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Your Lawn Mower

Original post made by Ellie on Oct 17, 2008

I was walking my dog today and saw a man start up a gas powered lawn mower to mow his small lawn. The noise was deafening. When I went home two blocks away, the noise was so loud I closed all my windows and could still hear it. I thought of my friend who is undergoing chemotherapy, and tells me that often when she tries to rest before her children come home from school, she can't because someone in the neighborhood has fired up their weed whacker, lawn mower or leaf blower. Once one person finally stops, another begins.
I see people on weekend mornings blasting away, when many people are trying to rest after a week of hard work.
There are babies, sick people and elderly people who need naps, but can't get them because of all the noise from these machines.
If you reasearch noise and health, you will find that loud noise has a real and serious effect on human health.
The emissions from lawn mowers are pollutants. They contribute to gound-level ozone and cause smog. Ozone is harmful to human respiratory systems and ecosystems.
Your lawn does not need to look perfect. Good enough is best for the earth and everyone's health. Hand and electric powered mowers do a good enough job, and everyone and everything benefits.

Comments (41)

Posted by normal person, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2008 at 1:12 pm

And to think that when I moved to Pleasanton I actually felt the need to keep up the appearance of my house and lawn. I never knew it would make people feel better if I stopped doing my yard work.
I also like how you threw in a "friend in chemo' and "sleeping babies" to try to sway people to your cause. Didn't work though.
But what about me? I have had 3 surgeries on my back in the last 6 years and you want me to push an old-fashion mower up and down my lawn. I have constant pain in my lower back. I physically can't do that. I doubt I would be able to find a gardener that uses a push mower either. (as if I could afford it) I think it would help if I knew what part of town you heard the lawn mower that is SO MUCH louder than all of the other lawn mowers around town. I apologize for coming on strong, but I think you really need to take a step back and take a good long look at yourself. And what kind of person you are.

Posted by Linda, a resident of Birdland
on Oct 17, 2008 at 1:13 pm

What exactly would you suggest? Letting the grass growing so little rodents can make their homes next to ours?

I think I prefer noise over the alternative. And I appreciate my neighbors keeping their lawns mowed too.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 17, 2008 at 1:36 pm

Rip out the lawn?

Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 17, 2008 at 3:00 pm

This reminds me of a tirade that went on a few years back in Atherton. People were up in arms about leaf blowers and the noise made. They were banned in favor of mowers, preferably electric mowers. Now the slogan for Atherton is:

Atherton doesn't blow, THEY SUCK.

Doesn't have quite the same ring for Pleasanton, but is that how we want to be known?

Posted by New To Pleasanton, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2008 at 3:54 pm

I used to live in a neighborhood where people did not mow their lawns or kept their house in good shape - trust me, it was ugly over there.

I like Pleasanton (recently bought a house here) because of how well lawns are taken care of, how well people take care of their house, how green the parks are. Pride of ownership can be seen everywhere. And yes, that reflects even in the schools: people who take care of their house also make sure their kids perform well in school. It is all part of a package.

I would much rather put up with noise and keep Pleasanton looking nice, than the alternative of a run down neighborhood.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Heritage Oaks
on Oct 17, 2008 at 4:41 pm

You are all perfect suburbanites--keeping up appearances is what's most important to you.

Posted by Jan, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Oct 17, 2008 at 4:57 pm

Advocating for the use of electric or manual yard tools does not equal promoting the cessation of yard work. Rational people only please.

Posted by Geez, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 17, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Geez Mike, are we taking to much of YOUR air??????

Posted by Don, a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 17, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Some people in Pleasanton actually work during the week and have no alternative but doing their OWN yardwork on the weekend. This bunch of people also clean their own homes. Wierd but true...Sorry, missed the boom.

Posted by Another working stiff, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 17, 2008 at 9:10 pm

Got to second Don's statement that my husband and I both work during the week, don't have anyone hired to "groom" our (haQ) estate, and do our own lawn care on the weekends. We used to have an electric lawnmower, but after the extension cord got chewed through by the mower multiple times, and after the mower itself died, we went with a gas mower, which isn't really any noisier than the electric mower was. We don't use a gas leaf blower, opting for raking and sweeping instead, for environmental reasons. But heck, pulling a metal rake over the asphalt in the street and the cement on the sidewalk is like fingernails on chalk sometimes.

Sometimes we even take an rare Friday off, and will sometimes do our own yard work then if we're having company on the weekend, so maybe it was us today (Friday) who caused you a great deal of angst. I'm sorry about that.

