Imagine transforming your overgrown garden into a picturesque sanctuary, where every blade of grass stands neatly in its place. Strimmers, commonly referred to as grass trimmers, are the ultimate tool to help you achieve this perfection. For both the meticulous gardener who wants to tackle long grass or the homeowner who just wants to keep the yard looking neat, a strimmer is an essential part of the garden power tools arsenal.
But how to use a strimmer correctly? Whether you’ve recently invested in a strimmer or considering adding one to your collection of garden tools, this guide is for you. Here, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about using a strimmer – from setting up the trimming line and the correct cutting technique to maintaining your trimmer head for longevity. It’s time to empower yourself with knowledge and start cutting grass like a pro!
What Is A Strimmer and Why Is It Essential?
A strimmer, also known as a grass trimmer, is a powerful garden tool designed to cut grass and weeds in areas that traditional petrol or electric lawn mowers can’t reach. These hard-to-reach spots include the edges of your lawn, around flower beds, and near fences. Strimmers work by spinning a cutting line or blade at high speed, which cuts through grass and weeds efficiently, offering a higher level of precision than a standard lawn mower.
So, why is a strimmer essential? First, strimmers are perfect for maintaining clean, sharp edges around your garden, creating a neat and tidy appearance. Additionally, they are specifically designed to tackle long grass and tough weeds, something that other garden power tools might struggle with. Strimmers can be especially useful in larger gardens where maintaining neat edges and corners can be a daunting task. This invaluable tool not only keeps your garden looking its best but also helps prevent the overgrowth of weeds, promoting overall lawn health.
Choosing the Right Strimmer
The right strimmer for you largely depends on the size of your garden and the type of vegetation you need to manage. Broadly speaking, there are three main types of strimmers: petrol strimmers, battery powered strimmers, and mains electric (corded) strimmers.
Petrol strimmers are the most powerful of the three, making them suitable for larger gardens or overgrown areas with long grass or tough weeds. They offer high cutting power and freedom of movement but can be heavy and may require more maintenance.
Battery powered strimmers or cordless strimmers offer mobility without the hassle of a power cable. They’re usually lighter than petrol strimmers and can be a great choice for medium-sized gardens. However, their runtime is limited to the battery life, which can be a constraint for larger tasks.
Finally, mains electric strimmers are perfect for smaller gardens. They’re lightweight and offer a consistent power source. However, the power cable can limit your range of movement.
In addition to the power source, you should consider the cutting width, also known as the cut path, when choosing a strimmer. A larger cutting width means you can cover a larger area in a single pass, ideal for bigger gardens, while a smaller cutting width offers more precision, perfect for meticulous trimming around flower beds and garden furniture.
By understanding your specific garden needs, you can choose the best strimmer to keep your outdoor space looking pristine.
Transitioning from a Lawn Mower to a Grass Trimmer
If you’re used to a lawn mower, you might wonder why you should consider switching to a grass trimmer. Here are some compelling reasons:
- Versatility: A grass trimmer, whether it’s a line trimmer or a petrol grass trimmer, offers great versatility. It not only cuts grass but can also trim around edges and obstacles where a lawn mower might struggle.
- Edge Trimming: An edge trimmer, a type of grass trimmer, is specifically designed to clean up lawn edges and borders. This makes it perfect for giving your garden that neat, manicured look.
- Grass Trimming Efficiency: The trimming line in grass trimmers spins at high speed, allowing for precise and clean cuts. This spinning line makes trimming grass, especially in tight or challenging spots, a breeze.
- Ease of Use: Unlike lawn mowers, grass trimmers are lightweight and easy to manoeuvre. Their design makes them perfect for working in tight spaces or navigating around garden features.
- Line Mechanism: The line mechanism in line trimmers is designed to feed out more line as it wears down, keeping your trimmer line at the optimal length. This automatic feeding system ensures consistent cutting power and performance.
- Safe Operation: Last but not least, grass trimmers are safer to use than mowers. Most grass trimmers come with protective gear, including safety glasses and gloves, to protect you from flying debris.
Whether it’s a line trimmer or a petrol grass trimmer, these versatile garden tools offer efficiency and precision in trimming grass. And with the right protective gear, you can ensure safe and easy operation.
So, if you’re considering a shift from a lawn mower, a grass trimmer is a worthy alternative. It can make your garden maintenance tasks simpler and more enjoyable.
Setting Up Your Grass Strimmer
Once you’ve chosen the right strimmer, it’s crucial to set it up correctly to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Start by checking the instruction manual. While most strimmers follow a similar setup process, there might be specific instructions depending on the model.
The heart of your strimmer is the trimmer head, which holds the cutting line or blade. Depending on the strimmer you’ve chosen, you may be using a nylon line, plastic blades, or metal blades. For line trimmers, you’ll need to load the cutting line into the trimmer head. Many strimmers use a line feed system, which automatically feeds out more line as you trim. There are primarily two types of line feeds: automatic feed and bump feed. In an automatic feed, more line is released every time the strimmer starts, whereas, in a bump feed, you’ll need to ‘bump’ the trimmer head on a hard surface to release more line.
Lastly, ensure your strimmer’s power source is ready. If you have a petrol strimmer, it should be filled with the correct mix of fuel and oil. For a battery-powered strimmer, make sure the battery is fully charged. For mains electricity strimmers, ensure you have a power cable long enough to reach all areas of your garden without straining the cord.
Preparing For Strimming
Safety should be your priority when using any power tools, and strimmers are no exception. Before you start strimming, put on appropriate safety equipment. This includes safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris, ear protection like ear defenders to mitigate the noise, and sturdy footwear to protect your feet.
