A lawnmower on a healthy green lawn
Regular lawn mowing is a good workout, getting you outdoors and keeping your garden tidy. The right equipment and technique can help make it less effort.

Helpful Information

Timing: Spring, summer, autumn

Where to do it: Outdoors

Garden space: Small garden, large garden

  • Regular physical activity. The Department of Health recommends adults do 150 minutes of light aerobic exercise a week. Cutting the grass can help you meet your daily quota
  • Grass clippings can go into your compost bin. This allows you to appreciate the cycle of growth and decay that takes place in the natural world
  • Mowing the lawn can be an easy way to make your garden space look tended to. A tidy well mown lawn can contrast nicely with beds bursting full of flowers

Essential items

  • Lawn mower or grass cutting tool (see below for advice on different types)
  • Closed toe shoes

Optional items

  • Gardening gloves
  • Compost bin / pile
  • Ear defenders (if using a petrol lawn mower)
  • Goggles / eye protection (if using a strimmer)

Tools to make it easier

  • Grass strimmer wheel attachment
  • FreeWheel wheelchair attachment
  • Grass stabilisation grid
  • Sound beacon

One of the most important ways to make cutting the grass easier is to choose the lawn mower or tool that is right for you. It is worth taking time on this, as it’s a major item in your tool kit.

It is possible to cut the grass without a lawn mower if you have a very small lawn. See below for options.

Grass strimmers or long-handled lawn shears

A grass strimmer is used to cut the grass
A grass strimmer is used to cut the grass

Suits: small lawns. A lawn mower is generally easier for medium or large lawns.


  • Lighter than a lawn mower
  • Smaller and easier to store than a lawn mower
  • Some models can be used sitting down


  • Takes longer than using a lawn mower
  • May take some practice to develop your technique. A grass strimmer wheel attachment can help you get an even height of cut.
  • You need to change the spool line on most models. This can be very fiddly. Models using plastic blades and not string are available
  • You will need to pick up grass clippings after (you could just leave them to rot into the lawn)

Search for grass strimmers online

Your tip

“I recommend a battery operated grass cutter – you can sit and do small patches at a time. Mum loved using this.” – survey respondent, gardening and dementia

Electric lawn mowers

Suits: small, medium or large lawns


  • Usually produce a satisfactory result
  • You can find lightweight battery powered mowers, if you want to avoid plugging into the mains and a trailing wire
  • Wheeled models are helpful if you have any difficulty walking, bending or with grip
  • Hover style mowers are light to push. They do need to be carried into place, though


  • Keeping the power cord away from the blades with mains powered electric mowers is extremely important
  • Can be hard to keep at a suitable pace if you walk slowly, unless it has reliable speed control.

Search for electric lawn mowers online

Top tip

With most electric lawn mowers, you have to press and hold in a safety button before you start the mower with a lever. On many models this can only be done using two hands at once. Try out the controls before you buy.

Hand push lawn mowers

A hand push lawn mower is used to cut the grass
A hand push lawn mower is used to cut the grass

Suits: small or medium lawns


  • Better for the environment than petrol or electric
  • Don’t cost anything to run (apart from the odd change of blade)
  • Much quieter than petrol mowers
  • Take up less storage space than other lawn mower model


  • Harder to push around than some electric mowers
  • Might be too much physical effort for anyone with larger lawn spaces

Search for hand push lawn mowers online

Robot lawn mowers

A robot lawn mower going across a green lawn
A robot lawn mower going across a green lawn

Suits: small or medium lawns


  • They do the work for you! Good if mowing the lawn present a real physical challenge
  • The technology has improved considerably, and they are now capable of producing a decent all over mow
  • They cut little and often, so the cut grass stays on your lawn as mulch – no bending and clearing required.


  • Expensive, although the cost has come down a little in recent years
  • If something breaks, you'll probably need to send it back to the manufacturer to be repaired
  • Slow and steady, with many models not coping well with bumpy terrain that has obstacles

Search for robot lawn mowers online

Petrol lawn mowers

Suits: Medium or large lawns


  • Satisfying to use, as they produce nice lines as you work


  • Not very practical for home use!
  • Heavy, so not ideal if you don’t have much strength or are unsteady on your feet
  • You will need storage space for the mower and the petrol that fuels it
  • They are loud. It is worth wearing ear defenders if you use a petrol lawn mower

Search for petrol lawn mowers online

Ride on lawn mowers

A person using a ride on lawn mower
A person using a ride on lawn mower

Suits: large lawns


  • No pushing required, making them a good solution for larger lawns


  • Big and expensive
  • Need a lot of storage space
  • Not suitable for smaller lawn spaces

Search for ride on lawn mowers online

Top tip

Always wear closed toe shoes when mowing the lawn. Think through the safety features before starting. Pay close attention to what you are doing and what is around you while the mower is in use.

freshly cut lawn with border at the back
A freshly cut lawn

In some ways, mowing a lawn is quite intuitive. If you walk your lawn mower up and down the lawn, you will be able to achieve a decent mow.

