Thursday, 18 April 2013

Push Power

It wasn't until we moved into a single family home three years ago that I realized how much I hate lawns. We lived in a townhouse prior to this and we enjoyed having a grassy fields in the complex for our children to run around, but it was never my responsibility to look after the lawns.

Now that it is our responsibility to cut the grass at least once a week in the growing season I find lawns to be nothing but trouble. I can't believe how much work it is to have a nice, even, green lawn. Mowing, watering, trimming, blah, blah, blah. Such a waste of time, in my opinion. I would rather put all that energy into my vegetable garden. I have long term plans for adding some raised garden beds in our front yard, where most of our grass is, but for now I have to be content with the raised beds I have in the backyard (two currently, with two more being added this spring). I am inspired and motivated by the stories and photos of people who have converted their lawn into a garden.

In the meantime I have to deal with my lawn. I refuse to water it in the summer and I don't care if it turns brown. There is a pesticide ban in my community (yay!) and I refuse to weed all the dandelions because we think they are pretty (and edible). I find it funny how a lawn is such a symbol of middle class suburbia, but part of me does my best, within what I am willing to do, to keep my lawn looking half decent in order to fit the part here.

When we first moved to our home we purchased an electric rechargeable mower with which we were reasonably happy (quite quiet, no emissions). But we soon discovered that no one would service it when it broke down, so we bought a reel mower, which I had wanted for some time. I realize that they are nothing new, and many people use one, but this is generally not the case where I live. A true marker of warmer weather is the sound of lawn mower motors and the smell of gasoline.

We decided upon this reel mower *, although there are many others on the market. It has several different settings for raising and lowering the cutting blades. Modern reel mowers have come a long way; they are much easier to push now compared to the one my father used in the early 1970s. As long as the setting isn't too low for the grass height, causing it to jam and need cleaning, I am very happy with it so far.

I like how I get a workout when I cut the lawn (really - my heart rate goes up quite nicely and my thighs and buttocks are sore after). I appreciate not using electricity or gas to cut something I don't like having in the first place. Often I just leave the grass cuttings on the lawn, but if the grass has been left too long I will rake up the bulk of it, adding to my workout. Bonus - I save the cuttings for my compost bin in the backyard.
No, this photo was not taken last fall - it was a few weeks ago when I cut the grass 
for the first time this season. I'm a lazy gardener and I never raked the leaves.

On nice days my girls will join me, hatching adventures, picking dandelions, and perhaps even occasionally helping me to rake up the cuttings.
Such great helpers.

There are times when the lawn really needs cutting and I'm just too tired (or lazy) to get out there and do it, but I think that happens to people with gas powered mowers as well.

And there are those times when I've left it way too long and I have to go over the lawn a couple of times, lowering the setting each time, as I had to a few weeks ago when I cut the lawn for the first time this season. Wow was I sore and tired after that!
The grass was crazy long a few weeks ago. Oops. I had to 
cut it two more times to get it to a reasonable length.

Overall I love my reel mower. It has zero carbon emissions and sound pollution, it gives me a workout and I get to enjoy being outside.

* I purchased this product myself and have received no compensation for writing this. I just like it and wanted to share my experiences so far.

I wrote this post over a week ago, before a family health emergency that has my family in survival mode. I realized when I came home from the hospital yesterday that my grass is almost as long as the photo above. When things settle down somewhat I'm going to have fun cutting the lawn again.



  1. I want to get a push mower like this someday. I'm glad to hear this is working for you.

    1. Thanks! It really is cost effective too, coming in under $200, with no additional costs of gas or sharpening (mine is a stay sharp model).

  2. Keeping the lawn tidy and green indeed requires a lot of effort. Mowing the grass is just one. It can be tiring, but as you said, it's a great form of exercise too. Haha! I am pleased to hear that your new lawn mower is working just fine for you.
    Kevin @ Pro Cut LawnCare & Landscape