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Keeping your lawn looking great can be both fun and a bit tricky, and it gets even more interesting when you can’t use a lawn mower.

Maybe your mower is broken, you’re thinking about the environment, or you just want to try out old-school ways of cutting grass.

There are still plenty of good methods to get your lawn nice and tidy without using a motor.

In this guide, I’ll show you different ways to cut your grass without a mower, sharing some helpful advice to make your lawn look amazing in your own unique style.

5 Ways to Cut the Grass Without a Lawn Mower

Check out these five simple ways to cut your grass without a lawn mower, perfect for different yard sizes and your own way of doing things.

1. Scythe

Utilizing a scythe is a time-honored method that offers an effective way to manage larger areas.

While it might seem daunting at first, with a bit of practice, you can achieve a rhythm that makes cutting grass efficient and somewhat meditative.

The key is to maintain a proper stance and use a fluid motion to cut the grass evenly. Although the finish might not be as uniform as what a mower would provide, the scythe allows you to cover large spaces quickly once you’ve mastered the technique.

2. String Trimmer

A string trimmer is a fantastic tool for those hard-to-reach areas where mowers fall short. It’s particularly handy around edges, fences, and garden beds.

Although a string trimmer doesn’t provide the perfect levelness of a mower, it’s incredibly effective for maintaining smaller lawns or tidying up after using a larger tool.

The trick is to move steadily and avoid cutting the grass too short, which can stress the turf.

3. Grass Sickles

For precision and control, especially in smaller or intricately landscaped areas, grass sickles are an excellent choice. They allow you to cut with precision, making it easier to shape your lawn exactly how you want it.

While using a sickle can be time-consuming, it’s a great way to connect with your garden, offering a sense of satisfaction as you manually perfect your lawn’s appearance.

4. Garden Shears

Ideal for small lawns or for fine-tuning the edges, garden shears offer a level of detail that larger tools can’t match.

They require patience and a bit of elbow grease, but the results can be incredibly rewarding. You’ll find them particularly useful for crafting neat lawn edges or trimming small patches of grass.

While they may not be suitable for larger lawns, their precision is unmatched for smaller tasks.

5. Manual Reel Mower

A classic choice, the manual reel mower is both eco-friendly and quiet, providing a way to cut your lawn without the noise and emissions of a gas mower.

It’s best suited for smaller, flat areas and can give a very clean cut, which is beneficial for the health of your grass.

The manual reel mower is a good workout, too, offering a satisfying sense of accomplishment as you see the immediate results of your effort.

Tool Cutting Height Cutting Area Ease of Use Time Efficiency
Scythe Can be adjusted with technique Ideal for large open spaces Challenging in the beginning Becomes faster with experience
String Trimmer Adjustable, but less precise Best for edges and small/medium areas Relatively easy to handle Quick for trimming and edging
Grass Sickles Low, close to the ground Small, detailed or difficult-to-reach areas Requires manual precision Time-consuming for detailed work
Garden Shears Very precise, close to the ground Perfect for small areas and creating clean edges Easy to use but physically demanding Slow, meticulous work
Manual Reel Mower Low to medium height Best for small to medium flat lawns Simple to use but requires physical effort Moderate, consistent effort needed

What’s the Best Way to Cut Grass Without a Lawn Mower?

Choosing the best method depends on your lawn’s size and your physical capabilities. For smaller, detailed areas, tools like shears and sickles offer precision, while larger spaces might benefit from the efficiency of a scythe or the versatility of a string trimmer.

Consider the level of effort you’re willing to invest and the specific needs of your lawn when selecting the right tool.


Adopting mower-free lawn maintenance methods can provide a unique sense of connection to your outdoor space. Whether you’re sculpting small garden patches with shears or managing vast green expanses with a scythe, each method offers its own rewards and challenges.

Embrace the process, and enjoy the satisfaction of maintaining a beautiful lawn through your own efforts and skill.