Tell us a bit about you and your life
I'm a director/cinematographer and the founding partner of a Film and TV business called KOJO, which has offices in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and NZ. Our head office is in Adelaide. We live right next to the Beachfront in Adelaide's closest beachside suburb, West Beach on St Vincents Gulf in South Australia. Our house is on a traditional 1/4 acre block (about 950 square metres). The demand for higher density housing is increasing and unfortunately these 1/4 acre blocks, along with their single storey homes, are disappearing to make way for multi storey townhouses. As a result many lawns and larger gardens are also disappearing. We love our sprawling single story beachside home, with it's couch lawns, big garden and the native birds and wildlife our garden oasis attracts. Gardening and lawn care is very rewarding and a good therapeutic balance for my other (more frustrating) passion - golf!
2. Where did your passion for lawn-care come from?
When I was growing up my parents built several houses. They always included a lawn tennis court (my parents loved tennis), and lighting so we could play at night under lights. My passion for lawn-care came from helping my father look after the lawn courts. As a young lad anything with an engine inspired my imagination, so mowing the court with the big Scott Bonnar cylinder mower dad bought was always fun - never a chore. My parents also introduced me to golf as a 12 year old and every weekend we would be the first players on the course. The freshly cut fairways and greens looked fantastic to me in the early summer light and I enjoyed watching the green-keepers create immaculate surfaces on the greens with the professional golf green mowers.
3. Tell us a bit about your lawn journey so far
The couch grass used on golf course fairways always appealed to me. It's tough, drought resistant and looks fantastic when cut short and mown regularly during summer. So when we bought and renovated our house, I included Santa Anna Couch in all the lawn areas of the garden design. Delivered as 'instant lawn' (in 500 x 1m rolls), it's easily laid on a pre-prepared, levelled surface. Plant in Spring and the roots quickly establish. A good looking lawn is virtually guaranteed, as long as it gets a minimum of 5 hours sunshine per day. Once the roots are established, a top dressing of sand to level out the dips and hollows, ensures a nice smooth looking lawn and easy mowing.
The watering and mowing is the easy and enjoyable part. Keeping out the weeds, like Poa, creeping Oxalis and flat leaf weeds, is the difficult bit. We decided the best way to deal with that part was to get a professional lawn care company to regularly manage all the difficult weed control and fertilising. All I do now is the easy, enjoyable bit - mowing and watering.
I mow all the lawns at least once, or twice a week during the strongest growing months (October to March) and once a week, or once a fortnight, during the shoulder season. In winter (June, July, August) the couch is virtually dormant and needs only the occasional mow to ensure (along with the various weed treatment and pre-emergent spraying) that winter weeds and grasses are kept under control.
4. What mower do you have? What are your favourite features and what do you love about it?
For a number of years I persevered with a restored 17in Scott Bonnar cylinder mower, followed by a South African copy of the Scott Bonnar, a Protea 17in Cylinder mower, but they could never quite deliver the features and finish I was after. The professional Toro 'golf green' mowers were awesome, but the very high purchase price and maintenance issues, were a bit beyond me as a home gardener. After years of constant searching for a better mower, I discovered the videos promoting the new battery powered Allett Stirling. I immediately placed my order for an Allett Stirling 51, along with 3 additional cartridges. The scarifier, the de-thatcher and the 10 blade fine cut, along with the display stand for storage.It arrived just in time for the growing season and as soon as I unpacked it and started using it, I was blown away. The Allett Stirling is an incredible mower!. The interchangeable cartridges are so easy to use and make cleaning the mower and blades much easier and more efficient. I bought the EGO 7.5a/h battery and found I can mow my 300sq/m of lawn at least 3 times between charges. I love the fact I can mow the lawn quietly at any time without annoying the neighbours, or my wife! I love being able to vary the mowing/walking speed so easily and love the separate motor drive systems for the blades and the main mower roller propulsion. Being able to slow the drive speed right down when i'm mowing around the curved lawn edges, makes the job so much easier. I have to say it is a 1000% improvement on the centrifugal clutch on my previous mower.
I love the lightweight catcher.
I love (especially) the way the controls are all so accessible and easy to use, and the way the handle adjusts to suit the user. Also the way it folds easily into the upright position for storage. The mower, spare cartridges and catcher store perfectly in our garage, without compromising any space for our two (large) cars.
I love the quick interchangeable cartridges. Beautifully engineered and built and much easier to adjust and clean than any mower i've ever owned.
I'd love to see Allett offer an easy to use wheel trolley attachment, so the mower can be moved across rough paving or pathways, without damage to the rollers. Because I was worried about running it over rough concrete pathways, between our lawn areas, i bought a heavy duty, foldable trolley, to move it from the back yard to the front yard and out to the nature strip alongside the front footpath.
An inexpensive air compressor is a good investment for cleaning the mower. The one I bought has various clip on air nozzles, which makes cleaning off grass clippings, especially in the harder to clean areas, very easy and efficient. It also avoids the need to spray any water on the mower to clean it.
This Allett Stirling battery powered professional mower, is the cylinder mower lawn lovers have been waiting for, for so long!
Mowing and looking after my lawns has always been a labour of love for me, but this new mower has taken my lawn care and results, to a whole new professional level. The added bonus is I now save hundreds of dollars a year being able to scarify and de-thatch my own lawn. I'm also now able to fine cut them to the similar level of finish on our private golf club tees and greens.
Congratulations - Allett have really nailed it with this beautiful cylinder mower.