Mow hate? Let the robot do it

Raise your hand when you enjoy mowing your lawn.

You can’t see me but I don’t raise my hand

I don’t have a particularly large garden, but mowing the grass is not something I look forward to, although I love looking at a freshly mown lawn.

I’ve heard of lawn mowers, but until last week I had never seen one in action.

I was asked if I would like to try the Husqvarna Automower in my house. However, I am a renter and the Automower requires that perimeter wires be laid around your yard. We got our share of flower beds, trees, patio furniture and a deck so the cable installation was a little more than I wanted. And in all honesty, I wasn’t sure how the Automower worked, so I asked if there was a place on site that I could see one in action.

Husqvarna made arrangements for me to visit a lovely house in Southlake that had several models of Automower in operation. My guide was Garrett Baker who is the robotics installation and training manager in Husqvarna.

Husqvarna has a variety of automobiles priced between $ 1,199 and $ 4,799. I focused on the $ 1,799 Automower 315X, which is designed for shipyards up to 4 acres.

How does it work?

The first thing I had to do was clear all of my expectations.

I thought the Automower would work like my robotic vacuum cleaner that cleans the perimeter of my rooms and then goes back and forth until the entire room is cleaned.

Like a robotic vacuum cleaner, the Automower is designed to run frequently. Instead of mowing once a week, it is designed to mow a lot more often – even every day.

When the mower leaves the base, it will shoot in one direction and mow until it reaches an obstacle such as a tree, causing it to stop and take off in another direction. If it runs to the boundary wire, it will also stop and take off in a different direction.

If you sit there and watch it mow you will go insane.

The mowing has no pattern. It is not mowed back and forth. There will be no stripes in the yard. The grass just looks freshly mown all the time.

Automower also run silently.

I’m not joking. You can be three feet away and hear nothing. I had to ask if the mower was cutting as it rolled – it’s so quiet.

The 315X has LED headlights, but just for you to see where it is. The mower itself does not need any lights.

The Husqvarna Automower 315X in its charging station.(Jim Rossman)

Double-edged blades

The automowers cut with three very small double-edged razor blades that are designed to remove just a little bit of the top of the grass. These tiny cutouts are invisible when they perch in the lawn.

You can use it to cut longer grass, but it will take longer and leave visible waste.

The blades can be easily swapped out with just a screwdriver, and replacements cost $ 25 per set. The knives are double-edged and the mower reverses the direction of rotation every other trip, so you have twice as long a service life with one set of knives.

The blades are located between two metal discs under the mower and are only exposed when the discs are rotating. If the mower encounters an obstacle, it will stop rotating and the blades will retract into the discs.

The 315X also has GPS (not all models) so it knows which parts of your lawn have been mowed. The GPS can also help you find the mower in case it is ever stolen.

Live outside

Automower are designed to live outside during the mowing season. Getting wet doesn’t hurt, although you might want to change the schedule so that it doesn’t mow on rainy days or days when you water the lawn.

The mower charges from a base station located near an electrical outlet in your garden. The mower must be able to return to base when the battery is low and when it stops mowing.

The 315X’s battery can mow for 70 minutes before returning to the base for 60 minutes to charge. It is then removed again to continue mowing.

The base station is also the beginning and the end of the perimeter wire.

The Husqvarna app uses the mower's GPS to show you the area that the mower has already cut.The Husqvarna app uses the mower’s GPS to show you the area that the mower has already cut.(Jim Rossman)

You can run the wire yourself, but after seeing what’s going on in a garden with flowerbeds and trees to mow and sidewalks and driveways to cross, I would probably reach out to a Husqvarna dealer for a professional installation. Installation starts at $ 500, but the price will vary depending on the size and complexity of your yard.

The idea is to leave the mower to work unattended. If you haven’t wired the yard properly, you will have areas of the yard that won’t be mowed or spots that the mower will get stuck and you have to fix those issues.

You can lay the wires on your lawn (held in place by stakes), or you can have the wire buried a few inches deep.

The dealers have a special machine that can bury the wires pretty quickly without messing your garden.

Once the base is in place and the cord is in place, you can charge the mower and set the mowing plan, which you run through an app on your phone.

Mowing style

If your grass is really long, you may want to mow it one last time with your old mower so the Automower can start a short lawn, but you don’t have to.

First you need to give the Automower a few days to get the yard into shape.

Setting mowing times in the app is as easy as making an appointment in your calendar.

Baker said he likes to give the mower enough time to do its job and run it every day except days when the lawn is watered.

You need to consider charging time when setting the daily schedule. Twelve hours of mowing results in only about six hours of mowing and six hours of charging. Baker says many people have set the mower to run overnight.

The idea is for the mower to keep mowing during the scheduled time window and eventually the grass will all be cut.

I asked Baker how the mower knew it was ready and he told me it was never ready. That’s the great thing about an Automower: It doesn’t matter if you mow your lawn every day or every other day. You have to give it enough time to do its job and you will be rewarded with weed that will never be long again. If the Automower is set up correctly, your garden will never look shaggy.

Husqvarna has a wide variety of automobiles including the professional model 535 AWD with all-wheel drive.Husqvarna has a wide variety of automobiles including the professional model 535 AWD with all-wheel drive.(Jim Rossman)

I should talk a little about different court situations.

The demo lawn in Southlake (thanks to homeowner Ross Melbourne for allowing me to see his mowers in action) is a very large garden. You enter through a gate on the street and the whole yard is fenced off. The Automower have the run of the place.

My garden is a normal urban residential lot with a wooden fence that separates the front and back yards. An installation in my house would put the base in the back yard, so I would have to create an opening in my fence or keep the gate open so the mower can go from the back yard to the front yard. That’s not ideal.

The Automower are some of the nicest devices I’ve seen in a long time. I would love to have one one day if I own a house.

I could write a lot more about these mowers, but I wanted to explain the basics. If the topic piques your interest, be sure to visit Husqvarna’s website or watch a few videos on YouTube.

We don’t have flying cars yet, but we do have cool robotic lawnmowers.

Advantages: A constantly cared for lawn without effort.

Cons: Expensive.

Bottom line: I hope one day we’ll all have robotic mowers.

Comments are closed.