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Mowing and lawn maintenance when you have sight loss

Mowing is the job of cutting the grass regularly to keep your lawn tidy and healthy. Cutting the grass encourages strong growth and finer grasses for a smooth, even lawn. The average lawn will need 30 cuts a year, but bear in mind that the less you cut your lawn, the slower it will grow. Your lawn will also benefit from some annual or on-going maintenance.


Top tips to make mowing and lawn maintenance easier

  • Many blind or partially sighted gardeners have worked out different ways of mowing their lawn that suit them. Here’s one way to mow a smaller lawn with a path down the long side:
    • Place an RNIB sound beacon at one side of the lawn, opposite the path.  Starting from the path, mow towards the sound beacon. 
    • Move the beacon 30cm (a foot) to the left then pull the mower back to the path. Move the mower 30cms to the left, and mow towards the beacon again. 
    • Repeat this until you have finished the width of the lawn. You can work in the same way down the length of the lawn.
  • You can manage a lawn more easily if it is rectangular, with a path on one side which is set slightly below the level of the lawn. A straight edged lawn is far easier to manage, and you can use the path as an edge to mow from. Lawns cut level with the path are easier to mow and try to plan the direction of mowing to avoid unnecessary turning, reversing or overlapping.
  • If you have a close-cropped lawn it will need more frequent mowing. A longer 1-inch cut shouldn’t need mowing more than once a week in summer. Hard-wearing, slow-growing grass varieties are best if you are sowing a new lawn.
  • Clover, daisies and other ‘weeds’ will keep your lawn greener in dry weather and leaving them in place will mean that you don’t have to spend time weeding. 
  • If you can’t cope with mowing the whole lawn, mow pathways, and leave the rest of the grass longer. Or perhaps consider reducing the size of your lawn.
  • If you find the upkeep of your lawn difficult, consider replacing it with an area of paving, or other hard surface.
  • Aerating, scarifying and sweeping, can be made easier by using a right-angle guide to mark out the area where you’re working. These are home made guides that can be laid on the ground and pegged to give you a set area to work in. Find out more about how to make your own right-angle guide
  • You might want to consider employing a specialist company to carry out seasonal lawn maintenance. They use machinery to weed, feed, aerate and scarify your lawn. This can be a cost effective solution as it will save you the expense of buying specialist equipment that you will only use once or twice a year.


Taking care

  • Using a mower can put a strain on the back, legs and arms. Mow a stretch at a time, and don’t over do it. Always ‘warm up’ with a few gentle stretches and only work for short periods, to avoid strain.
  • Modern electric mowers need two-handed control and a constant grip, which can strain the hands. Emptying the grass box, raking, spiking and feeding the lawn are extra jobs that can strain the back and arms. Do a little at a time and take regular breaks. 
  • If you can only walk slowly, avoid a power-driven mower unless it has reliable speed control.
  • All electrical equipment should always be fitted with a residual circuit breaker. 


Equipment and tools 

  • Edging the lawn
    Use one-handed shears for trimming your lawn edges.  They can be set to a vertical angle to cut the outer edge.
  • A manual ‘push’ mower is easier to manage, especially for a small lawn. Battery models can be useful as there is no cable to worry about.
  • If you use an electric mower, have one that you push, rather than one that is self-propelled. Keep the cable over your shoulder and always use a circuit-breaker. Try out any mower before you buy.
  • Rake the lawn to clear leaves and cuttings using a light leaf rake. Scarifying is raking the lawn hard to remove old matter that can choke the grass.


Adjustable shears  

Adjustable shears

The comfortable padded grip makes these quality shears easy to use with one hand.

Find out more about Adjustable shears


Automatic lawnmower  

Automatic lawnmower

This battery-powered rotary mower works on its own, cutting your lawn and mulching the cuttings. The set-up on the lawn includes pegging a thin wire around the perimeter to guide the mower.

Find out more about automatic lawnmower


Light hover mower  

Light hover mower

This is the lightest hover mower currently available. It has swing-back plastic safety blades and two cutting heights.

Find out more about light hover mower


Cordless battery powered rotary mower  

Cordless battery powered rotary mower

This mower incorporates the latest battery technology to give a cordless rechargeable mower that is light and easy to use.

Find out more about cordless battery powered rotary mower