By REBECCA SLOAN
Plenty of homeowners spend more than their fair share of time riding or pushing a lawnmower around their yard, sending the dandelions and tall blades flying into a fragrant green arc that is a familiar facet of summertime.
If you are in the market to buy a lawnmower, expect to pay about $100 or more for a new walk-behind mower and about $900 or more for a new riding mower.
Walk-behind mowers are recommended for lawns of one-half acre or less and for people who don't mind a little physical exertion.
Walk-behind mowers have two types of starters. A recoil starter, which is a handle attached to a rope that you pull a few times to get the mower going, or an electric starter, which requires just the touch of a button or turn of a key.
Riding lawnmowers are recommended for large lawns. Although it is easier and faster to cut grass with a riding mower, they are higher priced than walk-behinds and also cost more to maintain.
If you want to buy a riding lawnmower that can double as a tractor to till soil or to haul materials, make sure that the mower you get is capable of doing these jobs.
Riding mowers that have the engine in the front rather than in the back are more likely to accept tilling attachments or trailers and carts.
If you want a mower that is designed to collect grass clippings in a bag as you mow, know that these types of mowers take up more space in the garage or shed. Consider the storage space you have available before you buy.
Another option new on the market is an electric lawnmower. Electric mowers are kind to the environment and cost less to maintain because the need for gas and oil is eliminated. They are practical only for small lawns, however, because they must be plugged in during use.
Used mowers: If you want to save a few dollars and buy a used lawnmower, proceed with caution. Ask the owner if the engine's oil was changed frequently and check to see if basic mechanical parts are in good shape.
It is best to ask the owner if you can have a dealer examine the mower before you buy it. This way the dealer can diagnose any problems and tell you how much it's going to cost to get them fixed.