Zero Carbon Yard & Garden Care

It seems like every homeowner I meet has developed a collection of gas powered tools to help them maintain their outdoor spaces. Lawn mowers, chainsaws, hedge trimmers. edgers, and weed whackers whirling away during any given sunny day is commonplace in all neighborhoods.

When I first purchased my semi-urban home, I immediately began looking into getting my own collection of carbon fueled monsters and yard care toys. My yard and gardens were overgrown from years of neglect. I knew that the only answer was horsepower, gasoline, and carbon fueled machines. However, that was before I saw my first reel mower being used by an older neighbor….I was intrigued, and set out to see how many non-carbon fueled yard care items I could acquire.

I went to the big box hardware store and found myself in the midst of an onslaught from various types of gasoline lawnmowers. I asked the clerk to show me a reel mower, and his blank stare proved that I was barking up the wrong tree. I next asked for some hand shears, and was shown a battery powered trimmer. The collection of options at most Big Box stores was clearly not going to suit my new Carbon Zero desires. Online shopping would be the best option per usual 🙂


Amazon has a variety of options in reel mowers, saws, watering cans, and hand shears. I bought one of each and set to work on the overgrown jungle that was my backyard. At first, I had a lot of neighbors offering me to let me borrow different gas powered items to assist with the job. I actively had to resist people bringing me over different tools to help with my outdoor maintenance.

Below I’ve provided links to the items I use most frequently

American Reel Mower: Cost = $100 (Reel Mower: LINK to AMAZON)

This is 4th year with this mower. I’ve sharpened the blades each year and had to replace the handle grips after 2 years. It is still working well for my lawn care, and maintains a nice cut. Overall, it’s very lightweight and I can carry it with one hand. Here is a link to the sharpening kit which should last me over 5 years of sharpening for $16. (Sharpening Kit: LINK to AMAZON)

Folding Saw: Cost = $23 (Saw: LINK to AMAZON)

This is the closest comparable saw I can find to my current one. I’ve two of these for over 5 years now; one for lawn care and one for backpacking. They are amazingly lightweight and have held up well for cutting branches, small firewood, fences etc.

Steel 6″ Hand Shears: Cost = $18 (Shears: LINK to LOWES)

I’ve had these shears for 3 years now. I used them very often for trimming bushes, cutting out weeds, and edging my grass around flower beds and sidewalks. They have three different positions and although have developed some blade rust, still cut nicely.

On a weekly basis I use 3-6 tools to keep everything ship shape. I have over 30 perennials planted, roughly 1100 sq ft of grass, 2 large garden boxes (vegetables & herbs), 6 bushes, and a mixture of small trees.

Nowadays, my neighbors has become used to my strange yard care tactics. If you ever drive around Columbus and see a man trimming his grass edges with a pair of hand shears….that is probably me!

I honestly believe that storing gasoline, charging batteries, replacing spark plugs, maintaining engines, and mixing oil ratios takes longer than grabbing a trusty hand tool and getting to work. No pull starts for me; just a little time and effort.

The benefit of my carbon zero approach? Everything is quiet, lightweight, and doesn’t admit nasty fumes. Further, hand tools give me superior control when compared to larger gas powered options. Finally, the sustainability aspect is rewarding to me. I feel like I’m operating my own little organic garden in Columbus’ urban core 🙂


Written By:

Luke Langhals

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