To Mow or Not To Mow Your Homestead

The attitude about mowing a yard is gradually changing but when I was growing up everyone mowed their lawns like clockwork. It was just something you did and for a long time, I never questioned it. 

As I got a little older the idea of mowing seemed weird. I could not quite put my finger on it, but it just seemed odd to me. So, I started asking people why they mowed their lawns.

Here are the three most common answers I received. 

#1. I don’t know, because you are just supposed to mow your yard.

#2. Because it makes it look nice. 

#3. It helps to keep the weeds from taking over.

The answers I got didn’t surprise me but I was looking for something a little more. Basically, I concluded that mowing a yard and keeping it manicured is a sign of prestige and wealth because it takes a lot of time and money to keep it that way. 

If you living a homestead lifestyle this mentality probably isn’t something you are interested in. so with that in mind, should you mow your homestead? 

Homesteads are usually located in rural settings where the owner has a certain amount of land that can include a large yard. Although, nowadays homesteading has gained popularity in more urban areas. 

In either case, deciding to mow or not to mow your homestead may seem straightforward. But the decision you make can have some positive as well as negative consequences.  

Reasons to Mow Your Yard

Owning property means you will probably have to mow at least some of the yard and here are a few reasons you may want to do that. 

Creates a Social Area 

Other than just looking at them, a yard does provide an area for social gatherings. Mowed grass gives kids an area to play, for you to set up chairs or a hammock, and to have an outdoor cooking area. 

Getting Rid of Critters

Tall grasses provide a home and cover for all sorts of critters and insects. They may be difficult to see and they can be a source of problems being so close to home. Keeping grass mowed around structures can help to reduce issues with certain wildlife. 

Wildfires

Every year, hundreds of thousands of acres of land are affected by wildfires. 

If you live in an area that is prone to wildfires you may need to mow and trim vegetation around your home to reduce the risk and effects to structures on your property.  

Must Mow 

For a variety of reasons, many areas have ordinances that state a lawn must be kept at a certain length. If you live in areas like this, you may not have any other option than to mow your yard.


Reasons Not to Mow

When you start talking about not mowing a yard you may get a few funny looks from people. But for all the reasons there are to mow a yard, there are just as many reasons not to mow. 

Saves Water 

Homeowners use billions of gallons of clean drinking water every year to water their lawns. Ironically, most of that water is wasted. 

Think about the time, money, infrastructure, and energy that goes into bringing drinking water to a home only to spray that water onto a lawn. Billions of gallons and dollars are spent on lawns every single year. 

Beware the Chemicals 

Just like the case with water, billions of dollars are spent every year on harmful chemicals that are put onto yards. Some chemicals kill certain things, other chemicals make things grow but all those chemicals eventually end up in the groundwater and will affect surrounding areas. 

Also, it is not advisable to forage for wild edibles in lawns that have been chemically treated. 

Time Wasted

Even if you do not have a particularly big yard, you probably spend several hours each week mowing and maintaining it. 

The yard I remember when growing up took two hours to mow with a riding lawnmower and it was usually mowed twice a week. That is 16 hours a month.

Save Money

From the above sections, you can probably tell that a manicured lawn costs a lot of money. 

Money spent on the water, chemical treatments, lawn services, mowers, fuel, oil, mower maintenance, trimmers, and whatever else is spent on the upkeep of a yard. The less yard you mow, the more money you will save. 

Grow More Food

Take a look out of your window and survey how large your yard is. Now, imagine the entire yard, or at least most of it as a food garden. 

Most people have enough land tied up in a yard to grow fresh food to sustain them throughout the year. 


Mow or No?

I have met people that are 100% for mowing all the way and I have met people that are very much against it. 

The reality is you will probably have to adapt a little bit to both attitudes.

Properties do need minimal mowing and trimming maintenance such as around walkways, doorways, working areas, etc. 

But that does not mean you have to go to the extent of having a perfectly manicured lawn throughout for the sake of appearances.  

For the homesteader it makes sense not to have a lawn to mow because:

  • It saves time
  • It saves money 
  • It saves waters
  • The property will be chemical-free 
  • It will provide additional growing space for food (this is a big reason not to mow)

Here are some additional ways to save money if you have any amount of mowing to do 

Mower Maintenance

Push mowers are fairly easy and cheap to maintain versus riding lawn mowers that are more expensive and complex. 

Lawn mower in the garden

For mowers to operate properly and efficiently, they should be on a yearly maintenance schedule. Oil changes, filters, spark plugs, etc. 

Taking mowers to professionals is ideal but the cost can add up. Consider doing the work yourself. Many mowers are simple machines, and it doesn’t take that long to learn about them. Plus, as a homesteader self-reliance should kind of be your thing, right?

Get a Push Mower 

Of course, you can skip all the expenses of a power mower and go straight to a manual push mower. These are incredibly simple machines with rotating blades that spin by push power. They reduce both noise and air pollution and require very little maintenance. Also, they are a great source of exercise!

Leave the Clippings 

Bagging yard clippings has always perplexed me. Sure, it can make the yard look nicer, but it also takes nutrients away from the yard that will have to be replaced later on. 

Instead of bagging the grass clippings leave them where they are, and they will continue to feed and nourish the area. 

Water with Rain Water 

While tap water is cheap, using it to water a yard is a waste of good drinking water. Instead, install several large rain collectors that will provide free water. 


Wrap Up 

Mowing a homestead is a personal choice that you will have to make based on budget, time available, and what you want out of your property. 

Thanks for reading and I hope this article helped you to think a bit more about an activity that may or may not be necessary on your homestead.

What are your thoughts about mowing? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know!



Written by Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. Recently, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide and Paracord Projects For Camping which is scheduled to be released March 2, 2021 Read more of Bryan's articles.