Spring is (unofficially) known to homeowners as the endless season of mowing. It’s crazy how you can mow your lawn, go to lunch, and then it’s time to mow again! Whether you drive a riding lawn mower or push a reel model, mowing can be laborious. Invest some time reformatting your landscaping a bit so that mowing is both safer and less work. Here is where to start in the process
Create a Mowing Border
When grass is happy, you will know it. That’s because it will propagate here, there, and everywhere when given the chance. To keep your grass where you want it, try creating a border between it and any flower beds, play structures, or garden areas. This can be with a stone retaining wall, wooden raised boxes, or plastic edging. Regardless of what you use, if the grass grows right up to your dividing wall, you are left with a two-step mowing process. The first is the actual mowing. The second is coming back through with the edger to trim all of the straggling outliers that the mower couldn’t get. Avoid the second step by installing a mow strip along the perimeter of your lawn area. Concrete pavers specifically shaped as arrows easily fit together to create a dividing edge any place you want. Many other flat bricks work, too. Be creative in your design. In addition to keeping grass from brushing up against nearby structures, this mowing strip allows you to take the mower right over it, cutting the grass to the very edge.
If your trees look unnatural with a trim, consider creating a large, grass-less circle around the trunk to avoid dodging branches. Use the same brick pavers that you use around the border for a uniform look and ease of mowing. Alternatively, use a rubber trim that will still allow you to mow over the top, but will keep the grass from creeping back in under the tree. Another option is to check your local home improvement store for tree rings. Typically made from rubber, a tree ring is a flat circle that surrounds the base of the tree. This is an easy way to avoid frequent mulching and stifles weed growth. Plus, they deter the nearby grass from transplanting in the area, yet allow you to easily mow the area without fear of jabbing your eye out on a branch.
The edge of your lawn isn’t the only obstacle when it comes to mowing. Trees in your yard are another potential hurdle. If you’ve ever done the last-second limbo in order to duck below a low-hanging branch, you know what we’re talking about here. If you’d rather not test your maximum back arch, consider trimming branches up to at least eye level. This works well for tall trees with large branches that will still look symmetrical without stretching all the way to the ground.
Options for Lawn Trimmings
If your lawn is large or thick, you probably spend as much time emptying your mower bag as you do cutting the lawn. During the heavy growth season, it’s not a good idea to spit your clippings directly back onto your lawn, but once the initial spring burst is out of the way, it’s actually great for your lawn and a wonderful time savings for you. Simply use the mulch setting on your mower or remove the bag and allow your trimmings to shoot out the side. When you do have extra trimmings to empty or rake up, the compost pile will appreciate the deposit. (Just be sure to create thin layers and intermingle grass with organic food waste as well as brown ingredients such as thin branches and paper bags.) Most cities also have yard debris pickup options along with the curbside garbage and recycling. Be aware that grass clippings, especially those that are wet, can be very heavy to move if you fill the entire yard debris container first before moving it. An easier method is to move the debris receptacle close to the street before adding the clippings.
Investing time into changing the layout of your yard and implementing new landscaping can save you hours and energy. The next time you mow, think about what areas are slowing you down or acting as obstacles in completing the task. Then change it so you can work smarter, not harder!