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Kickaha
2010-05-25, 02:02
Just bought our first house (yay!), and with it our first yard (yay!) with grass (boo!). Looking for lawnmower recommendations.

Would prefer:
- Self-propelled
- Mulching

Lot size is 1.3 ac, but thank god only about .25-3 ac. is grass. (I should probably get the actual square footage estimate, eh?) A couple of boggy areas, so a heavy mower is likely to just... sink. A good portion of it is moss (yay!) so I really only have some rascally grass in a few places, although my wife is trying to convince me that grass is better. I remain unconvinced.

Thoughts? Stories?

Last mower I used with any regularity was a 30HP DIY job that my grandfather built to do double duty in the orchard. Damned thing would chop through 1.25" thick branches like butter. And it had bicycle tires. So I'm looking at the ones in Home Depot and thinking "You're kidding, right?"

School me, meine beeyotches.

curiousuburb
2010-05-25, 07:17
http://www.reggie.net/photos/ireland/sligo/carrowkeel/4737304_black_and_white_sheep-600.jpg

or go fully PKDick for teh robotic Moe
http://www.gearlog.com/images/mower.jpg http://thegrumpyowl.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/moe-robot-lawn-mowing-sheep.jpg (http://www.gearlog.com/2008/09/nextfest_2008_mower_the_roboti.php)

zippy
2010-05-25, 11:10
Honda mowers FTW! Or a John Deere.

Home depot sells Honda push mowers, but you probably have numerous other retailers as well, so see who might be having a sale.


Or, if you want to go really old school, you could get a reel mower - just don't ever get behind on your mowing.

And congratulations on the house!

kieran
2010-05-25, 14:01
I always wanted a reel mower, but the yard at my parent's house was always too big and the yard at the house I'm buying on Friday is a bit too big for it as well.

We're getting a lawnmower from the gf's parents for our house. Her parents are using our house purchase as an excuse for them to get all new stuff. I'm not complaining, we're getting all of their "old" stuff.

Kickaha
2010-05-25, 14:08
We had a Lawn Boy mower when I was growing up that was a pretty solid beast, but that was 30 years ago... no idea what the quality is like now.

Hondas seem to be consistently rated highly, but also pricey.

Considering a cordless elec mulcher from Honda, if it will do the entire yard in one charge... which is mildly doubtful.

drewprops
2010-05-25, 14:42
After 30 years of mowing the same yard I can safely say that the best mower is the one that you can keep running. Unless your yard is ≥ an acre then it's certainly a push mower. Mine isn't even self-propelled... it's more of a workout, but then lawn mowing shouldn't exactly be a walk in the park... you should pay for the death and destruction wrought upon the denizens of the low ground cover with sweat!!

Now I am become Death, destroyer of micro-worlds.


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PB PM
2010-05-25, 14:47
After 30 years of mowing the same yard I can safely say that the best mower is the one that you can keep running.

...
Yup, we've had our Black and Decker (not sure if these exist in the US) electric mower for 15 years and it still runs just fine. Of course to me, electric mowers suck, but then again I didn't get to pick it.

pscates2.0
2010-05-25, 16:42
Yeah, I'm kinda into the whole "people-powered push mower" thing myself. Just seems like there is less stuff to go wrong, worry about and fool with. And when you're done, and all caked in sweat, it's great to hop into a cool, refreshing shower. It's kind of a neat little "whew...I'm almost done" reward in itself.

A little work and sweat never hurt anyone, so, weird as it sounds, I've gotten to the point (at 41, no less) where I kinda look forward to the weekly "yard workout". I just accept the fact I'm going to get grungy and sweaty for a couple of hours, and enjoy it in its own weird way.

My next mower will go even further that way and be a simple reel mower. I hate gas, oil, the noise, pulling that cord, etc. I'd rather just walk behind something with a pleasant clickity-clack sound. And I mow every 5-7 days, without fail, so it's not like I'm in danger of the yard getting away from me.

I've become quite the weed-whacker artisan too. I tell ya...when I'm done mowing, trimming, edging, raking and blowing the driveway/sidewalk, it's a damn beautiful sight.

:)

Kick, we have a Weedeater brand (with a Briggs & Stratton engine) from Walmart. It was less than $100. Just a simple 20" mower, no catcher or anything, it's push-powered, etc. About as simple and "old-school" as you can get in terms of operation. But it's very reliably, quick to start and weighs almost nothing! It's into its second year and is really nice. Extremely ightweight, easy-to-start, runs forever on a fill-up, etc. At the start of the season I change the oil, clean (or replace) the air filter, remove and sharpen the blade and put in a new spark plug (and put some new, fresh 98-proof gas in my can, which lasts me well into July). I might remove the blade midway through the summer and re-sharpen if I hit some roots or rocks.

