Any suggestions for cool lawnmowers?

Looking for alternatives to stinky petrol powered mowers and (for us) ineffective reel mowers.

goat see
Creative Commons License photo credit: maessive

First, let’s set the stage:

  • I really don’t like the traditional suburban lawn. Tons of chemical, energy, and effort to create and maintain a biologically unstable mono culture so that I can … putt … or something. So, so silly.
  • I’m also a big non-fan of petrol powered lawnmowers. They’re noisy, smelly, polluting beasts that beat the crap out of the grass, ripping it instead of actually cutting it.

As a consequence we’ve explored a bunch of alternatives, but none have really worked terribly well. We really liked the idea of reel mowers, but our experience with several of them makes it clear that our lawn is way too uneven and bumpy for a reel mower. Sigh.

What would be perfect would be a solar powered Roomba-like robot mower. WeatherGirl correctly pointed out that this is frequently known as a “goat”; sadly, the city classifies goats as livestock rather than lawn tools, and we aren’t allowed keep livestock in town. Damn.

So, anyone have any ideas for an interesting alternative to buying a stinky petrol powered monster?

Thanks in advance!

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7 thoughts on “Any suggestions for cool lawnmowers?”

  1. hmmm. . . Electric? Find a friend who has a few goats and rent them every couple of weeks?

  2. I can’t find a link right now, but “This Old House Magazine” had an article in the last 2 or so years about ‘green’ lawnmowers. One option was a propane powered mower. If you remind me in a couple weeks, I can go thru our back issues and find it.

  3. Uh, maybe a couple of really small goats. You could call them ‘dogs’ or ‘cats’ if the city asked. Something like “Oh, those? Yeah, funny, they look like goats but they are actually minature high grassland terriers… from the Orkneys. Yeah, real rare breed, those.” Then you would have one for the front yard and one for the back.

    How about not having a traditional yard? Can you do that? Some cities get wierd about one having all natural prairie grasses instead of turf. Or you could do like they do in the southwest; put down pea gravel. Pave your yard. Not into pavement, then you could put down that recycled plastic stuff they use on playgrounds. Just trying to think outside the box here…

  4. I like CoryQ’s suggestion of just planting prairie grasses – grass is much more attractive if you let it go to seed, anyhow – but if Morris has laws about the length of your lawn (like Falcon Heights does)… it’s not really “cool” but we have a black & decker rechargeable electric mower that does the job (cuts our lawn, which I think is bigger than yours, on a single charge). We bought it at Home Depot, so it’s not exactly a rare item.

  5. Thanks to everyone for the ideas!

    We currently have an electric, but the motor just burned out, leaving us in need of something new for at least the rest of the summer. The electric has been nice, but having the cord has been a pain given the number of trees, shrubs, flower beds, and other obstacles in our lawn. The rechargeable mower Nick mentioned sounds quite promising, and would be a lot less of a pain. Kyle Hosker also mentioned the Neuton CE 5.2 battery powered mower over in a comment on Facebook. There are obviously some options to look into.

    The idea of renting/borrowing goats, rather than actually keeping them, is actually quite appealing. Then the vet bills, etc., etc., could be someone else’s problem, and we can just feed them occassionally :-).

    Lambo: Propane? That would be a change. I’ll leave you alone now since you’re in the middle of moving across town, but I’ll definitely plan on bugging you for that in a month or so.

    My long term plan has always been to essentially eliminate the yard altogether. The city definitely won’t be happy if we have 3 feet tall prairie grasses all across the lawn. We could try to replace it all (or large swathes of it) with buffalo grass, though, which doesn’t grow very tall and wouldn’t require much cutting. The big issue there would be the weeds and native plants that would try to come up through it, but mowing/pulling/weeding a handful of dandelions might be less annoying.

    Or we could just go for those miniature high grassland terriers. I kind of like that idea :-).

  6. Thanks a ton for finding and sharing! We’re going to Fergus Falls for other reasons on Friday, and we might swing by some big hardware kind of places there and see what kinds of things they have.

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