Reluctant gardener PETER BARRON is spending the summer testing a robot lawnmower, manufactured here in the North-East. This is his assessment so far

THE robots are on the march across our gardens and, as far as I’m concerned, they are the equivalent of the cavalry coming over the hill.

It is one of my “man jobs” to cut the grass every weekend and, I’ll be honest, it’s a pain I could do without.

My wife and I are lucky enough to have a large garden but the downside is that it takes me three hours to do the lawn with our decrepit old petrol mower, known as “the pig in the shed” because it’s a stubborn brute that takes ages to get going.

But I’m delighted to say that this summer is proving to be very different.

“How would you like to test one of our robot lawnmowers?” said the good folk of Sam Turner and Sons, just down the road at Northallerton.

Well, they could hardly have inspired a more enthusiastic YES! if they’d asked me if I could spend the summer rubbing sun tan lotion on Kylie Minogue’s back.

“Bring it on,” I yelled. Three months down the line, I haven’t had to get the pig out of the shed once and the grass looks in better condition than ever.

Seriously, I can’t recommend these brilliant inventions high enough. Our model is a Husqvarna Automower 430x – manufactured at Newton Aycliffe - and it is now firmly established as my best friend.

It honestly couldn’t be easier. It took a couple of men from Sam Turner & Sons a few hours in the morning back in April to set it all up, with boundary wires and guide wires buried just beneath the surface of the lawn.

The automower can then be programmed to leave its docking station whenever you like and it then uses the wires as sensors. Whenever it comes to the wire, it turns round and goes off in a different direction, cutting in random patterns so there are no tracks.

We’ve set it to “work” between 9am until 9pm and, because it cuts so finely, there are never any cuttings to have to rake up and dispose of. It’s makes very little noise and it simply returns to its docking station to recharge whenever it feels the need.

It’s even designed to work in the rain – and that’s not something that could ever be said about me.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Our garden is by no means straight forward. It has complex shapes, narrow passages, and lots of trees to navigate but the automower manages it without any fuss. We don’t have any slopes to speak of but they wouldn’t be a problem either.

I’ve nicknamed it Mow Farah, because it just keeps going. It’s an Olympic champion among lawnmowers.

Accessories even include Automower Connect, which gives you complete control from your smartphone or smartwatch.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The model we’re testing retails at just over £2,000 but there are cheaper versions, depending on the size of your lawn. It’s a sizeable outlay but I’ve already decided I’m going to have to negotiate a deal with Sam Turner & Sons come the autumn, because it ain’t going back.

And I’m clearly not alone in being smitten with the automowers. Husqvarna announced earlier this year that they were taking on 800 seasonal employees and 75 permanent workers to cope with the demand for the robot mowers made at Newton Aycliffe.

That’s really positive news for the North-East economy and I can only see the growth continuing as more and more people latch on to the time-saving benefits of robot mowers.

This summer, instead of spending three hours mowing the lawn every Sunday, I’ve been able to invest more time in other aspects of the garden. There are always jobs to be done but I also have to confess to spending more time reading the paper after lunch, while my hammock swings gently in the breeze, and Mow Farah goes about his business.

There’s a classic old song that springs to mind – Summertime and the living is easy…

• To see the Husqvarna Automower working in Peter Barron's garden, click here