The robot lawnmower that handles hills, steers around flowerbeds and even charges itself

More and more country house owners are embracing the best that modern technology can bring to their homes – and Viking iMow, made by Stihl, is taking that approach into the garden.

There’s often a perception that country houses and modern technology are somehow at odds with each other. That appreciating fine old architecture, craftsmanship and gardens somehow precludes you from loading up on modern gizmos.

It’s a perception which is simply not true. It’s rather like suggesting that if you appreciate the romance of taking a ride in horse-drawn carriage, you’re prohibited from sitting behind the wheel of a comfortable modern saloon when you need to get across the country quickly.

It’s a topic we’ve explored a few times of late at Country Life. This article last year pointed out how incredibly handy technology is in an old house – who, after all, wants to have to wire speakers into walls which are made from traditional lime plaster? And anyone who’s ever had to vacuum a large old house with limited power sockets will know just how wonderful modern battery-powered vacuums are.

The good news is that such modern magic has now spread to the garden. Stihl – a favourite of ours for their range of garden power tools – have released a robot lawn mower which cuts the lawn for you: the Viking iMow.


Slightly sadly (though only slightly) it’s not a man-sized robot of the type you’d once have seen in The Jetsons or Buck Rogers – instead, the iMow is a dinky little thing which can cut lawns up to 4,000 sq m. That equates to a lawn roughly 70 yards by 70 yards square – or to put it another way, about three-quarters of a full-size football pitch.

We know what you’re probably thinking now: ‘Ahhh, but my lawn isn’t a nice regular rectangle.’ That’s the really clever bit: this robot mower can handle hills (up to a 45% incline), curves, flowerbeds, trees and even pools.

That’s because an expert installer will come along to set the thing up for you – they’ll bury a wire invisibly in the perimeter of your lawn, which the iMow will then follow.

That’s not all the installer will do, however – and the next bit will get gadget-lovers frothing at the mouth. They’ll also set up the machine’s power recharging station – and the mower will automatically take itself back to base when it needs to be recharged. If it’s finished your lawn, it can charge itself back up slowly, to save electricity; if it’s got a bit left to do, it’ll go into fast charge mode to get enough juice to finish the job.

Still not satisfied with how easy they’ve made things? Well, take this then: you don’t even have to turn it on. You just set the regular mowing schedule and the iMow will take itself out to cut your grass whenever it’s needed – the top of the range models even let you control them via a smartphone app. The thing even knows when it’s raining – if it’s a light shower, it’ll keep on going. Anything heavier and it’ll head back indoors and wait for the rain to pass.

‘Ahhh yes,’ you say. ‘But there’s still one other problem: I’m still going to have to get rid of all those grass cuttings.’

They’ve even thought of that. This is a mulching mower – it cuts the grass into tiny fragments which are then spread back into the ground as natural fertiliser which will help your grass grow better than ever.

So there you have it – modern technology really is absolutely fantastic. Now all we need is to persuade Dyson or Shark to create a vacuum cleaner version for the house which will pull off all the same tricks indoors.

Find out more and see the range at