Lawn Mowing Etiquette – Know the Unwritten Rules

The Do’s and Don’ts of Lawn Mowing Etiquette

An article on lawn mowing etiquette probably shouldn’t have to be written. You would think that most people would just know to be courteous when it comes to lawn work. But, after a few Saturday mornings of being woken up at 6:45 by a neighbor mowing right under my window, and then enjoying the privilege of cleaning up piles of someone else’s clippings, I can personally testify that perhaps common courtesy isn’t as common as you might think.

You likely can’t find a book that delivers hard and fast rules for lawn mowing etiquette. Still, some city regulations and communities get close with voluminous noise ordinances. If you follow a few simple guidelines, you can avoid the cold stares of upset neighbors.

Don’t Mow Too Early or Too Late – Mind the Noise

Probably the number one piece of lawn mowing etiquette revolves around when you mow. A basic rule of thumb? Avoid mowing the yard when the vast majority of people could be sleeping. This means that you should avoid mowing before breakfast or after dinner.

Of course, your city or your HOA probably has its own noise ordinances in place. Check with those entities for a hard and fast ruling so you know the rules. We do, however, tend to find some commonly accepted time frames and patterns. On weekdays, feel free to run your lawn equipment after 9 am and before 6 pm. On weekends, you might avoid mowing before 10 am and after 6 pm.

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This probably goes without saying, but the main reason for not mowing too early or late has to do with noise. The excessive noise produced by gas-powered lawn equipment restricts when you can effectively use those tools. You can, however, mitigate these noise issues to a pretty large degree if you make the switch to battery-powered outdoor power equipment.

Rather than blasting 90-95 dBA at your neighbors (about the same loudness as your typical motorcycle), an electric mower only generates around 75 dBA. That sounds similar to how much noise your washing machine makes. The same goes for all of your lawn equipment. A quieter mower with less noise output automatically results in better lawn mowing etiquette. It also means that you can get your work done early without waking the (still sleeping) neighborhood.

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Keep Up With Your Lawn – Don’t Let It Get Overgrown

Some of us are natural-born procrastinators. Why do today what you can put off until next week? Well, we have a few reasons why you ought to just go ahead and get your yard work done.

For one thing—and this is particularly important for those of us who don’t necessarily enjoy wrestling around with the lawn—it’s a whole lot easier to cut a lawn that isn’t wildly overgrown. Taller grass takes longer to cut, causes your mower to stall out, and leaves longer clippings laying about the yard. This can likely dry out your grass into ugly little piles across your lawn.

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Another factor of good lawn mowing etiquette, and one that’s probably more germane to the premise of this article, is that an overgrown yard looks, well, unkempt. Your grass, when allowed to get long, can start to seed and look more like weeds than grass. It’s especially noticeable when everyone else is keeping up with their yards. So, for the sake of not letting your yard turn into the neighborhood eyesore, it’s best not to let it get too long.

Keep this in mind as well: a well-kept lawn helps maintain the property values of your and everyone else’s house. Living in a community might mean caring for that community. Keeping up with your lawn to help protect the community’s investments seems like a courteous thing to do.

Don’t Leave Your Clippings Behind

Mulching your clippings is a great way to spread nutrients across your lawn evenly. Let the lawn get away from you, and there’s a good chance that you’ll leave unsightly clumps of clippings lying behind. This also occurs when you cut the grass while wet (the grass, not you). Both issues can negatively affect the health of your grass. And how much courtesy are you showing when you let your let get all patchy and gross-looking?

This is easy enough to deal with. You can either bag your clippings, spread them around with a rake, or mow back over them.

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Keep Grass Off the Street

Our last tip on lawn mowing etiquette has to do with the areas around your property. When mowing next to the street, face your mower with the side-discharge turned inward. Otherwise your mower tends to spray clippings into the road. While you could leave them to dry out and blow away, that doesn’t exactly match the definition of lawn mowing etiquette, does it? If you do end up blowing grass into the street, grab your blower and get those clippings back into your yard.

Final Thoughts on Lawn Mowing Etiquette

We can all carry out a bit of lawn mowing etiquette without even really trying too hard. By practicing a little mindfulness and courtesy, we can not only avoid a stinkeye or two, but we might actually make some friends in the neighborhood. If you’ve got any other tips and tricks for polite lawn maintenance, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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