As a cemetery grounds manager, many families are counting on you to keep the grounds and lawns looking beautiful year round. Cemeteries mean a lot to families and loved ones —  you have one chance to get it right.

A beautiful cemetery is a highly-valued one, and a huge part of keeping a cemetery highly-valued is having a strong landscaping strategy. (After all, who wants to bury their loved ones in a messy field?) 

As a cemetery grounds manager, you can save time and money (and make the cemetery more beautiful than ever) by maintaining the grounds with a robotic lawn mower.

Why should you use a robotic lawn mower on cemetery grounds?

Whether you manage a small cemetery or a sprawling one that spans many acres and can handle hundreds of burials per month, managing a cemetery is intensive and expensive. 

First of all, you need to pay a crew to mow the lawn, trim around all the headstones and trees, maintain roads and paths, and upkeep maintenance on all the chapels. 

Secondly, you need to manage a fleet of equipment and tools to do the job well: lawn mowers, trucks, plows, backhoes, and trash trucks for all those dead flowers. 

All this adds up, and can run large cemeteries millions of dollars annually. 

This is where the robotic lawn mower comes in. 

A robotic lawn mower can save a cemetery management company thousands of dollars annually on landscaping costs by eliminating the need for a lawn crew. 

Lose the monthly pay-out for a crew and pay a one-time fee for a robotic lawn mower. You’ll have to perform maintenance on it yearly, but for the most part, you can set it and leave it. 

A robotic lawn mower can make the lawn look healthier.  

Robotic lawn mowers expel micro trimmings back into the lawn, providing nitrogen to fertilize the grass. You won’t have to worry as much about dead patches and unhealthy growth.

More effortless maintenance 

With a robotic lawn mower, your cemetery management team can spend their efforts focusing on the details: trimming, planting, and other landscaping needs that crop up instead of spending hours on lawn care.

It’s quiet – you wont disturb cemetery visitors with loud mowers. 

Robotic mowers are hailed for being extremely quiet. So you can mow in one part of the cemetery and not disturb mourners nearby.

If you’ve never heard how quiet a robotic lawn mower is, watch this noise comparison video.

What happened when we tested an autonomous lawn mower on cemetery grounds

What about all those grave stones? Won’t a robotic mower trip up on all those obstacles? 

Here at Autmow, we had the same question. After all, robotic lawn mowers tend to do best when they don’t have a bunch of obstacles in the way. And when it comes to a cemetery or graveyard, there’s nothing but obstacles. 

So we tested it out, and were pleased with the results. We ran a Husqvarna Automower 430xh at 60-70% capacity. 

The rationale behind running the mowers at lower capacity is that the more obstacles a mower has, the more time it spends bumping, adjusting direction, and bouncing back and forth. If it does this, it may only get to a small portion of the lawn before having to return to its base station to charge. Running it at lower capacity helped save some battery life so we could get more mowable area out of a single charge.

We let it ping around the cemetery for 45 minutes, and had no hang-ups or issues.

What happens when a robotic lawn mower runs into a headstone?

Simply, it bounces off. 

We did not see noticeable scuffs on the stones after a season. There were plenty of scuffs on the autonomous mower but nothing worrisome.

What are the best robotic lawn mower models for cemeteries?

Any Husqvarna Automower model is going to have very safe blades and won’t “spray” flower pieces if it accidentally runs into a bouquet. 

The Husqvarna Automower 450xh might be a good choice with longer battery life, that slows down prior to hitting objects. It’s also a very gentle machine. 

Machines that come with ultrasonic sensors (such as the Husqvarna Automower 450X/XH, or the Husqvarna Automower 550 Professional Grade, or the Husqvarna Automower 435/535 AWD), are great mowers for a cemetery. The sensors tell the mower when there’s something in front of it. This allows the robotic mower to slow down and bump more gently. 

Over time, this helps the durability of the mower, since it’s anticipating collisions. This causes less wear and tear on the body.

Considerations before mowing a cemetery with an autonomous lawn mower

Depending on the cemetery, some political considerations might come into play, so it might be best to put the autonomous lawn mowers on older grave areas that don’t see as many visitors. (You don’t want the robots to run over flowers and other mementos placed on and near graves by loved ones.)

Furthermore, wired machines (that depend on an install with guide wires) work best for this application. At this point in time, wired machines are still more “tried and true.” 

One of the issues with wireless robotic mowers is they rely on “line of sight” for communication to satellites and the reference station. If your cemetery has tree coverage, your machine will run into communication issues with its GPS base and could cause interference, leading to the mower getting stuck and stopping periodically until it can reestablish a connection or until someone moves it to an area without obstacles.