There is noise all around us, and if we can make things quieter for our neighbors, all the better. I'm very sorry about your friend who is undergoing treatment for her cancer. May she be complete her treatment soon and be well. But please realize that sometimes, the sound of people working hard and doing something productive is a good sound.... one which lets us know that we're ALIVE and out and about in our neighborhoods and ready to say a cheery "HI" to a fellow resident of Pleasanton, perhaps a woman and her dog, should they be walking by.

Peace, neighbor.

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 17, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Ellie: I'm sure you had your little plastic poop bag and plastic glove as you walked your dog. But when it squats or lifts its leg to leak all over the people's lawns, flowers, shrubs, etc, what do you do? Do you try to dilute the acidic, vegetation killing urine? Do you think it's not offensive? But someone cutting their lawn offends you?

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Oct 18, 2008 at 2:52 am


If the noise is as loud as you say, why not mention it to the man. So he feel insulted - so what. Could be the answer to your problem. Perhaps the noise has effected his hearing and he doesn't realize it's that loud...:)

Electric lawnmowers also produce pollutants - at the source of electricity that's generated to power them.

By the way, I hope you're not the person that has the dog that's killing my beautiful juniper shrub and also leaving a "gift" on my lawn. Are you the lady with the black and white dog that's about to get the water hose treatment??

Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 18, 2008 at 8:58 am

Frank and Jerry -- you guys beat me to it. I have had people let their dogs squat on my law, when I am standing right there, and then walk on without picking it up. Of course when the dog "only" pees on the lawn they think that is nothing. Keep your dogs off my property and maybe then a dialog can start. And keep those yappers quiet in your own yards. Barking dogs can be as loud as, and far more annoying than, any lawnmower ever built.

Posted by Yikes!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 18, 2008 at 11:20 pm

You've GOT to be kidding me!

If people don't like to hear any noise then they should MOVE to a RURAL area. If you live in a city (suburban or otherwise) you WILL hear mowers, dogs, kids, airplanes, etc. And what about those babies and those of us who don't want to hear them crying? Let's not be so self-centered. I put up with noise, my family makes noise, that's life!

And, keeping up appearances is not important to me, but taking CARE of my property is.

Posted by Delia, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Oct 20, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Rural areas?? They SIT on there lawn mowers and ride for hours. That's why the men move there in the first place.

Posted by ellie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Jerry, I can't stand people that let their dogs bark in their yards and don't pick up their dog's crap. Many people in Pleasanton don't pick up their dog's crap. Especially if its slightly off the beaten path. Then they think it's okay, but kids run everywhere, not just on the sidewalk, and they're the ones who step in it. But the narcissists don't care. The general narcissism of people in general is increasing. I don't see the connection, however, between wanting to decrease noise and being likely to leave dog crap on someone's lawn?

Posted by Ellie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2008 at 10:36 pm

People deliberately miss the point so they can make me sound irrational and themselves rational. That's cheap and pathetic. I write about ways to reduce noise and pollution and they pretend I"m saying don't take of their lawn at all. They pretend I didn't write weekend MORNINGS as a time when it would be considerate not to blast your all important leaf blower. They pretend I am irrationally saying don't do yardwork on weekends at all. How can you have rational discussions when people deliberately distort what is clearly stated to their advantage?

Posted by Ellie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2008 at 10:38 pm

Another working stiff, you are a cute person and I will definitely say hi to you, should my dog stop at your lawn.

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 20, 2008 at 11:35 pm

Dilute its pea should it stop at Jerry's lawn. Or better, put a diaper on it. It can walk just fine with one.

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Oct 21, 2008 at 12:48 am


You're absolutely correct. There's no connection between wanting to decrease noise and dogs pooping on my lawn or peeing on my juniper. I made the mistake of feeding off another's comments. I apologize for my failings.

I do hope you will consider my suggested solution to your lawnmower problem. If it bothers you two blocks away - mention it to the man the next time you walk your dog past his house and he's cutting his grass. Perhaps he doesn't realize he's disturbing the neighborhood. If you keep the conversation civil I'd bet he would be receptive. If not.......let your dog poop on his lawn....Naw, just joking...:):)

Paralleling diapers on dogs - does anyone remember, many years ago, some dude from Marin County proposing we put diapers on deer. He said it was unsanitary for them to poop in the environment. He neglected to mention who would change the diapers......

Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 21, 2008 at 10:46 am

We are not missing your point, your point is just not well thought out. I happen to work graveyard shift so the ONLY time that I want to hear leaf blowers/lawn mowers/traffic/trains/planes/whatever is during the hours that I am sure to be awake. That would be from 7 PM until 10 AM. So I should just tell everyone that in order to comply with my personal schedule they can only make noise during those hours and none other.
See how dumb that is? Pleasanton has laws that regulate the hours for noise. If the mower/blower is operating when it is not allowed then go ahead and complain. Otherwise, get over it. Or move to a couple hundred acres away from civilization and find something else to complain about. Noisy birds or elk or something.
You could also offer to mow by hand all of the lawns in your neighborhood. Do something good for the environment rather than just complaining about people who are makeing an effort to keep things looking nice. Check out towns where no one cares about their lawns and see if those are places you might like to live. Oops, not, the drug dealers a rusting cars in the front yard would offend you.

Posted by Ellie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2008 at 7:21 pm

" Pleasanton has laws that regulate hours for noise based on the hours most people keep." Pleasanton and I are using the same logic, you are not.
Again, you go extreme talking about drug dealers and rusting cars. I am taking the middle road.

Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 21, 2008 at 9:42 pm

Was the mower operating during prohibited hours? Then stuff it, your complaints are not valid.

Posted by Ellie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2008 at 10:14 pm

I take care of my lawn and garden without disturbing anyone. I use a push lawn mower, but for 7 years when I had a larger lawn I used an electric mower. The person above ruined her cord repeatedly, but I didn't have that problem. I use a rake and a broom for my leaves, and I have tons of leaves. I don't understand the point of blowing them out onto the street and ultimately onto other people's lawns. I don't use pesticides because that would be irresponsible. I wonder why how a place looks is the only thing valued, and how it sounds doesn't matter at all. As you can see, I make an effort to make things look nice, too, I just don't make noise other people can hear when they're in their homes. In addition, I'm causing less pollution.
BTW, the word I should have called 'another working stiff' should have been 'nice', not 'cute',

Posted by Another working stiff, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 21, 2008 at 10:58 pm

Hi Ellie,
Oh, good to hear -- another person in town who uses a rake and a broom -- yay! Actually, it was my teenage sons who couldn't quite figure out how to keep the extension cords out of the way of the electric mower; I guess the adage about bodies and brains not being quite in sync applied to that particular situation. And just to clarify: I'm certainly not out early on the weekend mornings making noise, either. After getting up early all week, you wouldn't find me outside working until after breakfast and a leisurely read of the paper, so no noise until after 10 or probably closer to 11am, well after the official start time for noise and a fine time to chat with passerby. "Cute" is fine, thank you, but "nice" is probably a good attribute for the long haul :) See you around.

Posted by Nobody, a resident of Livermore
on Oct 22, 2008 at 11:58 am

It's called Life

In Death there is peace and quiet

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 22, 2008 at 10:00 pm

No, Jerry and Ellie, I won't let you sweep away the association of Ellie's dog with this post as a matter of stated fact by Ellie herself.

You cannot deny that when Ellie was walking her dog, so it can poo and piss on people's grass, shrubs, flowers, etc., that she was offended by her own words by the noise of someone's gas-powered lawnmower. In fact, she testifies that this was how she came to be affected by the noise, that is, she was walking her mutt at the time! Therefore, she and her dog play directly into this situation. Maybe the lawnmower operator saw her dog piss on his/her lawn and started it loudly in protest, thereby delivering a message of indignation. In turn, Ellie writes her post stating how she was offended, but conveniently avoids stating the facts how she and her dog may have offended the grass-cutter. We don't know what actually occurred during that interaction that provoked her to go and write her post. Clearly, she was provoked, and wants us to believe it was noise. Maybe there were words exchanged. If I were the property owner, I would certainly speak up and tell her she and her dog were unwelcomed.

After all, common sense tells us that people cut their lawns and other people's dogs piss and (poop) on them. There are always two sides to a story.

Posted by Ellie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2008 at 12:21 am

Frank, I can supply you with all the details. I was about to walk down the street with Mower Man but I did not because of the noise. I passed that street without turning onto it. Mower Man had his back to me and never saw me.
I never walk my dog without biodegradable bags to pick up that disgusting crap. My dog has peed on people's lawns. I do feel weird about it. I try to make it to the park before she goes, especially for 'number 2.' I've noticed in parks, like Amador park, where kajillions of dogs are walked and pee, mostly on the grass that borders the cement paths, the grass is beautiful. Even the grass that borders the path. Shouldn't it be dead or dying if urine is bad for it?'
Have you googled 'noise' and 'health'? 'Cause Frank, it's bad news.
And doesn't anybody care about the environment?
I am continously blasted by the noise of gas-powered lawn care tools, even inside my house! That's why I wrote the post. And that day I changed my route to get away from that ear-splitting racket, went home, and it was loud and clear inside my house.
It's not called Life because these obnoxious machines haven't existed for all that long. May they die a noisy death. Some cities have outlawed them. They're not rednecks like us.
Frank, I've testifed to the best of my ability, and I rest my case.