So far, I couldn't be happier. Certainly could've spent (a lot) more, but didn't.

drewprops
2010-05-25, 17:04
Oooooo!!!

If only someone would make LAWNMOWERS the next photo-challenge I'd be sure to enter!!


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billybobsky
2010-05-25, 18:46
one thing you need to consider is the slope of the yard. riding lawnmowers don't do intense slopes well...

Wyatt
2010-05-25, 19:25
I'll play Devil's advocate to Paul: I just bought the cheapest mower at Wal-Mart a few weeks ago. It ran for about five minutes and promptly died. It has never started since.

I tore it down, and it looks like the flywheel might be off balance. It should spin somewhat smoothly (albeit with significant physical effort), but it looks like it's wobbling. It's scraping the sides of its housing in one spot. I don't have a receipt (because I'm a dumbass) so I have no recourse at all. I need to figure out a way to fix it, but I know next to nothing about these things. I'd hate to pay somebody to fix a $130 mower.

So yeah, I'm a big advocate for buying what you can afford. Unfortunately, that was it for me. :(

pscates2.0
2010-05-25, 19:45
Uh-oh...that's no good. Sorry to hear. We've had really solid luck.

Save those receipts, gang (and fill out/submit all warranty cards and info too). Seems "overkill" and a hassle on the front end (after all, everything works good when it's new), but you'll be glad you did, down the line. Put the burden back on the company that makes/sells the product, and you'll have receipt and legit, timely warranty info on your side.

Satchmo
2010-05-25, 20:10
but then lawn mowing shouldn't exactly be a walk in the park...


Oh but it is with this Gardena Push Mower (http://www.amazon.com/Gardena-15-Inch-Silent-Folding-Ergonomic/dp/B00095L49C/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1274836084&sr=8-2). These are so light and the mechanism is smooth and quiet. A bit more expensive than your ordinary push mower, but well worth it.

drewprops
2010-05-25, 20:43
Satch, you have apparently never encountered Zoysia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoysia)!! {cue nature-defeating-puny-humans music}



(it's like trying to cut a deep pile carpet)

...

Satchmo
2010-05-25, 20:50
Holy crap! How the heck are you suppose to attack that? You're better off using a weed whacker.

torifile
2010-05-25, 21:04
I'll play Devil's advocate to Paul: I just bought the cheapest mower at Wal-Mart a few weeks ago. It ran for about five minutes and promptly died. It has never started since.

I tore it down, and it looks like the flywheel might be off balance. It should spin somewhat smoothly (albeit with significant physical effort), but it looks like it's wobbling. It's scraping the sides of its housing in one spot. I don't have a receipt (because I'm a dumbass) so I have no recourse at all. I need to figure out a way to fix it, but I know next to nothing about these things. I'd hate to pay somebody to fix a $130 mower.

So yeah, I'm a big advocate for buying what you can afford. Unfortunately, that was it for me. :(
Did you pay with a credit card? They may be able to look up your purchase.

Banana
2010-05-25, 21:04
I bet Kickaha could turn this into one of those creative endeavours: Build a open lawnmower using the technology of roomba vacuum cleaner. Don't bother covering the rotating blades. Throw in a motion sensor with a remote control and now you have a lawn-security-guard that can mow, too! He'll never worry about those damned kids playing on his lawn ever again.

zippy
2010-05-25, 22:31
I bought a Stanley from WalMart a number of years ago and it's been giving me problems the last couple of years. I'm not sure it's even going to fire up this year. If it doesn't, i've already decided not to go cheap again and I'll be getting a Honda.

I don't know what kind of mower my neighbor has, but it's about 30 years old and it starts on the first pull. Every time. That's the kind of reliability that I believe I can get with a Honda. Or at least I hope....

My father in law has a really old John Deere and it has only been giving him problems recently. I considered a Deere, but I think Hondas rate even better.

drewprops
2010-05-25, 22:37
Maybe the trick is to buy an old Honda or John Deere from someone who kept their stuff in immaculate condition! You know, someone who's gotten too old to cut their own grass and has to use a service? Hrrmmm....


