Our Favorite Tech for the Home Garden

When friends of mine sent a video of their little robotic mower bumping along a long flat lawn, I was skeptical. How could a device the size of a small tire mow a large lawn? Well, Husqvarna makes mowers that can, pretty accurately, and have been for years. While the robot won’t be able to edge succinctly like a weed whacker, you’ll still get well-groomed grass for very little effort. It chops the blades and mulches to save you the work of constantly emptying a storage container.

The limitations involve installing a wire pinned to the lawn’s entire perimeter. Also, automowers are less reliable than push or riding mowers on steeper slopes. And like a robotic vacuum, it can’t remove toys, chairs, and hoses obstructing its path. Obstacles need to be picked up before it departs the charging station. Lastly, separate areas of lawn dissected by a driveway or sidewalk can’t be covered. Otherwise, the device is fairly thorough.

The biggest drawback? Price. For a city yard, the residential Automower 115H (4G) is $700, and to cover a larger suburban lawn, the wider Automower 415X runs $2,000. While other, cheaper brands may suit your needs just fine, Husqvarna has been perfecting landscape tools for decades and has a reputation for being built tough. I’d say it’s worth it, but the key is to find an automower that works for your yard and your budget.