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Oct 23, 2008 at 2:12 am


Now please don't tell us you don't believe, or know, urine kills grass and plants. Come to my house and take a look at my juniper. Better yet, let your dog pee on your lawn, bushes, flowers, as a test case. Perhaps you can also "Google" the effect dog urine has on grass and plants.

This is what I can't understand - why don't you let your dog do her "business" on your property?? Even though you pick up the mess she leaves in the park, you don't get it all. You leave small amounts in, and on, the grass that someone can come in contact with, especially toddlers that have a natural tendency to put their hands in their mouth. While your on "Google" with the urine question why not check out the "things" one can get from contacting dog poop. Might scare you...

With that said, I'm about to agree with Frank concerning the diaper.

Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 23, 2008 at 9:27 am

Jerry is absolutely right. Walk your dog on your own property and let it pee and poop on your grass, not mine or anyone elses. If I wanted dog waste on my lawn or sidewalk or flower beds I would get my own dog. Yours is not welcome here.
You made a big deal out of the discourteous use of a common urban machine. Now we have made the same deal out of a common urban nuisance -- dog owners who trash our yards. Guess everyone has a breaking point. You found yours and now you know ours. So when you walk you dog on my street just be sure to "curb" it at my house. That means in the street, NOT in my yard.

Posted by Curious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2008 at 9:33 am

My question is for Ellie: Do you feel stupid now? Admit it. You posted something that you thought the fine people of Pleasanton would ralley behind ...and you were WRONG. I hope now you realize now that the world is an imperfect place and from time to time, you might have to accept a small level of outside noise. I won't jump all over you like everyone else because you should feel absolutley ashamed of yourself. I'll also assume we won't see any more of your ridiculous post around here.
Next time, have a real topic and some sort of rational thought behind it....thanks

Posted by Ellie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2008 at 11:28 am

What are you all doing about the people who you feel are abusing your lawns? Are you just passively accepting it?

Posted by resident, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 23, 2008 at 11:48 am

What would you suggest that we do? Shoot them? Anyone who is crass and rude enough to allow their dog to pee on my lawn while I am standing right there is of such low class that nothing I could say or do would affect them. Believe me, if I happen to be standing there with a hose they and the dog will get drenched. Other than that I was thinking about poisoned metal spikes or electrified wires . . . .

Posted by Ellie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2008 at 11:49 am

BTW, about why dog owners don't just use their own lawns for their dog's bathroom....My dog just won't 'go' on command or right away. I tried that when I first got her. We went out on my lawn in the morning before I left for work and I waited and waited. I even walked her around in circles in my yard. Usually nothing happened. I found that if I take her on a walk her she eventually 'goes.' I walk her to the park for that purpose, but as I said, sometimes we don't make it.
I have 'puppy pads' in my house for her use, but for some reason she only uses these for pee.
So you guys are fuming about dogs and your lawns. What can you do about it?

Posted by redneck, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2008 at 11:54 am

They still sell BB guns right??

Posted by Ellie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2008 at 1:14 pm

I believe so, Red. Do you see we have much in common? We are all angry at inconsiderate strangers. We have found common ground. It doesn't matter that what bothers you doesn't bother me. I feel your pain. I would not know a juniper bush if I saw one, but I'm going to google it. I've learned to love my neighbor here, and thank you for buying that rake, (google's got a long handle and spike-y things on the end. It'll come in handy with the dogs.)

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 23, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Ellie. Amen!

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Oct 24, 2008 at 12:48 am


If you're serious about training your pooch to "go" in your yard, you might try this - Bring home several "samples" of her poop from the park and place it in several locations in your yard(backyard, if you have one). When she needs to go, lead her to one, or all, of the spots. It may take a while for her to get the idea since her normal routine is the park. Since you're away from home during work days, a good time to start would be on the weekend, or after work, when you have plenty of time and patience. Persistence is required...

I've used this method to "housebreak" puppies. With a little patience, it worked for me.

Posted by Fred, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Oct 29, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Time to fire up my tools and mow and blow my yard! :)

Posted by For Ellie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2008 at 5:29 pm

There is this wonderful thing called "The Scarecrow." Details can be seen at this Web Link. It not only rids one of unwanted pet waste left by others, but it provides the walker with a timely shower too!

Posted by Dennis, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 30, 2008 at 8:42 am

I would take the sound of mowers and leaf blowers over the sounds of constant sirens and gun shots any day.

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