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Kickaha
2010-05-26, 02:17
I bet Kickaha could turn this into one of those creative endeavours: Build a open lawnmower using the technology of roomba vacuum cleaner. Don't bother covering the rotating blades. Throw in a motion sensor with a remote control and now you have a lawn-security-guard that can mow, too! He'll never worry about those damned kids playing on his lawn ever again.

Ooooh, I like the way you think.

Boomerangmacuser
2010-05-27, 00:07
I just made the jump from townhouse to house last August. Bought a Honda. The Cub Cadets at Home Depot looked cheap and plasticky. Honda has a 5 year warranty if you use synthetic oil. I just went with a push model. I'm not worried about the workout. It can rear bag or mulch (if you don't let the grass grow too long). Never needed more than 2 pulls to start. Even the first mow of the season. That's february here.

I paid about 50% more than the Cub cadet. Time will tell if I made the right decision.

Kickaha
2010-05-27, 12:48
Homing in on Toros at the moment - they seem to be the pick of the price/quality litter according to Consumer Reports. Near-Honda quality for 30% less.

zippy
2010-05-27, 15:07
Toro would not be a bad choice. I think that may be what my neighbor that I mentioned has. Or possibly a Lawn-Boy.

One feature that his has, mine doesn't, but I would like: you can disengage the blade so that the mower stays running while you empty the bag. I don't know if they've totally eliminated that feature for 'safety' reasons nowadays, but it's nice not to have to re-start the mower every time you empty the bag. And it's better on the motor too.

-edit-
I just checked out Honda's web site and some of their mowers have this feature. Not sure about the Toros, but IMO if you have a sizeable yard, it would be a worthwhile thing.

Kickaha
2010-05-27, 15:56
Yup, in fact that model I'm looking at has exactly that feature. Never seen it before.

Kickaha
2010-05-27, 18:10
Went with a Toro 20333 (http://www.toro.com/home/mowers/recycler/20333.html). Found it for a decent price locally, ended up walking out with a Stihl FS45 trimmer to boot.

Woo.

I suppose I should get some gas for them on the way home...

Boomerangmacuser
2010-05-28, 22:46
Is the Stihl a 4 stroke or do you need a second gerry can for mixed gas?

Kickaha
2010-05-29, 01:03
2 stroke. Two cans isn't all that bad, 1 gal each.

Q for y'all. Growing up, we always kept gas, mowers, paint, insert-explosive-item-here in the garage. My wife thinks this is insane. I think it's normal, and safe... except that the natural gas furnace is in the garage to boot, and that's giving me pause.

Consensus? I'm considering kicking the gas cans out to the garden 'shed' (no doors, lattice walls, roof), but I think sticking nice new garden tools out there is asking for them to walk off.

turtle
2010-05-29, 06:37
I have a fully enclosed shed that I keep my gas and other such liquids in. I don't like using the garage simply because we don't park in there anyway but more use it as a shop.

drewprops
2010-05-29, 08:43
Shed.


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billybobsky
2010-05-29, 11:21
Q for y'all. Growing up, we always kept gas, mowers, paint, insert-explosive-item-here in the garage. My wife thinks this is insane. I think it's normal, and safe... except that the natural gas furnace is in the garage to boot, and that's giving me pause.

EOL. Death. No good open flame/volatile combustible.


Consensus? I'm considering kicking the gas cans out to the garden 'shed' (no doors, lattice walls, roof), but I think sticking nice new garden tools out there is asking for them to walk off.

Yes, garden tools will leave and so too might the gas can if it isn't locked down, but it is safer as long as the roof has a lighting rod/ground connection.

zippy
2010-06-01, 09:39
I don't think the garage is a problem. I would not put the gas close to the furnace, and as long as you keep it lidded I would think it would be OK. You'd have to build up quite a lot of fumes to really worry about combustion from across the room.

Kickaha
2010-06-01, 14:05
That was my thought too - there's already a rather large store of paint in the garage after all, left by the previous owner. Buuuuuuttttt... wife and I have come to a compromise. Gas in the shed, mower in the garage.

Boomerangmacuser
2010-06-02, 15:48
That was my thought too - there's already a rather large store of paint in the garage after all, left by the previous owner. Buuuuuuttttt... wife and I have come to a compromise. Gas in the shed, mower in the garage.

That's pretty much what I was going to recommend.

The biggest culprit for garage fires are those butane BBQ lighters. In Surrey BC there have been a couple of garage fires started by these buggers. They usually get crammed in a box somewhere where the trigger can be activated. They contain both fuel and ignition source; all that's missing is oxygen to complete the triangle. Unless your garage is an airlock, you have a trifecta.