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It's Easy Being Green

by Kristin Marino, All About Lawns Columnist

All I Want For Christmas Is...A Lawn Mower

Yes, a lawn mower. Using an old lawn mower is a real bummer... they deliver an uneven cut, they are sometimes impossible to get started, tough to push, and maybe even dangerous.

But for the ambitious person who mows the lawn every week, a lawn mower for Christmas is a gift that will be remembered and used at least once a week for at least six months out of the year. How many other Christmas gifts can you honestly say that about?
How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
Do you own your home?
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Here are some things to consider when purchasing a new lawn mower.

Reel or Rotary? What's the difference?

  • Reel lawn mowers use blades on a revolving cylinder. As the mower propels forward, the reel moves. Reel mowers are the ones used on golf courses because they can cut the grass shorter. They also make a cleaner cut than rotary mowers. It is not as easy to adjust for grass height with this type of mower. The blades on a reel lawn mower must be taken to a lawn mower shop for sharpening.
  • Rotary lawn mowers use a flat, horizontal blade. Rotary mowers are easier to use on long grass, but the cut of the grass is not as clean or even as a reel lawn mower. Rotary lawn mowers are lightweight. Maintenance is easier on this type of mower, and the blades are easy to remove and replace.

Gas or Electric Powered?

  • Electric powered lawn mowers are becoming increasingly popular. They are more environmentally friendly than gas-powered lawn mowers. They are available in both rotary and reel models. They are quiet and work on small and medium-sized lawns up to 3000 sq. ft.
  • Gas powered lawn mowers are still the standard and for the time being the only real option for big or demanding lawn mowing jobs. They are available in push, self-propelled, and riding lawn mowers.

Self-propelled, Push, or Riding Lawn Mower?

  • Push mowers are relatively inexpensive and are just fine for smooth, flat, small to medium-sized lawns.
  • Self-propelled mowers are great for hilly, uneven, or large lawns. The only real drawback to a self-propelled mower is that it may move too fast and get away from you. They are available in various speeds, so check speed settings before buying.
  • Riding lawn mowers are considered the gold-standard for many. For some, a riding lawn mower means "I've Arrived." They vary from tractor style to riding directly on the lawn mower. For a large lawn, these are a wonderful luxury. Some, however, have a very small turning radius. They are also the most expensive of the lawn mowers. Don't get a riding lawn mower unless you are sure the recipient will be able and willing to use it.

Lawn Mowers: A Gift that Keeps on Cutting

There are great deals to be had on lawn mowers right now. Many stores are eager to sell mowers at a great price during the winter months. Check the store ads in the Sunday paper for the various offerings available.

Ask your intended recipient what they love and hate most about mowing the lawn, and what features they think are important in a new lawn mower. And then, next summer, when everyone has forgotten what gifts they received for Christmas, pour yourself a cool drink, pull up a comfy lounge chair, and observe your thoughtful gift being used by your grateful gift recipient.

About the Author
Kristin Marino has been a homeowner for ten years and really does have the greenest lawn in her neighborhood. Kristin holds a bachelor degree in English from the University of Nevada.

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