Whether you are trying to simplify your life, decrease yard maintenance costs, or just want a good looking lawn, automated (robotic) lawn mowers are a relatively new consideration for the modern homeowner. The average American will mow their yard more than 30 times a year. On just a quarter acre lot, the time it takes a person to mow, clean, and perform maintenance will add up to a minimum 11 hours per year, but a majority of homeowners will spend much more time than that caring for their yards.¹ For those who can afford the $20-$40 average of a lawn service, the cost adds up to a whopping $600-$1200/year and may not be completed in a convenient or timely manner. Of course, whether you or someone else is mowing your lawn a good homeowner always concerns themselves with the quality of the cut. A good homeowner knows that a yard is a reflection of the pride one takes for their property. The question is: will an automated lawn mower lower the time or costs of yard maintenance without sacrificing the quality?
The typical automated lawn mower cuts a yard daily or even twice daily for up to an hour at a time. Most are designed to turn the short clippings into mulch that lowers the need for cleanup of clippings. Many can take steep hills and sharp turns including navigating around curved edging. They are also designed to be relatively quiet and can even mow at night. Click the link for an example: https://youtu.be/yxM6XgfQUdI?t=1m2s Automated lawn mowers incorporate safety measures that include automatic shut off or object deterrence if something, or someone, comes within the mower’s sensor range. Anti-theft protection is now becoming a common feature of many robotic mowers. Many include passcodes to operate, a GPS locator if stolen, or the device will simply fail to work if outside your yard’s proximity. It seems that the robotic mower engineers have thought of nearly everything. Because of this ease, we have begun to incorporate pre-wire installation in a handful of construction projects in our most recent season.
Cost varies based on the size of the mower model and available features. A low-end robotic mower costs around $600 and requires the purchaser to install, program, and maintain their own unit. For many of these models, such as the Robomow RX12, purchasers claim to have constant issues with their devices that take hours or days to resolve and require many calls to various customer service representatives. More high end automated lawn mowers cost an upwards of $2000-$3250, such as the Husqvarna 430X. However, these units are provided with an expert that comes to your home to set-up and install your new mower. In either case, maintenance on these mowers can cost $50-$100/year for new blades and various parts. The initial cost of owning one of these mowers is equivalent to 2-3 years worth of lawn care services costs, but time will tell whether or not these prove to be worth it to consumers in the long-term.
The only consistent complaint made by automated mower owners is in regards to the edges of their yards. This is due to how these mowers operate. A sensor wire is installed around the outside edge of a yard. The robot detects the wire and knows to not go outside that wire. So in the case of most yards, the mower fails to cut the very outside edge. This leaves most homeowners the responsibility of cutting the grass on the edge of their yards. Other homeowners have avoided buying automated mowers because their yards are broken up into multiple separated grassy areas that would be impossible for a single automated mower to accomplish. A homeowner needs to consider the layout of their yard before purchasing one of these mowers and may need to compromise the layout or design of their yard to accommodate for the automated mower.
Environmental concerns have also be raised, but only positively. In fact, automated lawn mowers have been brought to light as an alternative to using gas powered motors.⁴ Most, if not all, automated lawn mowers utilize and electric motor. They also break down clippings to use as mulch which lowers the need to use plastic trash bags for yard waste and reduces yard waste at landfills and dumps essentially recycling the waste instead. These machines may be a perfect fit for the environmentally conscious homeowner.
Whether you would like update your yard to accommodate an automated mower or would like to design your yard to cut down maintenance time or costs, Coppercreek Landscaping can help you decide what is right for you. Our professionals will work with you to lower the headache and stress of maintaining a beautiful yard without sacrificing quality. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding your landscaping needs.