A Cut Above
Some people dream of being able to eat whatever they want without gaining weight. Others hope for world peace. All I want is the perfect lawnmower.
MY PARENTS RUN A SMALL landscaping company in Connecticut, which means that growing up, I was a ready source of cheap mowing labor. It was fun—until I moved to an apartment, got a desk job, and fell out of practice. Now I have a lawn of my own, plus 10 years and 20 extra pounds under my belt. To get me through the chore of yard work, I need beaucoup bells and whistles. Unfortunately, you can’t buy the dream mower that I’ve concocted here—but many of its features can be found on the models on the pages that follow.
With garage space always at a premium, a collapsible mower means more room for, um, lemonade (see the keg under the handle).
I may be lazy, but I have a conscience. Bypassing gas is better for the environment.
TRIMMER OF DEATH
If James Bond were into lawncare, this attachment would intimidate the bad guys while getting into tight corners.
This feature, which I’d deem Extend-O-Mower (patent pending), would make short work of those long straightaways.
This could allow my 10-year-old nephew to mow my lawn!
Power tools and drinking don’t mix, which is why I’d fill this with ice-cold lemonade.
The ergonomic design promotes wrist-friendly pushing.
Because heavy machinery and heat stroke are a lethal combination.
Errant cords give me more trouble than sharp objects.
This would keep everything in its place.
1. TORO SR4 SUPER RECYCLER 20092
Thanks to new, ultra-reliable Briggs & Stratton engines, Toro’s Super Recycler line is guaranteed to start on the first pull. And once you’ve got it moving, it’s easy to keep it that way with a self-propelled drive system that adjusts to your most-comfortable walking pace. Meanwhile, Toro has introduced a novel blade shape that greatly improves its mulching ability—hence the name “Super Recycler”—eliminating the need for a bag. (As an added perk, the dealer will sharpen the blade free of charge for five years.) $530, Milton Village Hardware, 54 Adams St., Milton, 617-696-8808, miltonvillagehardware.com.
2. NEUTON BATTERY-POWERED MOWER
According to the EPA, operating a mower for an hour emits as much air pollution as driving 100 miles. (Try multiplying that by 30 million mowers in the U.S.) The Neuton battery-powered mower, made by a Vermont-based company, is an eco-friendly solution to the problem. There’s enough juice in the new whisper-quiet 19-inch model to last up to an hour—long enough to mow 14,000 square feet, which is more than adequate for most area lawns—and maintenance consists of simply keeping the blade sharp. You can get a weed-whacker attachment for less than the cost of a gas-powered one. $499, Needham Garden Center, 53R Chestnut St., Needham, 781-444-2401, needham gardencenter.com.
3. LAWN-BOY INSIGHT PLATINUM 10797
Lawn-Boy’s engineers are the Bill Belichicks of lawn care. Not long ago, with an eye toward improving mower ergonomics, they studied tapes of hundreds of homeowners toiling in their yards. The result of all that research is a machine that may minimize day-after aches and pains. Simply twist a knob to raise and lower the handle (31 percent of users experience sore backs), which itself is swaddled in comfortable foam grips (9 percent get sore hands). Like the Toro, this mower is self-propelled—for the 14 percent of us with sore legs. $669, Milton Village Hardware, 54 Adams St., Milton, 617-696-8808,
4. LAWNBOTT LB3500
The LawnBott robotic mower may become your favorite appliance. The
beagle-sized device (straight out of The Jetsons) automatically mows several times a week, navigating hills (of 27 degrees or less), and avoiding landscaping and the family pet. If you touch it, the blade shuts off; if someone tries to steal it, a piercing alarm sounds. The newest model is programmable with Bluetooth-enabled phones and PDAs, or you can also switch off the autopilot and steer it with your phone keypad—the best conversation-starter I can think of. Laziness doesn’t come cheap, but if your kid refuses to mow (even for money) and you’re compulsive about grass length, then the LawnBott may become the son or daughter you never had. $3,249, Mow and Go Robotics,