SPring is coming. Pring can be used to describe anything in Britain, from the blistering heatwaves cracking pavement stones to the deadly but equally sweeping snowstorms that hit just two days later.
Some more modern Brits will be parading in parks and by beaches as if modesty didn’t matter when the sun finally shines. The more usual majority of the pale and pasty people of this country will slowly emerge from their winter refuge, like more timid types of Game of Thrones’ White Walkers, preferring to enjoy the sunlight away from the spotlight, safely ensconced from the public eye in the privacy of their own gardens.
The weatherman might mumble something about sunshine on horizon. The reality is now that you must be mildly panicked about the state of your grass-engulfed outside world. Is this a lost world? Are you able to see the Amazonian delivery men/tribes displaced and stop-frame animated dinosaurs fighting each other for survival in an abandoned enclosed trampoline? Is it a bit too overgrown for its intended purpose? Either way, before you attempt to lay your sunscreen-slathered body out there in a bid to soak up some rays, you’re going to need to give your garden A good trim is important for your hair, and possibly your own hair, depending on how you maintain it.
Many people do not live in lush, green estates that require ride-on lawnmowers like the Capability Brown team. Indeed, many – like myself – may have a modestly sized garden With a small plot that only needs to be mowed. A small plot is the best choice. garden You will need a small lawnmower. Is this possible?
Well, as ever, where there’s a market there’s a targeted model or two; and I’ve been busy bothering the blades of grass in my own garden to uncover the best…
Ideal for: Cord-free, happily care-free
Some things in life are best done free from the ties that bind us, particularly so if you’re the kind of accident-prone type who may distractedly drag a mower around without due care and consideration for any electricity cords lurking coiled on the ground. It happens. Even occasionally to the most conscientious of grass cutters – all it can take is the sudden, unexpected movement of a cat in the corner of the eye and attention momentarily taken off the task at hand. The lawnmower’s now-spinning-to-a stop blades have ripped the power cord.
The YardForce FM G32 prevents this ever being a problem by coming blessed with a built-in, quick-charging (90-minutes) 40V Samsung lithium-ion 2.5Ah battery that gives you a good 25-minutes of runtime, which should be ample for the likes of smaller lawns (300m² max), if you don’t mess about or procrastinate.
You can also choose from five different cutting heights, ranging from 20 to 60mm. This allows you to groom your garden as you wish (within the 25-minute timeframe). The 30-litre grass collection bag includes a full-level indicator to stop stuff from spilling out and disrupting your strict schedule. A roller is also included to help you achieve that perfect stripey look.
Lightweight too at a barely-scales-bothering 9.5kg, the only conceivable downside of the YardForce FM G32, that I can see, is that having come to the conclusion that you DO want to tackle the grass, you’ll have to be certain that you will still be of that same generous mind-frame after a 90-minute wait.
Flymo Turbo Lite 250
Ideal for: Basics of grass-roots bargaining
Look, you have a small turfed area lurking at the back of your house that’s got a bit out-of-hand during recent sporadic periods of rain and sun and it needs a trim to make it treadable again. If that’s all there is to it – and you don’t mind a little extra manual graft – then why not keep it both simple and inexpensive?
The Flymo Turbo Lite 250 is both of these things, being a 5.95kg, corded mower that not only floats on a cushion of air to make manoeuvrability more manageable, but also boasts a beefy 1400W motor to help the 250’s metal blades tear through the tough stuff without you having to break a sweat.
Featuring a 10m long power lead that should be ample length for most ‘small’ gardens, the Turbo Lite 250 has a cutting width of 25cm and offers cutting heights of 11-31mm. But what it doesn’t offer – and where the earlier mention of ‘extra manual graft’ kicks in – is a grass collection box. So as it’s also not a mulcher, you’re going to need to rake-up the remnants once the mowing is done. This is not going to be a problem in a small yard.
Retailing at a piffling £80 to boot, if an occasional, largely effortless but reliably effective trim is all your lawn requires, the Flymo Turbo Lite 250 should tick all your back garden boxes.
Bosch Rotak 32 R
Ideal for: A clipper-catcher at an affordable price
If the thought of raking up grass cuttings is too much for you, even on a cold March day, then the Rotak 32R from Bosch will be able to help.
Is it heavier than the Flymo, or is it lighter? Yes, but at just 6.8kg, there isn’t much in it. It costs more than the Flymo. Yes, I just said that… are you not listening? This is a larger method of mowing your lawn. It will take up more space, but the benefits are almost innumerable.
The blades are 32cm in length, making it easier to cut larger areas with less effort. Its large, chunky tires make it easy for you to maneuver in long grass. A 12m power lead with 1200W motor gives you the freedom and thrust to tackle overgrown gardens.
