For most people, a push mower is the standard choice for mowing your average garden, but if you are finding that it takes a long time to get the job done you might be thinking about getting a ride-on to speed things up a bit. For any space larger than 1000m², a riding mower can be a game-changer, and for areas of 2000m² plus, it almost feels essential.
While different mowers will do the job, ride-on machines are less effort, more fun, and often quicker and more efficient than other options. If you’re wanting to cut a space larger than a backyard postage stamp, a riding mower may be just the thing, and there are more benefits than just the size it can handle.
The rest of this article will go into detail about the size of lawn a riding mower is suitable for, what benefits you might gain from selecting a ride-on machine and what to keep in mind when you are making your decision.
Is My Lawn Big Enough for a Riding Mower?
For smaller lawns, of up to 300m², you probably won’t see much improvement in the actual task of keeping the grass short and tidy by opting for a ride-on mower. However, when you are mowing medium to larger spaces, of 500m²-1000m², you may start questioning whether the job could be easier, or more enjoyable, with a riding machine.
Can I Justify Buying a Riding Mower?
Many people end up wondering whether the purchase, and storage, of a riding mower, is worth it when they are not needing to mow a particularly large space, but it is not always just the size that matters. Ride-on machines reduce the effort of mowing, they are more fun to use and can offer much better build quality for your money.
Is a Riding Mower Only Suitable for Large Plots of Land?
You don’t need a vast acreage to make use of a ride-on mower, though the size of the land is often the main reason that people start thinking about them. Even for a 600m² patch of grass, you may find that using a riding machine reduces the time it takes to complete the job by as much as 3 times, which makes a big difference over the years.
Will a Riding Mower Cut the Grass Quicker?
While many push mowers and electric-powered options can move at high speeds, riding mowers are able to cut larger areas in a single run, and move at more consistent speeds over greater distances. For a clean and efficient cut, a riding mower is far more likely to give you neat stripes in fewer trips, with less hassle than the alternative options.
Can Riding Mowers Handle Difficult Terrain?
Even if you don’t have the biggest plot of land, a riding mower may be a better option because of its increased power, the size of its tyres, and its likelihood to survive the odd stick or stone. Smaller machines, particularly push mowers, will struggle to traverse difficult terrain, and can be seriously damaged by small sticks or tough plants that you may be running over.
What Size of Cutting Deck is Better for a Bigger Lawn?
To make sure that the job is done as quickly as possible, and you are not going back and forth for hours, a cutting deck that is suitably wide for your lawn is essential. For small and medium spaces, smaller push mowers with a width of 12-20 inches will manage just fine, but a 36-inch ride-on will speed things up massively for any space of 500m² or more.
Can a Ride-On Mower Handle More Grass?
With a greater surface area to cover, you are also likely to be picking up a lot more grass, particularly if you have patches that are tended to less regularly. Riding mowers generally have more powerful engines, that will keep running without suffering damage through tough or wet grass, and bigger grass catchers if you are trying to keep things neat and tidy.
What are the Downsides of a Riding Mower?
The main downsides of purchasing a riding mower are the high cost, the space required for storage, and the awkwardness of a large turning circle. You are definitely going to be spending more than you would for a traditional push mower, and you will need to think about where you are going to house the machine, but the efficiency and relative ease of use may well make it worthwhile.
Is a Riding Mower Hard to Manoeuvre?
While riding mowers do have the luxury of being able to reverse, and not needing manpower to get them round corners, they can have wide turning circles, and require you to drive over previously cut grass to turn around. You may be more concerned about getting into small spaces and around obstacles on your lawn than getting the job done quickly.
Are Smaller Riding Mowers Available?
If you like the idea of a riding mower but want to be able to get your machine through gates and around pathways, a compact ride-on may be a better option for you. The Mountfield 827M Compact Lawn Rider is a great example of a riding mower with a compact 26-inch cutting width and the ability to manoeuvre tight corners and narrow spaces.
Do I Need a Garden Tractor for My Lawn?
When you are trying to tackle an acre (4000m²) or more, you might be looking at more powerful riding mowers with wider cutting decks. Garden tractors, like the Mountfield 1530M Lawn Tractor, are great options when you need to cut larger areas efficiently, and they will often be more reliable and offer a safer, more comfortable ride over difficult terrain than smaller ride-on options.
Is a Zero-Turn Riding Mower a Good Option for Large Lawns?
Zero-turn machines are also a popular choice for particularly large lawns, with the main benefit being their ability to rotate on the spot, which removes the issue of wide turning circles that most riding mowers have. They can also have very wide cutting decks, of 54 inches or more, that will get bigger jobs done in no time.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.