Can you cut your lawn with a strimmer instead of a lawn mower? This is a question that often comes up when people move into a place with a lawn for the first time. If your garden is small and storage space in short supply, you may be wondering the same thing. Strimmers take up less space, are cheaper and may seem easier to handle and maintain than a full-sized lawnmower. But can they do the job just as well? What factors need to be considered when deciding whether to invest in a proper lawnmower or settle for a strimmer instead?
What are strimmers, anyway?
A strimmer, also called a “string trimmer”, a “line trimmer” or a “weed whip” is a very simple device made out of a metal pole fitted with an engine in one end and a spool of nylon cord (similar to a fishing line) on the other end, used instead of a blade to cut the grass. As the name implies, this is not a tool designed to mow large stretches of grass, but rather to trip the edges of the lawn or cut down patches of stubborn weeds.
Cutting your lawn with a strimmer
As strimmers were not designed for the job of mowing large chunks of lawn, they have some obvious disadvantages in that department. For one, strimmers don’t afford as much control over the result. Remember that they are also called “weed whips”. When cutting down weeds, it’s fine to cut out as much of the plant as possible. In fact, that’s probably what you want to do. But when cutting your lawn, you don’t want to damage it. If your lawn is very overgrown, you may be able to get away with cutting it without hurting it too much, but if it’s a new lawn, you’re likely to get a very patchy, unattractive result. Either way, don’t expect even results without a lawnmower. Some experts claim that strimming can actually damage grass leaves, making your lawn unhealthy. While this is not really a problem if you’re using the tool to create borders and edges, when coming to use it on your entire lawn it can be a serious issue.
Strimmers will throw up mowings (grass cuttings) that will need to be raked and collected or else they may create problems for your lawn. Raking the grass may actually make your lawn look even worse than before you cut it.
Another problem encountered while using a strimmer is potential damage to other plants, as well as trees and shrubs. Avoid getting the strimmer too close to trees, even when trimming the edges of your lawn. It can be hard to control the cutting cord or see exactly how far or where it’s going.
And of course, while a strimmer is light and compact, many of the cheaper ones come with an electric cord that can easily get in your way. A cordless strimmer is a far better choice.
The advantages of using a lawnmower
Lawnmowers are specifically designed to cut large areas of grass. Types vary (cylinder, rotary, petrol, etc.) and each is suited for a particular frequency of use, terrain, amount of obstacles, etc. You can find out more about different types of lawnmowers at Lawn Mower Lane, which also offers some useful reviews. While more expensive to buy and maintain, they are certainly worth the investment if you have a larger garden or want an even lawn with minimum raking, sweeping or mess. Unlike strimmers, though, they do require ample storage space in the garden and, as they are likely to be a target for thieves, you will also need to invest in a quality garden or similar with proper security.
While a strimmer may appear to be a good way of saving money and simplifying lawn care. It’s really no substitute for a proper lawnmower if you are serious about maintaining your lawn. Strimmers are more likely to damage the grass, as well as surrounding plants and require much sweeping and raking to get cuttings off the freshly cut lawn. If you can afford the price and storage space required, a lawnmower will give you far superior results. If you can’t, a strimmer will have to do, but don’t expect a manicured lawn or even a particularly even one.