What’s more, throw in a handy rear roller to help you attain those oh-so desirable, pro-finish stripes and a 31-litre grass box for clipping collection convenience, and it’ll be Pimm’s o’clock outside before you can blink.
Ideal for: Small garden-owning petrolheads
Designed specifically for use on small to medium-sized gardens (up to 250m²), the Mountfield SP41 is the mower for those who still harbour a deep suspicion of ‘elastic-trickery’, favouring instead a more traditional approach to lawnmower power: petrol.
Yes, this is still a very popular option. The new mower model not just removes the limitations of power leads and the weight of built in rechargeable batteries but is also self-propelled. This means that once it is engaged, it moves forward without any guidance from the operator via an ergonomic handlebar. This lack of pushing makes it particularly ideal for the fiercely independent garden-goer who perhaps suffers with mobility or muscle issues; or, indeed, for those who are simply very lazy – let’s face it, it’s a factor which is going to appeal.
It has a 39cm cutting width, five different cutting heights, and a powerful 123cc STIGA ST120 AUTOchoke engine that drives the SP41 at 3.4km/h. The Mountfield comes with a 40-litre textile bag that can be used to collect grass seeds. It will transform any untamed areas of grass into something similar to Twickenham’s hallowed turf in no time.
Bosch Indego XS 300
Ideal for: The happiest small gardeners
Bish, bash and, indeed, bosh, as is oft uttered down here on the North Essex ‘manor’ I call my adopted home. I have absolutely no idea what is meant by it as I’ve never bothered to learn the local vernacular beyond the ability to reply to an “Alwight, geezer?” with an “Alwight, geezer!” in order to nicely blend in. This, possible, Colchester-common mate calling calls also leads us to this automated offering by another Bosch, the XS 300.
The XS 300 is the obvious lawnmower for the truly senile, but it comes at a high price. Designed by Bosch’s finest brains for gardens of small to medium size, if you cannot abide the idea of getting your thumbs green or, indeed, you have such horrendous hay fever that getting cut grass in your nostrils signifies the start of a sneezing fate worse than Hell, then why not let a robot run all the risk?
Designed for use in gardens with a maximum 300m² lawn area, this smart bit of grass trimming kit features a ‘Logicut’ navigation system to mow grass in organised lanes, rather than some higgledy-piggledy manner like other automated offerings.
It’s capable of cutting to three different lengths, depending on what effect you’re after, and packs a powerful battery that delivers 45-minutes of blade spinning based on 45-minutes of charging. Built-in touch sensors prevent the Bosch from obliterating items left on your overgrown lawn. To further confuse lawn mower thieves, if you remove the Bosch from your pre-installed border wire, it locks down completely until activated by a predetermined PIN.
Clearly the laziest route to lawn management, but if you’re like me and you enjoy your garden wholly as a ready-made refuge for G&T-based relaxation, then forget the grass-cutting graft and turn to the tech.
Ideal for: Eco-friendly, outdoor exercise for eco-conscious people
The Mountfield SP41 petrol-powered mower is a bit old-fashioned when it comes trimming the turf. But what if I said there was still a way to cut the grass to a minimum without using any unfriendly power? The HM381 by Cobra, a hardcore-sounding Cobra, is completely electric-free. It doesn’t need any cable or pre-charged batteries.
Yep, it’s a manual, alright! You push the mower yourself, allowing your energy to turn the razor-sharp 38cm blades. This ensures a good depilation at a neighbour-respecting level of decibels.
Generally meant for use in small gardens only, unless you’re some kind of masochistic Joe Wicks-alike, as soon as the sun threatens to shine, you can have the compact Cobra out from the shed and at work in mere seconds, without having to untangle the countless Gordian Knots of a power cable or sit around impatiently waiting for a battery to charge as ominous dark clouds amass overhead.
With four height settings from 13 to 38mm and a grass bag included, a quick once-over every now and again will not only leave your garden grass ready to receive both your lounger and all your assorted sun-worshipping, but – as a decidedly welcome side-effect – the undeniable exercise you yourself will receive from pushing the Cobra about all spring will tone you to perfection by the time summer shows its tardy face.
As mentioned earlier, I am the owner of a small garden myself – purposely so, due to me being more inclined to employ a policy of ‘scorched earth’ than carefully nurture the varying verdant areas in the manner they need. To that end, a small lawnmower for my small shed has always been the best choice. But which one would I choose to replace the current grass-cutting incumbent among this sextuplet slick grass cutters? While the price is high, it is well worth it. Bosch Indego XS 300 appeals to the absolute nerd in me, even I have to admit that it’s all a bit too over-the-top for giving such a tiny area of turf a trim. So, for sheer convenience all-round, I’d go for the YardForce G32 – with no power lead to bother with and a bag attached to collect the clippings, it’s the easiest route to getting the garden ready, while still looking/