What to get? Self Propelled? Riding? Zero Turn?

scriber17January 17, 2013

Will be moving to the suburbs in a couple of months; never cut grass in my life. Lot size is half an acre with the house and garage taking up 1/3rd of lot; so total lawn will be .33 acre. I might get an in ground pool at some point; so the lawn will probably get smaller. I want to spend no more than 45 minutes cutting lawn once a week; 20-30minutes would be better. I want to keep it simple, don't want to maintain 2 machines. I rather not have to exercise in the summer heat. Level gound, corner lot with stone fence. There's about a 5foot wide swath of grass on the other side of the stone fence on 2 sides I am responsible for maintaining. I don't want to tinker with a machine that has constant problems.
From my research a Honda Hrx would probable fit the bill except, I won't want to walk behind it when it's 90 degrees outside. Budget: don't want to spend more than $1500, and I want the thing to last 25 years.
Suggestions or thoughts?

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I don't know if a Honda walk behind will last 25 years, since I've only had mine for 23.

You can pick your time of day to mow to avoid the hottest part. I'll typically mow in the pre dusk hours during the hot tomes or else Sat. am., but not TOO early out of respect for the neighbors.
IF you have a distinct front/back, you can split it over 2 days if time is an issue.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 4:30PM
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"never cut grass in my life" Maybe the best plan is to hire it done, then you can post back in 25 years saying that you still haven't cut grass. :) There is also a wider Toro consumer walk behind mower to consider. Toro Timemaster.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 7:38PM
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1. You are not going to find a new ZT for $1500.
2. Even with proper maintenance and regular cleaning, a new riding mower or wide walk behind in that price range is very unlikely to last anywhere near 25 years without need for repair or replacement of some parts, tranny, engine, deck (sure there are testimonials about exceptions, but even much more expensive machines commonly require some relatively expensive repairs over 25yrs) .
3. A larger width riding or walk behind will take more time to manuever close to objects like the wall, house, swingsets, etc which will slow down the mowing time.
4. It's going to take you at least 20 min to trim that sized lot.
You don't sound like the type who is going to enjoy yard work (a lot of folks don't--I enjoy eating-not cooking) or want to take the time to clean the deck regularly or do routine maintenance.
I agree with Tomplum, hire it out.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 12:49PM
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Hiring out is not an option since landscapers currently charge $50 weekly. I would recoup money on equipment in first year.
Sounds like my expectations on equipment are too high.
Maybe if it lasts 15 years, point is I don't want to be at the dealer every 2-3 years with a 3-4 hundred dollar bill for replacement parts.
I am willing to do regular maintenance.
I am open to buying slightly used and last years models.
Approached another way, what equipment would allow me to mow and trim my lot in 30 minutes? Still don't want to maintain 2 machines.

This post was edited by scriber17 on Fri, Jan 18, 13 at 14:24

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 2:20PM
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I did forget to add my costs besides gasoline & fuel stabilizer for the last 2-3 tanks of the season.
4 blades
4 air cleaners
4 spark plugs
460 oz. oil
1 unneeded valve adjustment

Bag is about shot, but a little duct tape here & there....

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 2:20PM
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These handle quite well. Plus, if you average even close to 3 MPH- you should make your 30 minute deadline. Personally, I would take one for a test cut. People that have them seem to like them. They've really only been on the market for 1 real season though.

Here is a link that might be useful: toro timemaster

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 2:50PM
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Since you are without experience, use this example to judge.
I have .35 acre lot. Minus home, walks, porches, patio, drive and landscaping, I mow about 8-9000sq ft. Newer construction so few obstcals other than two sapling landscape trees in front yard and the flower beds around most of the house.

Not including trimming:
It takes me 25 minutes to mow with a 60" deck SCUT, but it's a beast with a large turning radius. (bought it to plow the drive as the smaller one couldn't)
It took 25-30 min to mow with a smaller lawn tractor with a 46" deck with an 18" turning radius--less jocking around and saved triming a couple spots that the bigger machine can't get.
It takes me 45-50 min to mow with a 21" Honda self propelled walk behind (depends how many breaks I take-no breaks probably 35-40 min). I still need to trim but less so than with the ride-ons. For instance the big tractor leaves a 2-3 inch wide patch of grass next to the porch and the back fence that needs trimmed, the small tactor left an inch or so width and the walk behind leaves less than 1/2" width. So with the walk behind the trimming goes faster.
I'm no spring chicken, but I'm in decent shape. After mowing With the tractors I'm ready to take on the world, with the walk behind, I'm shot and have no gumtion to do the trimming.
I have no experience with the Toro, but the wider width is going to cut some of the time off for you and it's going to be manueverable enough to reduce trimming and it's going to cost less than a rider. As an option, they make decent lawn tractors with 12-16" turning radius for under $1500.

