Many of us lead incredibly busy lifestyles with responsibilities with work, friends, kids and much more. So when it comes to garden chores, this is often something we have to fit in around the rest of our lives.
But if your life is so demanding that the only real time you get to maintain your yard is first thing in the morning, you might be wondering what time can I legally mow my lawn?
The truth is that there is no clear cut answer to this question as it will vary by state, city and town. Commercial gardeners are usually not allowed to start working until either 7am or 8am as the noise is considered antisocial before these hours.
If you have a sudden urge to go and start mowing your lawn at midnight, then you could be breaking the law. It might sound crazy but when you think about it, would you take kindly to your neighbors firing up their loud gas lawn mowers in the small hours? We think not. So, in this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to make sure you mow your lawn legally.
The problem is that the laws surrounding night time lawn mowing vary depending on your location and the city ordinances. In most cases, however, these ordinances talk about excessive noise which is typically defined as a noise that violates the health or comfort of people in the surrounding area.
The source of excessive noise can be many different things including construction, loud music, parties and even power tools or powered garden equipment such as your lawn mower. But while the use of a lawn mower at night isn’t actually illegal in itself, going against local noise laws is. There are certain quiet hours during which you are not permitted to use your mower. If you do then you could face fines and lawsuits.
We cannot tell you what quiet hours apply to where you live as the rules will vary depending on location. This is why it is essential to check your local ordinances for the most accurate information.
What we can do is provide you with information on the most common quiet hours which usually begin at 9pm and end at 7am. However, on weekends, these hours are sometimes extended to 8am. There are even some areas whose quiet hours begin as early as 8pm.
It can be a little bewildering to find out that it is illegal to mow your lawn at night. I mean, really, who are you hurting? But it isn’t the act of mowing the lawn that’ll get you into trouble; it’s the noise it causes. Within a neighborhood, there is a duty of care between residents and that means that we must be respectful to our neighbors and not purposefully bring them any harm. By making loud noises at unsociable hours, you are disrupting their peace and making them uncomfortable.
There is even a Noise Control Act which was passed back in 1972 and the details of this are largely reflected in most local ordinances.
If you do mow your lawn at night then you are creating a nuisance and ruining your neighbors right to feel comfortable in their home. As a result of this, you could land yourself in a whole world of trouble which may result in criminal and civil action being taken against you.
When you are seen to be creating a public nuisance, the noise you are making is seen to be affecting people in the wider community and this is actually classed as a criminal offense. However, for the most part, you won’t be thrown in jail for this but it is likely that you will receive a fine.
On the other hand, if you cause a private nuisance, this becomes a civil matter and your neighbors would then be within their rights to file a lawsuit against you. They may not and a lot of people would usually speak to your first, kindly asking you to choose a more suitable time to mow. But it’s worth noting that you may end up getting served.
What Is The Best Time To Mow Your Lawn?
Once you understand the laws for your local area, you will have a much better idea of when you can and can’t mow your lawn. But just because you can mow at 7 in the morning, that doesn’t always mean that it’s the best idea for your grass.
In fact, going in with the mower too early in the day can cause health problems for your lawn and should be avoided. If you mow between 6am and 8am then there is a very good chance that the lawn will still be covered in morning dew and we all know how bad it is to mow the grass when it’s wet.
Doing this can make the grass more prone to disease and it’s definitely not very good for your mower. The grass clippings will clump and the moisture can damage the motor.
Mowing your lawn between 8am and 10am is largely considered to be the best option. This is because you will be well out of the ‘illegal’ zone and all of that morning dew will have evaporated. Moreover, the sun hasn’t gotten too hot at this point so the grass has a better chance of healing from the stress of the mow.
Once it gets past 10am, you should hold off mowing your lawn up until around 2pm as these are some of the hottest hours of the day. The stress of the mow will be much harder on the lawn and you’ll find that it loses a lot more moisture which is going to make it unhealthy and discolored.
But even when you get to 2pm, we still wouldn’t advise firing up the lawn mower because there is still a risk of heat damage despite the temperature having dropped slightly from the middle of the day.
After 4pm, it should be OK to get the lawn mower out as much of the heat will have settled so the risk of heat damage is reduced significantly. There will also be enough time for the grass to heal before night sets in so this is a good time to cut the lawn.
However, if you still haven’t managed to mow by 6pm then we would suggest waiting until the following day. Even though laws state you can continue to make noise for another couple of hours, there’s a good chance that the neighbors will be settling down for the evening and the sound of your mower is only going to cause a raucous. Moreover, there won’t be enough sunlight left for the grass to repair itself so you’re risking its health.
How Late Can You Mow Your Law?
How late you are permitted to mow your lawn will vastly depend on the ordinances in your local area. Some places may allow you to mow up until 10pm whereas others expect you to down tools by the time it gets to 8pm.
That said, it doesn’t always mean that you have to mow that late. Even if the law allows, nobody really wants to listen to a lawn mower at 9pm when they’re trying to relax in front of the TV after a long day.
If you really have no other time to mow the lawn and have to leave it until the back end of the noise curfew then we would suggest having a chat with your neighbors. You might explain that it’ll be a one off and ask if they mind the noise for half an hour. Usually people are pretty cooperative as long as the lines of communication are left open.
Where Can I Find My City Ordinances?
If you need to take a look at your city ordinances to find out the legal hours for mowing your lawn then one of the easiest ways to do this is by heading to your city’s website. You can view the ordinances online without having to leave your home.
However, if you prefer, it is possible to go to the city hall and speak to someone there who will provide you with everything you need to know. Doing it in person also gives you the opportunity to ask further questions and get the greatest clarity on what is and isn’t allowed.
What If My City Doesn’t Have Ordinances?
In a few cases there are cities and towns that do not have ordinances so you won’t be restricted on when you can and can’t mow your lawn. But that doesn’t mean that you should whip the mower out at 3am just because you can. Unless you want to cause tension between you and your neighbors, it’s best to stick to sociable hours for lawn mowing and other noisy activities. In the event that you have no other choice but to mow at an unreasonable hour, the fact that you are usually courteous will make it a less bitter pill to swallow.
You may or may not be aware that there are certain laws in place that prevent people from mowing their lawn outside of certain hours. This is due to noise pollution and ensures that people in the wider community are not distrubed by loud gardening equipment.
Usual quiet hours are between 9pm and 7am but this will vary according to your location so it’s important to check your city ordinances for more accurate information.