I have discovered how much more pleasurable it is to use rechargeable (battery powered) and electric (plug in) yard and property maintenance equipment instead of gas powered equipment. Not that yard and property maintenance is necessarily pleasant, but it is certainly more pleasurable once the gasoline engines are removed from the equation.
Commonly available battery or plug‐in equipment includes lawn mowers, weed whackers (string trimmers), pressure washers, small snow throwers, hedge trimmers, and chain saws.
Below are some of the advantages:
• No buying and storing (or spilling) gasoline or oil or 2‐cycle fuel mixtures;
• No oil changes or tune‐ups;
• Starts every time (and no pulling a starter rope… or back muscles!);
• Much quieter (can even use early and late in the day without disturbing neighbors);
• No smell (except fresh cut grass); and
• No direct air pollution emissions or clouds of smoke or uncombusted fuel (bonus if you recharge with green power – no emissions).
A battery rechargeable mower should be adequate to complete the periodic mowing of most urban and suburban lawns. If you have a larger yard (probably anything over a half acre) and you can’t mow the entire lawn on one charge, you could purchase a second battery and swap in a fully charged battery or you could mow half the lawn one day and finish up the next.
Another viable option to remember is human powered equipment. In the right conditions and situations, a reel‐type push mower is a great option. They are emission free and provide a little more exercise.
But remember, you don’t have to be a slave to a big lawn! Unless you prefer or need a big lawn, you can make your life easier and free up more of your time by reducing the area that needs active regular maintenance. You can naturalize with native trees and shrubs and even edibles like blueberries or raspberries. A clump of spruce trees, for example, can take up former lawn areas and provide habitat for wildlife and look great too.
Kevin Carpenter, aka Treeguy, has worked as an environmental engineer in the private and public sectors for the past 22 years, focusing on environmental remediation and the cleanup of hazardous waste and brownfield sites. He is an enthusiast of solar energy including PV, SDHW and solar hot air. Outside of work he strives to live simply and sustainably in this ever more complex and disconnected world. He can be reached via Member email or comments to this blog.