Edit: Poor spelling, screw it, I ain't got the gumption to overcome that obstacle.

This post was edited by grass1950 on Fri, Jan 18, 13 at 16:22

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 4:11PM
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Perhaps there's a teen in the neighbourhood that would be willing to cut it each week if you had a push mower. Just pay him/her cash. When I was young, that's what I used to do for 5 families and it put a bit of extra cash in my pocket.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 11:16PM
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Yer best bet would be to have somebody dig up all of the sod and grass, then spray grass and weed killer on it, and have a contractor come in and cover the whole area with green colored cement, which will surely do several things--all of them positive: From a distance nobody will know it ain't grass. no worries about growing grass. Won't have to buy any kind of mower! A small electric weed wacker, to trim around the edges of the concrete, will be about all thats needed! Neat idee, eh? From the fertile brain of Rusty Jones!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 7:41PM
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Heh heh , thanks for the laugh, Rusty. When I moved over here, I wanted to get a new lamb or a calf every spring and have it slaughtered for meat every fall. Wife wouldn't have it. My present mowers are a 36 " sitdown. and a push trimmer/ weedwacker. I have about the same size yard. The front is fairly flat, but the back has a slope that I mow down across, then up.

To the OP, for 1500$, get a small sitdown mower. The simpler and plainer, the better. Gizmos just break. And a decent weed whacker to trim with.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 6:31PM
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scgekg(Z5 NY)

get the 21 or 22 inch self-propelled mover- it should not take much more than 30 minutes. Try it for a year. You may find you like mindless mowing. Put down edging as needed to eliminate any trimming. When it is that hot in the summer grass usually is slower growing anyway. Don't fertilize.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 10:14AM
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I purchased a Toro 22" Recycler last yr for under $350 cut 1 acre within an hour with this new front wheel self propelled unit . The 6.5 Kohler has plenty of torgue and I usually mulch , never have used the rear bagging attachment . Mower has 2 yr warranty also . 1st new mower in over 25 yrs lol .

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 9:38AM
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level ground less than 1/3 acre? Just get you a cheap push mower 22" from walmart or honda or toro self=propelled if you think you can't push it. Really No self propelled needed, can push that in probably less than half hour and it's good excerise. Self-propped just adds weight and more things to break not needed in your case with level ground.

I wouldn't mow when the grass is wet usually early mornings in spring and fall dew. Mid to late mornings or late evenings in summer. Spring and fall Late morning and early afternoon. I would multch and not bag. If you bag you have to get rid of the grass clippings, if you just mow the exit shut may leave rows of grass depending on how often you mow. IF you multch you want to cut the grass maximum 1/3. SO this maybe once week or maybe twice in early summer when the grass really grows.

Grass needs about 1" water once week. Along with push mower you will need sprinkler and hoses when it don't rain. You will also need to feed it, control weeds, and sometimes down the road insects...Start reading up now so you won't be in over your head. Not that hard millions of people do it with little or no knowledge.

One last thing NO KIDS in the yard or immediate area while mowing. Beware mowing with the exit shut torwards the street or at someone, the mower can throw a rock or metal object at high rate of speed. Fast enough to break windows, dent cars and injury walkers. So if you don't multch using the exit shut 98% of the time the exit shut cover will direct the clipping downward and anything else coming out. It's away good idea to look over your yards for anything that's not grass, like papers, toys, trash, ect... if you mow over these it will make mess and may damage you blade. Notice I said blade? No need for two or more with such small yard.

If you think your in over your head watch some Ytube video's on servicing, starting, using push mowers. Unless you get elect. You need to check the oil and gas before use and inspect for loose hardware. Mowers vibrate and can shake hardware, screws, nuts & bolts loose. Ok enough I think you get the picture?? more to it than just pulling the rope and walking off.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 7:23AM
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By now you've probably made your decision; I would have posted sooner, but Gardenweb, for some unknown reason, wouldn't let me log in for about 2 months. If you opt for a riding machine, I suggest you consider the Snapper rear-engine rider. They've been around for at least 30 years, so they are a proven machine - very durable. You can get an electric-start model for about $1500, or pull start for less. No doubt one of the most reliable long term mowers in the $1,500 range. They aren't pretty, so you won't look sexy riding one, but they are very good mowers. And, by the way, I have personal experience with the Snapper RER.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 11:25AM
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it really depends if you're happy to push for 1/3 of an acre i would look at the new Toro TimeMaster, its a self propelled 30" cut

Here is a link that might be useful: Toro TimeMaster

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:47AM
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