If you have a larger lawn then more than likely you will be considering a ride on lawn mower to cut the grass. There are many types out there ranging from a £1000/$1000 upto many thousands.
But what are the key things you should consider before you go out and make one of the largest purchases you may make for your garden?
1. Lawn size is a key consideration - a larger lawn (above 0.5 acre) will probably mean looking for something with a decent mowing width so that you can get up and down quickly. This could mean something with a cutting width of 42 inch or above.
For a smaller lawn below 0.5 acre, then a mowing width below 40 inch should be fine, and they also tend to be smaller mowers with good turning circles so that you can maneouvre round smaller gardens.
Having a big mower in small garden may look impressive but it may not be practical.
2. Reliability - this is down to the quality of the manufacturer and also the engine they use in their mower. Briggs & Stratton are the standard for many and tend to be a good price. For those willing to pay a few hundred more then Honda is considered to be the best.
3. Grass catcher or not? Some of the cheaper mowers do not have an integrated grass catcher and will use a side chute to spray grass back onto the lawn as you mow it. You will then need to go back and sweep manually or buy a lawn sweeper to tow behind the mower (towing comes up next). Many mowers have a rear grass catcher of varying sizes - too small and you will be emptying it too much. Other makes have an integrated grass catcher beneath the seat - useful if you also wish to tow something else behind the mower at the same time.
4. Ability to tow attachments. Not all mowers can tow as they do not have a tower capability - which can seriously restrict what you can use your mower for. Attachments such as rollers, lawn sweepers, dethatchers and aerators are all useful and can make life much easier.
5. Mulching capability. Some mowers have a mulching blade and plug allowing you to mulch grass - that is to cut grass more finely and spray it back onto the grass as you pass over it. Some see this as a good way of feeding the lawn with grass cuttings.
6. Local support and servicing. Can you choice be locally serviced or repaired? If not they you may have to pay a large sum to ship it further afield.
7. Price. As always you can always get a good price on the internet but also consider asking local shops if they can price match. You may also find many operate an internet arm under a different name.
These are just some of the things to consider. If you can get out to a store and take a look, things can look very different in the flesh.