While some have high-tech features on board such as rain and traction sensors, you need to get to know your mower and its inadequacies before you let it enjoy its own autonomy.
Once you overcome these problems, however, you can spend many a happy hour watching the work being done for you. They say it is boring watching grass grow, but watching it being cut is totally entertaining!
Before you buy
There are some considerations to make before you actually buy an automatic lawn mower. How much of a slope does your land have? How big is your property to be mowed? Will you be able to obtain spare parts in the event that repairs are needed? Where is the nearest service center? Should it be fully automatic and self-starting or would you rather a more basic model that requires you to be there when the lawn is to be mowed?
However convenient an automatic lawn mower may be, you still have to trim edges yourself, weed garden beds and cut overgrown bushes back. The beauty is, you can be doing all of that while your personal robot keeps you company in the background!