7 Garden Design Tips For Robot Mowers

Garden design tips

We are often asked to carry out a lawn survey for a robot lawn mower in a newly landscaped garden.

Quite often there are challenges which, with a bit of prior planning, could have been avoided and made for an easier or more efficient robot lawn mower installation.

If you are planning a new garden or landscaping an existing garden then get in touch and we can help you plan it so it is robot lawn mower friendly.  It will save you time and money in the long run as well as minimising the maintenance once the mower is installed.

1. Think about power for the robot mower?

Nearly every robot lawn mower needs a base station so that it can recharge itself (have a look at our L60 for one that doesn’t).

So have a think about where you want the base station to be and make sure you install a power source nearby.

An external socket which has a lid that closes over the plug and makes it watertight is what you need.

We would normally say to put the base station in the biggest area and remember that you will need a straight path into the base to guide the robot mower in (2m for Ambrogio range of mowers).  Also remember that the mower will need a level base.

Ambrogio 4.0 base station

2. Beware of driveways

Beware of driveways

We are often asked about whether a robot mower can cross a driveway.  The real question is whether you really want your mower to cross a driveway – in a battle of car versus mower, there can only be one winner.

Even if you are aware that the robot mower could be there then you may forget late at night when it is dark  and there may be other users who don’t know you have a robot mower.

If you are planning lawns separated by a driveway, think about planning another way the robot mower could get to the other lawn without crossing the driveway e.g. create a passage.

3. Plan passages

If you are planning lawns separated by a wall, flowerbed etc. then consider how the robot mower could get from one area to the other.

Most robot mowers need a passageway of about 1m width in move from area to area.  Installation will involve laying the perimeter wire running in 2 directions.  For Ambrogio robot lawn mowers, we place the perimeter wire 35 cms from each edge of the passageway i.e. 30 cms between the wires.

Some people say that they have a gate that the robot mower could go through but, unless you want to keep the gate open all the time or open it every time the mower needs to go through it, it’s not a good solution.

If you plan your passageway, it’ll make things easier.

Bridge between lawns

4. Think about paths

Front Walled garden ready for a robot mower

Paths can be a problem for a robot mower.

  • If the surface is loose e.g. shingle, then the mower can get stuck. 
  • If the path is at a different height to the lawn then the mower may not be able to get over it.
  • If the foundations are deep then it may not be possible to get the perimeter wire across it.

Although these problems are not insurmountable,  if you think about how the mower will get across the path in advance and maybe put pipes underneath to allow the perimeter wire to go under the path then you will make your life easier.

5. Dealing with slopes

Most robot mowers say they can cope with slopes up to 45% (24°) but be wary!

Our Ambrogio QUAD can cope with slopes up to 75% but that is very unusual.

Read the small print and you’ll probably find that the maximum  slope is in ‘optimum conditions’ i.e. when it is not slippery and not on the edge of the lawn where the perimeter wire is. 

If you have planned a steep slope, then maybe you can introduce another way around the slope that the mower can handle and then have the upper and lower sections of the garden as 2 separate areas.

Ambrogio QUAD robot mower

6. Planning for trees

Ambrogio 4.0 robot lawn mower among the trees

Trees can cause problems for robot mowers.

  • Tree roots above the ground can cause the mower to get stuck or the blades to cut the roots.
  • Young trees can be quite ‘bendy’ so could be pushed over by a robot mower – stake them out.
  • Trees planted too near the edge of the lawn can mean that the mower does not have enough space to get behind them (you need at least 70cms).

Make sure your trees are mower friendly, not just when you plant your garden but as they mature.

You can always exclude the mower from around the tree with a perimeter wire ‘island’ or even easier a raised border that the mower can bounce off.

7. Plan for minimal strimming

Whichever robot mower you choose (and of course we recommend Ambrogio and Belrobotics), you want as much of the lawn cut by the mower as possible.  There will always be edges that need to be strimmed but thinking ahead can minimise this.

If you look at the mower specification, you will see how far from the edge of the lawn you lay the perimeter wire.  The blade of the robot mower will normally be directly over the wire so take off half the diameter of the blade and you will find out how much you will need to strim.  

There are ways to minimise this, look at the specification again and you will probably see that the distance of the wire from the edge will vary according to the lawn edging e.g.

  • If the edge is lower than the lawn i.e. a lower flowerbed then the distance may be less (for Ambrogios it is 30cms vs 35cms).
  • If the edge is a pond or steps then the distance will increase (to 90cms for Ambrogios). You can get around this by having a raised border so it brings it down to 35cms.

If you plan in advance you will have less strimming to do.

L60 mowing in walled garden video

Need help or assistance

If you are planning your lawn then send us your design and we can have a look to see if it is robot friendly – no obligation.

4 Responses

  1. Hi I’ve just set up a flymo easy life go 150 in my back garden. I’m in a terrace house so can’t take cables around to the front. I heard it will still run with out the wires until the battery goes flat.
    I’ve carried to the front. Garden but can’t get it to start. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Graham, I’m not a flymo specialist but if it works the same as other mowers, if there are no cables then it won’t run as it needs the cables to detect where the edges are and as a safety mechanism it will stop when it can’t detect a wire.
      If you are on facebook, I would post your question on one of the robot mower groups there to see if there is a workaround.

  2. I was looking for a robotic lawn mower for my residential garden of about 200 sq m. It is a south facing garden and the lawn is in the full sun for the whole day. Manufacturers seem to require that the base station is positioned in a shady spot outwith direct sunlight. Is this true and is there any way round it?

    1. Hi Rod,
      The reason for keeping the robot out of direct sunlight is that the battery charges and lasts longer when it is not hot. One solution is to have the mower in a robot house i.e. either a dog kennel style house or just a canopy. You can buy them from the manufacturer or from a third supplier…amazon.

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