Lawn Mowers And Leaf Blowers: One Solution

Alert — and neighborly — “06880” reader Dick Jay writes:

This past spring, Dan ran an eye-opening article about the significant air and noise pollution from lawn maintenance equipment.

I have been quite annoyed by the same quality of life issues — especially the deafening noise of mowers and blowers — and knew of a great solution that I saw at my brother’s house in Italy 2 years ago. European homeowners have already installed over 1 million private, self-recharging, electric robotic mowers like the one at my house. They’re way ahead of us on this one.

I was finally able to find not only where to get the equipment (Brandman’s), but just as important the installer, a local entrepreneur: Beachgoers now routinely gawk at the futuristic Husqvarna machine pictured below, as it mows my lawn at 53 Compo Beach Road across from the marina.

I have no personal stake in promoting Erik’s business, except improving the lives of local residents. He pays for and installs the equipment and dog fence-type wiring. His people monitor and service the equipment, and come weekly to trim and blow the lawn — all with quiet electric trimmers and blowers.

The total cost is comparable to conventional commercial services, but the advantages are beyond my expectations. No mowing noise. No pollution. Lawn mowing by small increments 2-3 times weekly, sun or rain. The lawn is always the right length. Minimum lawn stress, thereby saving significant water. No damage to lawn and landscaping from heavy fast moving mowers. One mower can handle up to 1.25 acres.

I have not encountered any negatives. I wish everyone converted, if only out of respect for their neighbors.

40 responses to “Lawn Mowers And Leaf Blowers: One Solution

  1. Hey Dick. I’ll talk to my friends at Brandman’s and find out more. I’m still playing poker! My gardens were a hit on the garden tour this year.

    • Glad to hear from you Brad. My understanding is that landscaping companies like yours price mowing as a commodity with little profit and are now having real problems attracting labor, especially under the current administration’s immigration policies. If I were in your business I would try to convert my clients to this labor saving technology as a service to my customers, with no loss of profit and the advantage of redeploying my employees to more skilled activities.

  2. Joelle Berger

    Thank you for bringing up this topic. It is an absolute nuisance and should be addressed at the town level too. For example, some communities in Westchester County forbid leaf blowers certain months of the year. Their impact on the environment goes beyond the noise levels. I think also of the impact on the workers. I can’t imagine that it would be that difficult to have less noisy machines produced if there were regulations put in place and demanding them. I’m pretty sure some Italian engineers would figure it out. Indeed they are ahead of us quite often when it comes to machinery

    • I totally agree with you about getting noise regulations in Westport.

    • Fortunately most workers now wear noise protectors for their ears, which is great but also ironic since their companies just make the homeowner and neighbors suffer instead.

  3. As a kid, I visited my mothers cousins, the Evans, at that house (we lived around the corner at 5 Roosevelt Rd). They took in my grandfather, Serenio Jacob, after his mom died & his father left for New Jersey to start a new life. Great piece of property.

  4. This is great! Mr. Jay, do you happen to know what would happen if a curious child went on your lawn to see it – does it have a safety mechanism that would prevent it from running over his or her foot?

    • A curious child would never get hurt because the robot stops at all obstacles and turns around. If the child tips it over the recessed small blades will already retract and there is no way they could be harmed.

  5. Or you could go green with these mowers:
    Disclosure: I have had one of their cordless snow blowers for a few years.

    • Absolutely. Years ago when I was still able to mow we switched to an electric rechargeable mower and it was so much quieter than a traditional gas-powered mower.

  6. But does it bag the clippings?

  7. Rozanne Gates Dan Delventhal

    • We’ve been workin with Dan and MowGreen this season and are delighted with him and his team. What an amazing difference from the way we were. So quiet. Simply wonderful.

  8. William Strittmatter

    When I was a kid, I used to cut my neighbor’s lawn with their electric lawn mower (plug-in, long extension cords). This was late 60’s, early 70’s so I don’t think they were thinking “green” but they had a steep hill that, as they were getting older (and before I started to cut it), they probably couldn’t manage with a gas mower – the electric weighing maybe a quarter (or less) than what a gas mower weighed.

    The electric mower worked fine unless growth was heavy (lots of rain, more than a week of growth, etc.) at which point the motor wasn’t strong enough to power through it and I’d have to use our Toro. Although current electric mowers probably use stronger motors, I would imagine that issue still exists today, particularly for cordless models given limitations on power draw.

    I’m guessing that would explain why the robo-mower cuts 2-3 times/week which seems nice esthetically but awfully wasteful energy wise.

    • I don’t know the energy consumption, but can’t imagine is is significant since the machine is so small and light. You can also program it to cut less often if you choose.

  9. I have a second battery to swap out for the snow blower. FYI I don’t have a lawn (no mower of any sort) or I’d be suing those same batteries for a mower, too.

  10. Wow. That’s really, really cool. I switched to all electric lawn equipment (Ego avail at Home Depot) in April and totally love it. The power is great and I don’t miss the noise, fumes or hassle of stocking gas/oil mix. And I don’t have to worry about annoying my neighbors or driving away wildlife.

