It’s a nightmare situation but an all too common one: your lawnmower stops working and your yard resembles a jungle. Unfortunately, a lawnmower is the most standard way to cut your lawn as it does the job fairly quickly and efficiently.
Believe it or not, though, there are some who are opting to not use these gas or electric lawnmowers, mostly due to storage requirements. There are also environmental concerns about using these mowers that lead some to look for alternative methods.
And, yes, there are other methods out there that one could use to cut the grass that do not involve a mower of any kind. But how do you cut the grass without a lawnmower?
Here are a few suggestions that might seem a bit crazy but could work out just as well.
1 – String Trimmer
One of the major setbacks of a lawnmower is its size. Unfortunately, we don’t all have the necessary space to store one and getting to it can be a hassle. And there is also the matter of emptying the bag. Those can be messy, leaving everything it touches green after cutting the grass.
This is where an electric trimmer can come in hand. They are relatively thin and tall so storing one is far easier than it is to store a lawnmower. And, best of all, the vast majority of string trimmers now come with a cordless, battery-powered option for ease of handling.
Even if you have an electric drop cord, it still might be easier to use than a lawnmower. The key here is to ensure that you have an extension cord long enough to cover the length of the yard; it can be a huge pain to have to unplug and replug whenever you run out of cord.
The key to trimming your grass is to ensure that it is completely dry. If it has rained, avoid cutting the grass until it has dried out. The same goes with that morning dew that is all too common. If the grass is wet, it will result in a clumpy and uneven cut. Avoid moisture if at all possible.
The next step is to make sure that you have your extension cord set up to the distance that you need. Sometimes you have to use what you have available but you can make things more convenient.
Having an extension cord can make things far easier and allow you to get the job done without having to relocate the plug.
When you begin, your stance and grip is important. Find the technique that is most comfortable for you so that you can get an even cut throughout. Start out by just making contact with the head of the trimmer to the grass and make a few side-to-side motions.
When you feel comfortable with your stride, you can move throughout the grass (or weeds), covering larger areas as you go.
There are two downsides to this method. The first is that it still takes longer than a lawnmower. The area that you’re covering with each swipe is not nearly as large as the area covered by a lawnmower so it will likely take you longer to get the job done.
The second is that your grass clippings will shoot any which way. Even though it’s a hassle to empty a mower bag, at least the grass goes into one place. When you use a trimmer, it kicks the grass everywhere, making it a lengthier cleanup for you.
2 – Scythe
Of course, there are some out there who want to veer away from using anything electric or battery-powered, opting to go old school and do the job by hand. And one of those “by hand” methods involves the use of a scythe.
If you haven’t seen a scythe before, it is a huge metal blade at the end of a long handle or stick. The blade is curved starkly and is meant to cut with a steady back-and-forth motion. You likely won’t see a lot of people using a scythe these days but it can be quite effective if you have experience with it.
The key here is to make certain that you are in a comfortable position and that your grasp on the scythe is by the horizontal handles when the grass is particularly high.
Even if you still want to use a mower, having a scythe to take down particularly tall grass can be highly beneficial since the tall grass will jam and clog the mower, causing it to stall out.
As you cut with the scythe, you want to swing in a smooth back-and-forth motion using the muscles in your thighs and hips as you go. Hold the scythe parallel to the ground for the most even and consistent results and make certain that you walk forward once an area is cut.
This method is great for those looking to stay in shape because it takes quite a bit of effort and physical exertion to pull off. As mentioned previously, you can implement this method when the grass gets ridiculously high.
Safety is paramount when going with this option, however. This is a dangerous blade being used and can cause quite a bit of damage if used recklessly. Be smart and be safe when using a scythe and you will find yourself with an effective grass cutter.
If you decide to go this route, try searching for a weed scythe like this one, so you don’t accidentally get a dull grim reaper prop.
3 – Shears
This one will take a bit more time but it’s hard to beat the accuracy that shears can provide. Shears are basically giant scissors that you hold with both hands; there is a large set of blades at the ends of the handles that cut the grass.
This will require knee pads or something similar to keep your knees from feeling the effect of the ground. You will have to maneuver around on your knees and elbows to cut the grass to your desired length with shears but you might not be able to get a more accurate cut than this.
Shears are meant to cut small areas of grass at a time so if you are impatient, this might not be the method for you. Those who prefer to keep their grass as symmetrical as possible can use shears to ensure that their lawns are cut as accurately as possible.
4 – Hedge Trimmer
This is in a similar vein as the string trimmer or “weed whacker”, only a little bit different. A hedge trimmer looks somewhat similar to a chainsaw and is meant to help you cut down large swaths of bushes and shrubbery.
Still, it can actually be quite an effective method for cutting your grass. As with the trimmer itself, it takes a bit of practice to ensure that your cut is where you want it to be. Swinging wildly just to get the grass cut is fine and well but you likely won’t get anything resembling an even cut.
Safety is of the utmost importance here as well. There have been far too many horror stories of people cutting willy-nilly only to find that they have sliced through an extension cord or worse. Be mindful of your surroundings and keep anything and everything out of the way of the hedge trimmer.
The best part about this is that you can cut the grass and trim the bushes and shrubs with one fell swoop. There will be no more switching out tools to get the job done when you can just use the hedge trimmers to get it all done.
Of course, if you want to get really crazy, you could always…
5 – Use Goats
Believe it or not, there are some people out there who don’t do their own lawn mowing. No, they use the help of a friendly farm animal instead. That’s right, there are people out there who let goats do the job for them.
This generally isn’t seen outside of rural areas — think of the looks from your neighbors if you tied a goat out front and let it go to work — but it can be an effective method with a little bit of patience and a lot of goats.
In farm areas in particular, property owners will make use of these herbivores to cut down on the shrubbery around a given area. Granted, they aren’t meant to cut down on huge swaths of grass for you but they can do a pretty nifty job around their pen or near a barn.
These are just a few ways that you can find an alternate path towards mowing your lawn. Having a lawnmower certainly provides a more convenient method of doing things but storage and environmental concerns can be too much for some to ignore.
With most of the methods listed above, the key is patience and safety. Take your time, make certain that you are using the tool properly, and carve out an even path wherever possible. This will help you to keep the grass looking straight and even without having to worry about powering a huge, noisy mower that takes up tons of space.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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