How a lawn mower called Kurt can save you time and energy
PUBLISHED: 10:35 01 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:42 01 August 2017
If the green, green grass of home is taking up your time and energy, a lively little labourer could well be the solution, Beth Ritchie discovers
Tucked away in a sunny corner of Cookham, Berkshire, we’re watching Kurt go out to do his daily chores. Ambling around the large garden, it’s his job to ensure that the lawn is always lush and spotless, and he takes the task very seriously. Working seven days a week from 7am to 11pm, he doesn’t require an hourly rate, comfort breaks or even access to drinking water.
Kurt is a robotic lawn mower and he has quickly become indispensable to his owner. We’re now deep into mowing season and most of us have grudgingly added lawn mowing to our weekly list of chores. But the new automated trend could spell an end to the strains of having a lovely lawn, and give us more time to enjoy the fleeting British summer.
Already a popular sight around the rest of the Europe, us Brits have been slow on the uptake for these lawn bots which promise to be the answer to all our grass prayers. But thanks to specialist supplier and installers like James Scott, owner of Autolawn, robotic lawnmowers are now available in the UK.
But do they live up to the hype? We spoke to Dennis Orchard, Kurt’s owner and robotic lawn mower convert, who believes that they really do: “Once I started working from home I became more aware of how quickly my lawn grows. Keeping on top of it was distracting me from my work! When I got Kurt all that changed, whenever I look out the window he’s mowing.
“When his battery is running low, he goes back to his charging station before coming out again. I used to return from holidays with dread, knowing that the lawn would need my immediate attention. Now Kurt takes care of all that, it’s a huge weight off my mind.”
Robotic lawn mowers might seem space age, but they are cleverly simple. A guide wire is laid around the edge of the garden and the robot mows everywhere within the wire. This means that however intricate, or full of obstacles your lawn might be, a robotic lawn mower like Kurt can handle it.
“Initially I was concerned whether he’d be able to cope with the size and shape of my hourglass garden. But he exceeded my expectations,” says Dennis. Indeed, the garden is huge, with lots of awkward areas. But Kurt tackles it all with ease.
Peter Simmonds from Marlow was also concerned whether a robotic lawn mower could handle his large, sloping garden. “I had moved from a London town house to a house with a large garden in the Chilterns. I was considering ride on mowers, but I chanced upon robotic lawn mowers and I’m so glad I did. Husky (the name he’s given his mower) has more than delivered. There’s no noise or remembering to cut the lawn when it’s dry, it always looks perfect.”
And part of the reason for this perfection is the robotic lawn mower’s ability to mulch the clippings. The mulch provides the perfect fertiliser to keep the lawn lush and healthy.
But why the name? Naming your mower has become standard practice within the robotic lawn mower community. “You can’t help but develop a rapport with them,” says Dennis, while his dog, Walter, sniff Kurt companionably. “Kurt is part of the family, I’d never go back to a standard mower now.”
How much does it cost?
Autolawn’s robotic mowers for smaller gardens include the Robomow, which comes with full installation kit for just under £500. You can leave it to mow independently for up to an hour and a half. It returns to the charging dock automatically as the battery gets low to ensure it’s ready for the next time you send it on a mission.
Prices then hop up, based on the technology, size and complexity of lawn to be dealt with (perhaps shape and tilts) and some are so quiet they can even be left to mow overnight.
At the very top of the ranges you find models like the latest Husqvarna Automower 450X which can take on very large gardens, rough terrain, steepish slopes and intricate designs. With built-in GPS, you can even control it from a smartphone. Something like this ultimate gardening assistant comes in at £2,775.
Some people carry out the installation themselves, others pay extra to have it all set up.
Autolawn are based in Maidenhead, see autolawn.co.uk, call 01628 781898.
How they work
The battery powered mowers visit their recharging stations in between sessions. They read signals sent through a perimeter wire around the edges of your garden and features such as flower beds and trees. Clippings are finely mulched to provide a rich fertiliser for the lawn. If a mower bumps into people, pets or unexpected items it immediately moves away and carries on with its work. A service is needed every 12 months.