There are some things to think about that can help achieve a lovely finish, or make mowing the lawn easier to do.

Top tip

Many gardeners choose to edge their lawn the same day they mow to create a neat, tidy appearance.

It makes it easier if you edge the lawn first. Then, when you mow the lawn, the mower will pick up edging cuttings at the same time. Read our guide to edging for more advice.

Before thinking about mowing, it’s worth thinking about your lawn space. Is it a size and shape you can comfortably manage? If not, you may want to reduce the quantity of lawn in your garden, or at least make the shape simple. A rectangular lawn with a path down one side is the most straightforward to maintain.

Think about any obstacles and large hazards in the way, such as a large stones or benches. If these cannot easily be moved out the way before mowing you will need to go around them, which can make it harder.

Make it easier

  • You could replace lawn areas with paving, anti-slip decking, gravel or a combination
  • If you do have an area of lawn, a simple lawn shape with straight edges is much easier to mow around. Round flower beds in the middle of lawns or sharp curves make mowing complicated
  • If you use a wheelchair, a stabilisation grid with grass growing up between it can make a lawn easier. It is quite costly, but, if you love a lawn it’s a worthwhile investment. This ensures a firmer ground for wheels and makes cutting simpler. Read our guide to wheelchair friendly garden design for more advice

How often to mow

a lawn and edges left to grow wild through May
A wild lawn and edge

There is no right or wrong answer for how often to mow. It will depend how neat or long you like your grass to be (see below).

Starting in early spring when the grass gets long again, you may want to mow once a week. This can continue all the way into late autumn. You could reduce this to mowing twice over the whole summer. This will help create a lawn that produces flowers and is inhabitable by wildlife.

Don’t mow the lawn in wet weather or frost. This will clog up blades, compact the soil and cause damage to both your mower and lawn. It’s best to be a fair-weather mower.

Make it easier

Mowing less often reduces the effort required as well as helping nature. It has become popular among some gardeners to do ‘no mow May’. This simply involves not mowing the lawn for the whole of May, with the idea that wildlife can thrive.

Grass height

Most lawn mowers allow you to adjust the height of the blades. This means you can choose to cut the grass longer or shorter.

Generally, this is a question of personal taste. If you are a wheelchair user, avoid leaving the lawn long as this will inhibit moving over it.

The first time you mow the lawn in spring, it is recommended to set the blades as high as possible so the grass stays quite long. This is better for its health as it recovers after winter.

It is also a good idea to leave the grass longer during the hot, summer months. This will give it a better chance of not dying and going brown in the heat.

Top tip

Even if your lawn goes a yellowy brown in high summer, don't worry. It will likely return to a familiar green after a couple of weeks of good rain.

Get mowing

When mowing, the goal is to have evenly gone across every part of the lawn.

Make it easier

Mowing can be quite a physical job. There are a number of ways you can make it easier to do.

Save energy
Plan your mowing route to avoid unnecessary turning, reversing or overlapping. These movements create extra effort.

If you can’t cope with mowing the whole lawn, you could mow pathways instead and leave the rest of the grass longer. Be aware if you do this, you should still do a complete cut in autumn. This will be quite a big job as the grass will have grown so long – you may want to get help for this.
Reduce strain
Using a mower can put a strain on the back, legs and arms. Mow a stretch at a time, and don’t overdo it. Always ‘warm up’ with a few gentle stretches and only work for short periods, to avoid strain.
Mowing with sight loss
If you a blind or partially sighted, this technique can work for a smaller lawn with a path on the long side.

Place a sound beacon at one side of the lawn, opposite the path. Starting from the path, mow towards the sound beacon. Move the beacon around 30cm (a foot) to the left then pull the mower back to the path. Move the mower 30cms to the left, and mow towards the beacon again. Repeat until you have finished the width of the lawn. You can work in the same way down the length of the lawn.

Collecting grass cuttings

A wooden compost bin with grass cuttings and other material
A wooden compost bin with grass cuttings and other material

If your lawn mower has a bag or catcher at the back, you will need to empty it a number of times during each mow.

Place grass cuttings can on your compost pile if you have them. These are a great form of ‘green’ material. Read our guide to making compost at home for more information. You can also put them in the garden waste bin if you don’t have a compost pile.

If you are not using a grass catcher, or are using lawn shears or a strimmer, you must decide what to do with the cut grass. You could pick up the grass later using long-handled leaf grabbers. Or, leave it on the lawn where it will act as a mulch.

Make it easier

If your lawn has a bag or catcher, you can choose to take it off and mow without it. This makes the lawn mower easier to move, but may mean you get cut grass flying back at you when you mow.

If you are using a grass catcher, take your mower to your compost pile before emptying it. This saves carrying a heavy catcher across the garden.

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As well as mowing, your lawn will benefit from some other maintenance activities each year, such as feeding.

Read our guide to lawn care for advice on all the activities that add up to a healthy, green lawn.

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