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Hey friends! This post is sponsored by Troy-Bilt, who sent me a mower to review and paid me for my time. But you know all opinions are my own. As are all the weeds in my lawn. 

I’ve come to accept that I’ll never have the perfect lawn. There will always be weeds in it and it will never feel like a pillow under my bare feet. Because we choose not to use synthetic herbicides and fertilizers, maintaining a pristine yard is more challenging.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t like a nice looking lawn. We overseed when necessary, fertilize at appropriate times with an organic fertilizer, repair bare spots, hand pull bad weeds where we can (dandelions are at the top of the hit list), make sure to keep the mower blade high enough that we’re not scalping the lawn, water on rare occasion if absolutely necessary, mulch clippings onto the lawn and trim edges to make everything look neat.

I want a good looking lawn when I look at it from the patio. Get in close and you’ll see lots of clover, a bit of moss in some spots and various other less-than-perfect areas. From the long-view though, it looks pretty good, especially after it has recently been cut.

I have huge respect for people who love their lawns. I’m an admirer of gardens and gardening and to me, lawns are part of that. But for my life, I need a good looking lawn that is maybe a bit (or a lot) shy of perfect. And I need it to look that way without a lot of effort.

I accomplish this level of looks-good-from-the-patio through a bit of work in the spring. This is when the holes are patched, thatch is raked up, big weeds are pulled and, a week or so before Memorial Day, the lawn is fertilized with Milorganite. I also do a very simple form of relieving compaction in frequently traveled areas by sticking my garden fork in and rocking it back and forth (over and over again). Then I spread a thin layer of sifted compost over the top and reseed.

I like a good walk-behind mower for quick mowing just around the house. And this one will pretty much pull you around the yard. All you have to do is steer.

But after that, the lawn is pretty much on its own for summer. The sum total of the time I’m willing to spend it on during the high season is a weekly mowing and trimming. And I like to get it done quickly. Often that means we only mow the areas closest to the house. Or sometimes the weekend gets away from us and we need to do a quickly cleanup before company comes over. That’s when a good walk-behind mower is best. We have the big Horse XP tractor for when we’re doing the whole enchilada, but that’s overkill for a quick job.

Troy-Bilt recently sent me the TB490 XP self-propelled mower to test. It has all of the bells and whistles you’d expect on a mower like this (bagging, mulching or blowing ability; hose rinse connection; easy pull start, etc.) but I’ll it shines in its versatility. It has front-wheel drive (good for maneuverability), rear-wheel drive (good for our varying terrain) and all-wheel drive (for the best of both) and you can easily switch among the different modes with the hand controls. See how those rear wheels are big? That means that when it’s in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, this baby has some get up and go, to the point where it can take you a little off guard when you first try it (not in a dangerous way, but in a lace-up-your-tennies kind of way).

What I’m getting at here is that this thing will pull you around the yard if you want it to. Meaning all you have to do is steer. It’s the ultimate in lazy-man’s mowing, which I think you’ll see is right up my alley.

You can check out a quick video review I did of it on YouTube.

Most people I know strive for great looking lawns, and if you enjoy taking care of a lawn, I think attempting to achieve the perfect lawn is a noble exercise. But I think it’s OK to strive for a pretty good lawn too. In fact, I’m perfecting the good-enough lawn. Come see my green weeds. I bet you can’t spot them from the patio, especially if I get a drink your hand first.

74 Responses

  1. That sounds like one hell of a mower, I've not come across many variable rear/forward wheel drive machines before, is the difference in feel between the different modes quite noticeable?

  2. I take a casual approach. My husband actually does most of it. He will not allow me to use anything powered. However, he will allow me to pick weeds all day.

  3. Used to have my landlord take care of the landscaping, but finally convinced him to let us take it over for a small drop in rent.

  4. We have the same approach the lawn maintenance. Our St Augustine gets fed in the spring and late summer with organic fertilizers. That's it. We just deal with the weeds that pop up.

  5. I don't spend too much time worrying about weeds. If they get large then I attack them. I prefer trying to grow new grass where there are bald spots.

  6. We use a casual approach. I've also been considering overseeding with microclover and/or a low water/low mow grass seed like from High Country Gardens. I wonder if anyone has any experience with either of those in Zone 5?

  7. I have 2 acres that becomes overwhelming at time and I spray weeds. We have loads of them Some things I pull up bu the roots

  8. I'm the one who's tending to our lawn care and it seems it's a never ending job. I mow and weedeat what I can then in places around my flowers I'm carefully picking weeds.

  9. I hire my little neighbor-who is 10 to mow my lawn-since my lawn mower quit working on me. I am in between jobs-and I can't afford a lawn mower right now. I bought a used one for $25 and it quit working after using it 2 times. I have a huge hill to mow-that is growing very tall weeds on it right now-due to lack of mowing!

  10. Depending upon the weather I try to have a pretty yard but sometimes the heat gets to me, so I say a more casual approach when it's a scorcher & more tweeting approach when it's not so hot out.

  11. I'm a grandpa and love to tend our yard with loving care, but contracted Lyme's disease from a tick. I desperately need a new mower, so this would be a blessing.

  12. I have an acre and a half that I mow. I have flower gardens that I pull weeds out of.Patty Wright

  13. I walk my lawn and hand pull big weeds. And maybe once a year I put out a commercial weed and feed. I don't like to put out many chemicals since I have cats that enjoy eating the grass.

  14. I usually get the dandelions pulled out in the spring as much as I can but the neighbors just let them go to seed so it's a never ending battle! Other than that we use organic weed and feed and mow when it needs it.

  15. I am not as picky as my husband. He is a big gardener from lawns to flower beds to vegetable gardens. He absolutely hates crab grass and dandelions.

  16. My boyfriend takes great care of our lawn, he mows, uses the weedeater around brick casings and for edging. He also makes sure to get rid of all the dandelions without help of an outside service. Its funny, my mom used to use sissor like shears to weedeat when I was a kid.

  17. I tend to pick them out when I find them but overall, after 4 years teaching this lawn how to behave, it's starting to get its act together. 🙂

  18. I take a more casual approach most of the time but then other times it's like every single one of them has to be gone and I will pick at them until I feel like I have gotten most of them. Thank you so much for such a fun summer getaway. There is so many things I could do with this gift card.

  19. My 9 and 11-year-old were a pretty effective and enthusiastic dandelion-removal team – until my husband started to complain about all the holes in the ground… There went my perfect solution!

  20. i mow every 2 weeks and its been raining here and i mowed last week looks like i havnt mowed in a while i mean whoo it is growing fast i keep everything cut back

  21. I dig out the weeds, mostly dandelions, but they spread so easily, it's a never-ending job. I decided I'd keep planting greens, hostas, flowers, bushes, etc., so I'd have less and less lawn to deal with…

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