Am I bad neighbour or just lazy?
June 26, 2006 3:38 PM   Subscribe

Am I a bad neighbour for not sweeping the sidewalk after I mow my lawn?

I don't know whether or not it is common to sweep the sidewalk after mowing one's lawn. I grew up in houses without sidewalks, so when I mowed the lawn for my parents, it was never a consideration. Now that I have a house with sidewalks, I am not sure.

I have only noticed one person on the block sweeping, and that is my next-door neighbour. He also sweeps his walks after shovelling the snow off of them. I haven't seen anyone else doing this, or sweeping up any stray grass clippings, but I don't see them mowing their lawns either, so it could be that I am missing something.

I don't want to be a bad neighbour, but I already hate yardwork as it is, especially anything to do with my pitiful lawn. I am trying to find out whether I am committing a serious transgression by not sweeping, or if it is something that only my meticulous Dutch neighbour does. Do I sweep after mowing? After shovelling snow? Please clue me in to the etiquette.
posted by meringue to Home & Garden (30 answers total)
 
If it's a common sidewalk or a street sidewalk, you absolutely should. If it's just yours, you can pretty much do whatever you want, as long as there are no HOAs or city codes to deal with. But it seems awfully sloppy to just leave it that way.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:41 PM on June 26, 2006


Sweeping is more fun than mowing. But only if you have the right broom. I like the heavy duty push brooms for this kind of things, since they're also good for the garage.
posted by smackfu at 3:42 PM on June 26, 2006


I've asked myself the same thing, and come to the conclusion that it never hurts to show my neighbors that I care.
posted by diastematic at 3:43 PM on June 26, 2006


I am a sweeper and I agree with smackfu on getting the right broom. It's not a serious transgression if you don't, but it makes your neighborhood a little nicer if you do.
posted by mattbucher at 3:52 PM on June 26, 2006


You probably should, but how much of a problem is it? If you live on a wide open, busy street and the grass that lands on the sidewalk has blown away the next day then why bother? If you live in a small cul de sac and people have to walk on the road because mounds of your rotting grass are blocking the path, then deal with it. Even if it is an inconspicuous scattering, it's still better to clear it. You will feel better about finishing the job properly.
posted by fire&wings at 3:57 PM on June 26, 2006


Do you use a bagger on your mower? If yes, then just 'mow' the sidewalk! If no, start sweeping.
posted by matty at 3:58 PM on June 26, 2006


Yard crews always clear sidewalks (usually with a leaf blower).

I would be pissed if you had a grassy sidewalk, and there was a light rain, and I walked on it, and tracked wet grass clippings into my house or car.

If you have a power mower then just running the mower over the walks will blow off all the grass.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 3:58 PM on June 26, 2006


Do you want people to think you're lazy? Then sweep the sidewalk, if you don't care then don't sweep the sidewalk. Since you are asking, it appears you do care. So sweep it and feel better about yourself for sweeping it.
posted by fenriq at 4:06 PM on June 26, 2006


In my neighborhood people take their lawns very seriously. It's sort of ridiculous, but some people will judge you by the appearance of your lawn. Neighbors either blow the grass off the sidewalks and streets with a leaf blower, or sweep with a broom. We don't have a bag on our mower, but my husband is able to blow the grass off the sidewalk with the lawnmower as Monkey has stated.

I have read in our homeowner's newsletter more than once, "please do not blow leaf clippings in the street". It's best to blow them or sweep them into your lawn.
posted by LoriFLA at 4:10 PM on June 26, 2006


You should sweep the sidewalk. Sweep it back onto the lawn there's not a lot of clipped grass. If there is a lot, put it in a trashbag. Too much dead grass on your lawn will trun it brown in that spot.
posted by bim at 4:17 PM on June 26, 2006


It might not be required, but it's the neighborly thing to do. You like neighborly neighbors, right?
posted by Tuwa at 4:23 PM on June 26, 2006


Well, there's no "mounds of rotting grass" (although I like the image!) but I will get myself a broom. I don't want to be the slob of the block, and I like my neighbours. Should I be sweeping in the winter too - after shovelling the sidewalk? I'm not sure about that one.
posted by meringue at 4:28 PM on June 26, 2006


I would go with a compromise of doing a quick walkthrough with a broom, oscillating it left and right quickly to get the bulk of the grass off the pavement. The lighter stuff will dry out and blow away. Some people are all into leafblowers and that kind of thing, but as far as I'm concerned making sure there's no mess is more important than striving for porcelain shine just to impress neighbors.
posted by rolypolyman at 4:29 PM on June 26, 2006


My dad has an air compressor anyways and uses it to blow off the driveway after mowing. You could use a leaf blower.
posted by IndigoRain at 4:34 PM on June 26, 2006


I've never heard of sweeping after shoveling. Shoveling is good enough IMHO.
posted by bim at 4:47 PM on June 26, 2006


I was taught to avoid having to sweep the sidewalks altogether: mow first around the edges, making sure that the grass chute is pointed toward the center of the lawn. Or just mow the lawn in circular/spiral pattern from the outside to the inside, again making sure that the grass chute is letting the clippings out on the lawn.

Hmm, sometimes having an OCD mother does come in handy after all :)
posted by needs more cowbell at 4:47 PM on June 26, 2006


When I owned my house (recently sold), yes, I swept my grass clippings up when I mowed.

However, I never shoveled my snow. Reason? If someone falls on your snow, and you didn't shovel it, it is an act of god. If you shovel it, and someone falls, it is your fault for not doing a good enough job of shoveling.