  11. Very very cool! Would love to see it take off and lower the noise. Mike

    Sent from my iPhone


  12. The power mowers don’t annoy me as much as the leaf blowers.

  13. Of course, the irony (we’ll call it that to keep things family friendly) is that the Town of Westport has a nuisance regulation on its books (Sec. 32-7.1) right now that addresses the issue of noise, vibration, air pollution, etc.

    However, if any resident has the temerity to file a zoning complaint using said regulation (especially town-owned property, such as, to chose a totally random example, the Levitt Pavilion) what happens next is quite interesting.

    Nothing. Followed quickly by n-o-t-h-i-n-g. And then finally, NOTHING.

    Your complaint essentially disappears and most any effort to learn its disposition is met with stony silence.

    Good times.

    • “…is met with stony silence.”

      So see, you do get the quiet you’re looking for!

      • Funny!

        Although “quiet” – like, say, Monhegan Island quiet – seems too ambitious a goal.

        I’d likely settle for: quiet-ish sometimes and not-over-the-top oppressive and anxiety producing for a meaningful amount of the balance.

  14. OMG, find something serious to beset about. Lawn mowing noise is a part of summer. Or get a job and hire a lawn crew to mow because most lawns are mowed during the work week.

  15. If you reread my comment you’ll work out that it wasn’t lawn equipment noise that I was complaining about.

  16. Susan Iseman

    It’s not just the noise- it’s the petroleum use that impacts air quality. I wish there was a better way. ( To the previous commenter Mark no last name- so brave to write that comment aren’t you?)

  17. First world “problem” and top 2% solution. Have your yard maintenance service handle mid-week instead of weekends, and almost no one will even notice. Most people who do their own yard maintenance can’t afford these robots. Even in Westport.

    • It’s certainly a first world problem here in Westport, but the broader problem includes every home, apartment complex, housing development, golf course and other grassy plot across America that is using conventional internal combustion, unrestrained noise and pollution engines….so Westport, including its town properties, is not a bad place to start. As for weekday mowing, many of us are working from home during the week, where it’s difficult to have a phone conversation during anyone’s lawn maintenance.

  18. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    As an ex-pat I often long for the seafront wild grasses of the East Coast that I think are so beautiful. Fertilizer is the source of the green tide that is ruining clear water from from sea to greening sea. Wild grasses are Mother Nature’s gift. I see them as the ultimate pollution solution but sadly my wife doesn’t agree with me. Out West they have lava rock instead of grass but I can’t stomach that technique. There is always a happy medium. We just don’t care to look for it.

  19. Terry Brannigan

    My father used to threaten to buy a goat an tether him just long enough to reach the property line. That looks really kool, what do you do about the edging? The string trimmers are where the noise comes from. BTW: How about the guys with the blowers all over town who blow the clippings into the street!

  20. Tony McDowell

    Just seeing this conversation stream and applaud the constructive discussion. Like Morley above, we at Earthplace we have switched over to battery powered equipment for weekly maintenance including a lawn mower, leaf blower, weed wacker and small chain saw–all using interchangeable batteries that give us 2 hours of up-time a day. For the larger areas we hired Dan and Mowgreen. All of the new equipment and services were competitive with gas powered alternatives and are much cleaner and quieter. We can all “just say no” to the noise and pollution.

  21. Don L. Bergmann

    As one engaged in the pollution noise issues of gas powered yard care machines, I hope the above comments lead to a thoughtful and conclusive dialogue as to such machines, particularly leaf blowers. I and others are trying to develop a consensus that could lead to consideration by the RTM of an ordinance. The matter is not without differing viewpoints but a groundswell of interest is likely to be important. At this point,Save Westport Now, Valerie Jacobs, has been taking a lead role and i believe the Green Task Force is interested as well. I do my own yard work and use electric powered equipment.
    Don Bergmann

  22. There is also a lawn-mowing service that uses electric-only equipment, charged by solar panels. No gasoline at all. Their website is

  23. Dave Stalling

    This seems a good, viable solution and has provoked some interesting discussion. But in regards to pollution, keep in mind that electricity is by no means benign. That lawnmower may be refreshingly quiet and not directly emitting fumes, but that doesn’t make it non-polluting. About 85 percent of electricity used in the United States is generated from coal, natural gas and nuclear — all of which the extraction, processing and distribution have huge global consequences and impacts in regards to loss of wildlife habitat; use of water, impacts to rivers, streams and air quality; emissions of C02 and other greenhouse gasses, and other environmental degradation. Let’s hope we continue to expand efforts to generate electricity and other energy from alternative and renewable sources such as wind and solar.

    • This^^^
      Teslas, Bolts, Volts, my snow blower battery packs have to get the juice from somewhere. That’s why zero emissions are a fallacy. Many large auto makers (MB, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, BMW and fuel distributors (Royal Shell, Total) are working on the use of hydrogen and facilities to fill cars.