It’s also essential to prepare the area you’re going to strim. Clear the area of any garden furniture, toys, or other obstacles that might obstruct your cut path or get damaged. Additionally, check for hidden obstacles in longer grass, such as stones or branches, which can damage the strimmer or become dangerous projectiles.
Remember, you should never use a strimmer in an enclosed space due to the risk of injury from debris and, in the case of petrol strimmers, the release of harmful fumes. Always ensure you’re working in a well-ventilated, open area, taking regular breaks to avoid fatigue. With these preparations, you’re now ready to start strimming your garden effectively and safely.
Proper Techniques to Use A Strimmer
Using a strimmer correctly can help you achieve the best results while maintaining safety. Here are some key techniques to follow:
Handle the Strimmer Correctly:
Stand upright and hold the strimmer handle with both hands. Avoid bending your back, as this can lead to discomfort or injury over time. The strimmer should be balanced and at a comfortable distance from your body, keeping the cutting head parallel to the ground.
Start with a slow sweeping motion from left to right, cutting long grass a little at a time. This technique ensures an even cut and prevents the strimmer from getting overloaded with too much grass.
Use the Right Cutting Height:
Ideally, strimmers should be used for cutting grass and weeds that are too long for a conventional mower. As a rule of thumb, aim to cut grass no shorter than 3 inches in height to prevent damage to your lawn.
Respect the Cut Path:
The strimmer cuts a path in front of you, so always move backwards as you strim. This way, you’re never walking on freshly cut grass, which can be slippery.
Follow the Spin Direction:
Most strimmers spin the line or blade in an anti-clockwise direction. This means that when you sweep the strimmer from right to left, the grass cuttings are thrown away from you and onto the lawn, not onto paths or patios.
Strimming Long Grass:
If you’re dealing with long grass, cut it in stages from the top down. This method is more effective and places less strain on the strimmer’s motor.
Strimming Around Objects:
When strimming around flower beds or garden furniture, tilt the strimmer slightly to use the tip of the line. This allows for a more precise cut and reduces the risk of damaging your garden’s features.
Many strimmers feature a safety switch that requires you to press two buttons at once to start the tool. Ensure that this is functioning properly each time before you start to strim.
Remember, the key to effective strimming is practice. With time, you’ll get the hang of handling the strimmer and using these techniques to achieve the perfect garden.
Maintaining Your Strimmer
Just like any garden power tool, your strimmer requires regular maintenance to function efficiently and last longer. Here’s a rundown of the key maintenance tasks:
- Line and Blade Maintenance: Check the condition of your trimming line or blades regularly. If the line has become thin or worn out, replace it with a new line. When it comes to metal or plastic blades, look for signs of wear and tear, and replace as needed. For line trimmers, keep an eye on the line feed mechanism to ensure it’s working correctly.
- Brush Cutter Maintenance: If your strimmer also functions as a brush cutter, ensure you check the brush cutter head regularly. Look for signs of wear and damage, and replace or sharpen the blades as necessary.
- Clean After Each Use: After each use, clean your strimmer thoroughly to remove grass and debris. A freshly cleaned trimmer is more efficient and reduces wear on the motor. Make sure you disconnect the power source before you start cleaning.
- Annual Servicing: Consider getting your strimmer serviced by a professional once a year, especially if it’s a petrol strimmer. They can help you tune the engine, check the safety switch, and ensure the strimmer is running at high speed efficiently.
Troubleshooting Common Strimmer Issues
Despite your best efforts, you may run into some common strimmer issues. Here’s a quick guide to diagnosing and fixing these problems:
- The Strimmer Won’t Start: Make sure it’s connected to the power source correctly. If it’s a battery-powered strimmer, check the charge level. For petrol strimmers, verify the quality and mixture of the fuel. If these checks don’t solve the problem, consult a professional.
- The Cutting Line Keeps Breaking: This could be due to the line spinning too fast or hitting a hard surface, such as stones or a wall. Try adjusting your cutting technique or consider using a thicker line.
- Strimmer Cuts Out Under Load: This issue often happens when tackling long grass or tough weeds. To solve this, reduce the load on the strimmer by strimming long grass in stages and raising the cutting height.
- Strimmer Feels Unbalanced: If the strimmer is heavy on one side, it’s likely that the cutting line or blades are unevenly worn. Replace or adjust them as necessary.
Remember, strimmers are powerful garden tools. If you’re not confident in handling a particular issue, it’s best to consult a professional to avoid damaging the machine or hurting yourself.
By understanding how to use a strimmer effectively, tackling routine maintenance, and being prepared to troubleshoot common issues, you’ll find a strimmer easy to operate. Plus, it can make a world of difference to the appearance of your lawn edges and garden. Keep practicing, and soon, you’ll be using your strimmer like a pro.
Armed with the right knowledge, a strimmer is an exceptionally useful tool to have in your gardening arsenal. Whether you opt for a petrol grass trimmer, a battery-powered model, or a line trimmer, the efficiency and versatility these power tools offer are unparalleled.
Understanding the line mechanism, the different types of trimmer heads, and how to maintain them will help ensure the longevity and performance of your strimmer. Adopting safe operating practices, such as using protective gear and observing safety protocols, is equally important for a pleasant and injury-free gardening experience.
Moreover, learning the correct techniques for cutting and trimming grass will help you achieve the desired look for your lawn edges and garden, tackling even the longest grass with ease.
Remember, it’s not just about having the right tool but also knowing how to use it effectively. Once you’ve mastered how to use a strimmer, you’ll find maintaining your garden easier and more satisfying than ever before.