Courtlney Davis is an MBA graduate who knows the value of DIY lawn care. Her 9 tips will keep you safe as well as save you time and money.
Equipment You Will Need to Mow Your Lawn
Here is a list of equipment you will need to mow your own lawn:
- Eye goggles to protect your eyes
- Gloves to provide protection for your hands (I use thick ski gloves instead of the garden type)
- Insect repellent to ward off the mosquitoes, wasps, and other pests (I use Avon Skin so Soft, but there are other insect repellents you can use)
- Sunglasses (Depending on the weather)
- Wide brim hat or sun visor (To shield yourself from the sun)
- Comfortable shoes, with socks to cushion your feet (You may have to walk a lot, depending on the size of your lawn)
- Outerwear commensurate with the weather, for example a light jacket in fall, etc.
- A working push lawn mower
1. Inspect Your Lawn Before Mowing
Physically walk around the complete area you plan to mow before you start. You can not inspect your yard from looking out the window. You must do an actual physical inspection of the area where you will be cutting the grass. The purpose of the walk-through is to make sure there are no obstacles that will cause physical harm to you or will impede your mowing once you get started.
You may take a lawn or garbage bag with you when performing your walk-through inspection of your lawn. If you have lots of trees and tend to have a multitude of sticks, branches, rocks, etc. on your lawn, make sure you pick up as many of these potential projectiles as you can to reduce any chance of getting hurt.
To avoid bending down to pick up sticks, branches, debris, etc., you can use a dust pan that has a long handle. Use a broom or a rake to move the items into the dust pan. The long handle of the dust pan negates the need for you to bend over.
I do not recommend using a leaf blower to clear the sticks because you will only be blowing them to an area you will have to pick up from later. You may use a leaf blower if you are still in the process of clearing your yard of any fallen leaves prior to mowing.
2. Maintain Good Posture as You Mow Your Lawn
Maintain good posture and make sure when you push the lawn mower, you refrain from leaning over. By leaning forward, you are using your lower back muscles as strength to push the lawn mower which is not recommended. Most of your strength should come from your arms and not your back. Once you get in the routine of moving the lawn mower over your lawn, periodically remind yourself to stand up straight and not lean as you mow. Remember to use both hands on the handle of the mower to push it -- One-hand mowing is not doable or safe.
To avoid neck pain or strain, keep your head straight as you walk with the push mower. As you push the lawn mower, do not rush as if you are in a hurry to finish mowing. Walk slowly at a comfortable gait, with your neck and back straight as you mow your lawn.
3. Change Your Lawn Mowing Pattern
Feel free to change the direction you mow your lawn each time you mow. For example, if you mowed horizontally at one mowing, at the next mowing you should do so vertically. Changing your mowing routine will also reduce any boredom you may experience if you follow the same pattern every time you mow your lawn.
4. Protect Yourself against Mosquitoes and Other Pests When Mowing Your Lawn
Mosquitoes come out in the early evening, so be sure to schedule your mowing time appropriately. Try to decrease the likelihood of mosquitoes by making sure there is no standing water around your home. Additionally, if the weather permits, wear clothing that will protect you from mosquito bites, such as long sleeve tops and pants.
If you have a flower garden, scrubs, hedges, etc. be alert for swarming bees or even spiders. Once while I was mowing my lawn, I pushed the lawn mower close to some scrubs and spotted what looked like a gigantic yellow and black spider. If I had not been observant, I would have walked close enough to the web to disturb it. Bottom line, watch where you are mowing and protect yourself from pests.
5. Mow Your Lawn According to the Weather
If it is hot outside, there is no need to mow your lawn and take a chance of having a heat related incident. If you feel that you must mow your lawn during hot weather, do so early in the morning when it may be cooler (not too early to disturb the neighbors if you have any).
If it has rained and the grass is still wet, it is best to wait until the grass is dry before attempting to mow your lawn. Cutting wet grass can be hazardous since your lawn will be slippery. Also cutting wet grass with a push lawn mower will result in the grass clumping around the blades of the mower. To avoid these problems, simply wait until the grass is dry before you mow your lawn.
6. Take Frequent Rest and Water Breaks While Mowing Your Lawn
Do not try to mow a large area of your lawn at once without taking a break. You may think you are impressing the neighbors with your stamina, but you are only increasing the chance of suffering sore muscles, and having aches and pain needlessly.
Also be sure to stay hydrated while mowing your lawn. If you get thirsty while mowing your lawn, you may already be dehydrated without fully realizing it. To be on the safe side, just make it a habit to drink water during your rest or break intervals.
7. Mow the Grass, Not the Concrete
You may think that this tip is a no-brainer. However, to avoid having to stop and start your mower if you approach concrete instead of grass while mowing, you might decide to run your lawn mower over concrete. If possible, avoid moving the lawn mower over cement or concrete, because you may damage the lawn mower. Just cut your lawn mower off when you see concrete or guide your lawn mower around it.
8. Keep Grass at Least 3 Inches Tall
You may think it would be logical to cut the grass short to cut down on the mowing intervals. This may be tempting, but you are only damaging the grass if you cut it too short. Grass needs growing and breathing space. The rule of thumb is to keep your grass at least 3" tall when mowing. Your push lawn mower should have a lever where you can adjust how tall or short you want to cut your grass. Adjust it accordingly.
9. Leave Grass Clippings on Freshly Cut Gras
It is beneficial to leave the grass clippings on the lawn instead of either bagging them or having them captured by the grass catcher on the lawn mower. If you can, remove the grass catcher from the mower, and simply just let the grass clippings stay where they lay. The grass clippings are organic matter and will serve to feed your freshly cut grass.
Courtlney Davis (author) on March 22, 2012:
Thanks for your comments. Yes -- it's that time again! I appreciate you stopping by.
bemily521 on March 22, 2012:
These are some great tips! Thanks for sharing...go to go mow! ;)
Courtlney Davis (author) on August 30, 2011:
Thanks for your comment and for voting up on my hub!
Paul Cronin from Winnipeg on August 25, 2011:
Really good hub on Mowing, I never gave it much thought before, but you have certainly given me reason to slow down and think about it the next time out. I love all the safety tips you provide, so many accidents could be avoided if people followed these tips. Voted Up and Interesting. Thanks for sharing...
Courtlney Davis (author) on August 24, 2011:
Right! Thanks for your comment and for voting up!
f on August 23, 2011:
Time of the year also has a lot to do with it, right?
My lawn hardly grows for months; then in the warmer weather it gives a spurt of growth. (Keeps me busy!)
Nspeel from Myrtle Beach on August 19, 2011:
No problem keep writing great hubs that i can voted up :D
Courtlney Davis (author) on August 19, 2011:
Thanks for commenting on my article and voting it up!
Nspeel from Myrtle Beach on August 19, 2011:
I did not know a lot about my grass surprisingly. I did not know grass clippings are good to leave on the lawn. I would have assumed that was bad. Great article voted up and very useful.