You’re Mowing Your Lawn Wrong (and Wasting Money)

A Kennewick, Wa., family mowing.
A Kennewick, Wa., family mowing. –AP

You’re probably mowing your lawn wrong.

Don’t feel bad, almost everyone is doing it the wrong way, which is leaching money from your wallet. You’re spending more money on watering, fertilizer, pesticide, and maintenance than you have to.

And it’s all because you own a mower that looks like this:

Can you spot what’s wrong in the photo above? It’s the bag catching the clippings.

If you want to go easier on your wallet, and the environment, you need to ditch the bag. Just leave those grass clippings where they fall.


Grass clippings enrich your lawn on several levels, according to They protect it from the scorching rays of the sun, meaning you have to water it a little less, which means your water bill won’t be so steep.


They act as a natural fertilizer, putting the nutrients back into the soil that the grass took out on it’s way up. That means you can spend a little less on fertilizer.

And if your lawn is less stressed out by the sun and more well fed by its own clippings, it will be in better condition to handle hardships, like pests and weeds. This means you can spend less cash on pesticides.

Let’s say money is no object to you, and you don’t mind shelling out tons of greenbacks to keep your lawn thriving. Well, leaving your grass clippings where you cut them will also make the world a better place. Seriously. Consider it your community service contribution for the summer.

Using your sprinkler and hose less is better for groundwater supply. Using fewer chemicals on your lawn is better for both the flora and fauna that live on your street and downstream.

According to Colorado State University, 20 percent of landfill materials are yard waste, which can be better put to use where they originated.

And don’t worry about any mess from the clippings left on your lawn. They’ll be history in a couple days, falling in between the cracks, gone from view forever, discretely making your life easier.


If your grass is too long and the clippings would blanket rather than sprinkle the lawn, you can compost it for later use around your shrubs and trees. And by compost we mean, put in a pile in the back corner of the yard until they turn into dirt on their own by next spring.

Some people are giving up on the idea of lawns all together. Because what benefit does a lawn actually serve? The birds, bees, and worms would certainly prefer a more natural state to ever-shrinking habitat.

Alternatives to lawns include planting wildflowers, clover, or native grasses.

Some folks are taking things to another level, converting their lawns to gardens so they become producers instead of consumers.

But most of us aren’t brave enough to invite glares from neighbors who expect well-manicured yards connecting each home with a lush carpet of green grass.

And there is something to be said with leaving some space for recreation.

You can buy mulching mowers or change to a mulching setting on your existing mower. You’re best bet? Set your mower to its highest setting, give up on collecting those clippings and make your grass start working for you.

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