So in summary, grass yes, snow no. But if you're going to shovel your snow, yes, you should sweep it, and make damn sure you do a good job, or else you might get sued.
posted by benjh at 5:18 PM on June 26, 2006


If you're going to shovel your snow you should make sure you do a good job, just BECAUSE.

The key thing to do is spread salt afterwards.

On my street, there are two people who don't shovel their sidewalks, and they are a major topic of conversation among everyone else.

(This is Toronto, where you can be ticketed for not shoveling your sidewalk).
posted by unSane at 5:25 PM on June 26, 2006


I would say you are not being lazy if you don't sweep after shoveling. The exception to this would be if you live on a street with very well-traveled sidewalks (in the winter?), or where the elderly often use the sidewalks.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:37 PM on June 26, 2006


unSane: I live in Edmonton, so the salt won't do much good for most of the year. I've thought about sand, but I don't know if it's overkill. Plus I'm cheap!

Homeowners get fined here, too, if they don't shovel, but I would do it anyway. Makes me miss condo living, though.
posted by meringue at 5:41 PM on June 26, 2006


Get a snow blower if you get a lot of snow. Make your life easier. :)
posted by bim at 5:44 PM on June 26, 2006


I sweep after mowing, and sometimes because the street in front of my house just needs it. I do it because it simply looks better overall, and I wish everone would do it. Most of my immediate neighbors do.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 5:54 PM on June 26, 2006


Get a mower with a bag attachment. Eliminate the whole need to sweep at all.

Out of curiosity. In Miami we always bag and dispose of our grass clippings (at least everyone I know does), but some of the responses make it sound as if it is common to just leave the cut grass on (or around) the lawn to dry out (and eventually decompose?). Is that so? Do you all really just leave your cut grass lying there on the lawn?
posted by oddman at 6:45 PM on June 26, 2006


Wow. I guess I'm in the minority here - when I used a gas mower, I didn't sweep most of the time. I now have a push reel mower, so its not really an issue.

Reasons why I didn't sweep
* you can keep most of the clippings on the yard if you just mow the right way
* its just _grass_ - who cares? its not like you are leaving dog crap on the side walk
* it will blow back on to the grass in a couple days, anyways
* i can't stand when people who are anal about their lawns, and those people *always* sweep. i can understand keeping your yard respectable looking, but when you bust out toxic chemicals and mow every 3 days so it looks like a golf course...well...its time to get a new obsession. time spent mowing means time not spent with the family, or reading, or coding, or listening to music...or just about anything else that is a better use of time.
posted by rsanheim at 6:47 PM on June 26, 2006


Am I a bad neighbour for not sweeping the sidewalk after I mow my lawn?

Yes. Take the extra time and sweep. Or, if you don't care about wasting water, hose it down. Your neighbors will appreciate it and *you* might even appreciate the difference.

That said, there are alternatives to having a lawn. I'd tear the thing out, do some creative landscaping, and never worry about mowing it again.
posted by ryanhealy at 6:51 PM on June 26, 2006


...some of the responses make it sound as if it is common to just leave the cut grass on (or around) the lawn to dry out (and eventually decompose?). Is that so? Do you all really just leave your cut grass lying there on the lawn?

Yes, because it's better for the lawn. Mulching mowers create fine grass clippings that break down and add nitrogen and organic matter to the soil. Grass clippings are approximately 85% water, so they decompose quickly and will not smother your lawn. Grass clippings are a free and easy way to provide the equivalent of one regular fertilizer application each year, and will not cause thatch (thatch is an indicator of too much fertilizer).
posted by nekton at 7:19 PM on June 26, 2006


Should I be sweeping in the winter too - after shovelling the sidewalk? I'm not sure about that one.

I'm in Edmonton too, and I don't bother with sweeping the walk after clearing the snow. It's usually dry and windy enough that the dusty bits left will disperse on their own, especially if I get to it first thing in the morning before it's been trampled (much).

As for the grass, again it's (usually!) dry and windy enough here that it tends to blow away on its own. Mow the perimeter with the grass-exhaust pointed inward and you'll get (almost) none on the walk anyway. I mow once a week (with a manual) and the clippings just disappear into the growing grass ('grasscycling' - recommended by the city).
posted by hangashore at 8:00 PM on June 26, 2006


"He also sweeps his walks after shovelling the snow off of them."

I do this if the temperature is around 0 otherwise it can create a fairly slippery condition. I try to avoid salt etc. because it is hard on concrete and bad for watersheds.

benjh writes "Reason? If someone falls on your snow, and you didn't shovel it, it is an act of god. If you shovel it, and someone falls, it is your fault for not doing a good enough job of shoveling."

Not clearing snow from sidewalks seems pretty negligent and is illegal everywhere I've lived.
posted by Mitheral at 8:45 PM on June 26, 2006


I donĀ“t care if my neighbors sweep their sidewalks after mowing. I really hate leaf blowers and other really noisy tools. You can probably learn to cut the grass and aim the clippings back on the lawn.
posted by theora55 at 6:17 PM on June 27, 2006


Aw, come on, it's only a few more extra minutes! You spent all that time making your grass look nice, and now you're gonna leave the sidwalk looking like ass? Sweep! Plus, as mentioned, waaaay more fun than the mow part.
posted by mimi at 8:11 PM on June 27, 2006


« Older Connect the dots on a map   |   Squealing fan, not tires. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.