Lawn mowers – the benefits of using human power

Lawns have been growing very fast this summer thanks to the alternating warm and wet spells that we’ve been having.  So there’s been lots of mowing to be done, but what sort of mower is the best choice for the average garden?

Hardly anyone buys a ‘push’ mower these days.  I think that’s because mowers are usually purchased by (and/or sold by) men, and many men seem to have the attitude that tools aren’t worth having unless they have engines or motors, and the bigger and noisier the better.

Let’s please not forget the humble push lawnmower, a simple, elegant, efficient piece of equipment with lots of advantages compared with its powered relatives: petrol lawnmowers are noisy and smelly and require regular servicing, and with electric mowers you spend half your time faffing about with the flex and extension leads, which constantly get in your way while mowing.  With my push mowers, on the other hand, I can finish cutting a lawn before I’d have got the extension lead out for an electric mower, and with none of the hassle, noise and smell of a petrol model.

push lawnmowers - invented here in Stroud and quieter, less smelly, and often quicker than power mowers
Push lawnmowers – invented here in Stroud and quieter, less smelly, and often quicker than power mowers

So I’d like to give three cheers for the push lawnmower.  It needs no supplies of petrol, creates no fumes or CO2, is calmingly quiet,  and doesn’t tie you up in flex or electrocute you.   I have two that I use regularly – a wide Husqvarna, which is a high quality mower for larger lawns, and a small cheap Powerbase mower which I rescued from a skip after someone had thrown it away!  Both of them cut quickly and smoothly, just needing half a turn a year with a spanner on the blade height adjuster nut to keep them performing beautifully year after year.

Thank you Edward Beard Budding, who invented the lawnmower here in Stroud in 1830.  Looking at the old illustrations, there’s very little difference between early push lawnmowers and those we buy and use today, except that modern mowers are much lighter, as they are no longer made of cast iron!

2 thoughts on “Lawn mowers – the benefits of using human power

  1. I totally agree – I do my lawn with a 16″ push (rotary) mower and go as fast, or faster, than commercial “landscaping” crews. It also makes it easier to maneuver in small places and mow around weeds and flowers you don’t want to disturb, and to mow right up to a line of hedges. A lot of gardeners create a dead space around bushes and trees, as if for style. I think it’s just that they can’t get their mowers into the space, so they eliminate the grass!

    I think a lot of people under 50 yrs. old just don’t know what push mowers are. I lent mine to my neighbors and they were actually amazed at how “that little thing” got their yard done so fast and easily. They had fun running using it. I do too. BTW, I’m a 60 year old woman using a push mower and hand tools only, and the work gets done pretty well … as efficiently or better than when young men work with noisy power tools.

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