Get to know your lawn and garden well, all the way down to the finest details, such as grass density, which determines your mower's blade size and rotation. But pay attention to the big picture, too. For example, look into your neighborhood's zoning laws. Sometimes, there are restrictions on noise or specific engine types.
Consider how large your lawn is. If it's too expansive and you just can't cover that much ground on foot, walk-behind lawn mowers won't work well. On the other hand, riding mowers can be too beefy to maneuver effectively on a small plot. They can also be too clunky if there are obstacles in the way like flower beds, trees or a jungle gym. You'll also want to assess your yard's terrain, too. Are there slopes and steep grades? Evaluate whether you're physically able to push a lawn mower up hills and grip it on descents. Also, think about the skills it takes to maneuver a big riding mower on this kind of difficult terrain and remember there's a danger of tipping every time you use a riding lawn mower on a hill. If you've got serious slopes and a big yard, many experts recommend using a push-behind mower for the hills and a riding lawn mower for the grassy, flatter expanses.
And finally, take your lifestyle into consideration. It may not be worth buying a lawn mower if you're moving in six months to Tucson, Ariz., where your yard will be landscaped with rocks instead of grass. Perhaps you travel a lot for business and aren't around to care for your lawn as much as it needs. In cases like this, you may want to consider hiring a professional lawn care service company.
But if you've thought about your needs and are ready to purchase a lawn mower, go to the next page to discover different kinds of walk-behind mowers and which ones can best help you keep your lawn healthy and beautiful.