It’s raking season. I’ve spent several hours for each of the last several weeks clearing leaves from our deck, our driveway, our front lawn, and our back lawn. And since I’ve been doing some extra work to rehabilitate our lawn from some extra trauma earlier in the year, I also mow the lawn after all the leaves have been cleared.
But I haven’t used a single power tool to do any of this yard work.
No leaf blowers, no weed-whackers, no motorized lawn mowers.
Part of this was pushed upon me by circumstance. My leaf blower died about a year before my lawn mower. But I’ve ultimately chosen to use rakes and clippers and a push-reel lawn mower to do my yard work for a lot of the same reasons that I’ve chosen to use bicycle for transportation instead of automotive: For Health, for Wealth, for the Earth, and for Mirth. It’s good exercise. It offers significant cost-savings. It’s environmentally-conscious. And it’s just nice to find joy in connecting with my environment.
But there are additional reasons why I’ve come to prefer non-mechanized means for yard work.
One of these additional benefits is garage storage space. My rakes, my clippers, and my push-reel lawn mower are all significantly smaller than their mechanized alternatives. They take up less space themselves, and they don’t require extra fuel canisters or special attachments. These non-mechanical tools also don’t drip oil or gas. So they really do lend themselves to a tidier garage, and I love that!
Ease of Use
Another benefit is ease of use. The leaf-blower is perhaps the one exception, where it really does make quicker work of clearing a driveway. But when it comes to all the nooks and crannies of our deck and our lawns, the rake (and tarp) is just as good (if not better) than the leaf blower. The push-reel lawn mower has been the real revelation, though. Not only is it smaller, cheaper, greener, and less work to maintain. It’s actually far lighter and easier to use. It cuts the grass just as well as the motorized lawn mower, and it’s less than half the weight to push around. My lawn is small enough that it really is the perfect solution for our situation, but I seriously wonder why more homeowners don’t consider a push-reel lawn mower!
The whir and whine of motorized yard tools is annoying. It gets in the way of hearing the birds in the trees, the snip of the blade cutting the grass, the scratch of the rake across the lawn. Now that I’ve gone analog with all of my yard work, I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to cut back on noise pollution. It’s made the chores more enjoyable for me, and it’s honestly hard to think about ever going back.