Lawnmower Design and Use

heardy20October 16, 2013

Hi all

I am currently a student at Loughborough University in my final year of industrial design and technology. As part of the course we have to investigate and redesign a product.

I have chossen to look into the lawnmower specifically aimed towards an ageing population but am interested in any keen gardeners thoughts and feedback to do with grass cutting as aprt of my research.

How do you prefer to cut your lawn...?

What mower do you use....?

What do you do with the grass cuttings (compost, bin, etc)?

How and where do you store your mower.....?

How often do you cut your lawn....?

Any thing that fustrates you about current lawnmowers/anything you would change...?

Look forward to hearing any feedback or insights you have on the issue.

will be greatly appreciated.

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Lightness of the mower is the key element for me, as I have to drag the walk-behind up steps and hills.

Smooth discharge and fanning out of the clippings, so no clumping is also important.

Easy to use self-propelled system.

So far, in 50 years of mowing, I find the older LawnBoy 2-cycle models work best for me.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 11:48AM
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I truely hope your for real about this but even if your not, nice work on getting me to waste my phone battery!

I'm not old, 31, so I hope my contribution is useable.

I cut my lawn in jeans with either a t-shirt when warmer/early season and add a hooded sweatshirt (50/50 ratio of pull over to zip up) when it's cooler/later in the season. A belt is also in use during and I like to wear my dark tinted stihl shades/eye protection too.

To what I think your really looking for. I cut in rows that are parallel to my street, following the bends of the closest piece of concrete. This is side to side across the front off my home. The back and side yards are also cut in a manner which I feel is the most efficient/uses the least amount of strokes.

I currently squire a Honda HRX217HXA across the lawn and employed a Honda HRT216TDA prior.

I mulch my grass for a couple reasons and this is also why replaced my perfect HRT (5.5hp) with the HRX (6.5hp). My lawn is quite healthy as I use a company to apply federalizer/herbacide/etc as they recommend for my locale. Couple a healthy well fed lawn with a job that requies more hours than most, STL's randomly occurring and widely varied climate/weather, a wife, two pugs and most importantly, my 3yr old daughter and 5m old son, sometimes the grass don't get cut every week as I'd like. I have been forced to mow my 16" fescue/bluegrass at 8am Sunday morning after a solid 36+ hours of rainfall. I needed a mower that could mulch this and leave minimal residuals (green sludge trails). The HRX handily performs these duties and much more.

I don't compost my clippings because a)that'd require me to bag, silly b)my lawn is getting herbicide applied and I want nothing to do with potentially dealing with residual product compromising my gardens tomato yield c) mulching is free food for my lawn and thatch, at least with my variety of grasses is not present.

I store it I'm my garage. My fuel is treated with a stabilizer that is ethanol blended gasoline specific. My mower has a fuel shutoff valve so I close urbane run the mower till it dies every cutting. I then completely fill the gas, then blow it off with my backpack blower before parking till next week.

In preperation of the off season, I put about 1/4 tank of my already stabilized fuel but also add an additional pour of stabilizer to the gas in the gas tank. I then run the mower completely out of fuel. Next is an Oil change which to this point has been with Rotalla 5-30 but I may switch to either Mobil 1 synthetic (what my cars get) or Amsoil. After that I pull the plug off and pull the cord till the engine is at TDC (piston closest to the top) and pour a bit oil in the combustion chamber. Lastly I re install the plug then cover old girl with a tarp till spring beckons.

The only two things that I would change about my mower is the weight and the fuel consumption. Both of which are more than acceptable to me as unavoidable occurrences on a machine like mine and are not complaints in any way at all. Who wouldn't want their 101lb mower to be 75 or for it to use even less fuel? No one. It is not the least bit cumbersome for me to use as I have learned how to finesse it and allow its heft to work in my favor also I'm not the biggest dude but at 6'1" and 190 I'm no fly weight either. Just to recap here, I honestly feel Honda did all that was possible to them to keep my mower as light as possible but not lessen its durability. It has quite a few features all accessible standing upright without having to fully extend an arm from the handle like a throttle control lever that facilitates ideling to full throttle to choke/a 5mph-4mph self propulsion speed control lever, self propel engagement/disengagement bail and a blade brake control (roto-stop) bail. There's no way I can fathom a more intuitive, easily manipulates or long lasting control set up than what they have devised.

If I missed anything or there's any other specifics that would help just let me know.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 10:51PM
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Our mower is a YardMan rotary with a mulching blade. There is no blade brake, however the engine control is set up so that if you let go of the handle, the engine shuts off. Engine speed is pre-set at the factory, and controlled by a governor mechanism. This mower is easy to start. It has a flexible polymer primer button, and an electronic magneto. After priming, it usually starts on the first pull. I keep the wheels adjusted to the high setting, so the grass is about 3 inches tall. Our lawn is maintained without using herbicide or pesticide. Weeds are removed by hand.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 1:40AM
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Thank you for all your comments!

You have provided me with some valuable insights which i hope will inform the design process. If you have any further thoughts on how lawn mowers could be improved for you as a user don't hesitate to post.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 4:04PM
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