New Consumer Reports’ poll reveals America’s take on lawn care

Consumer Reports News: May 01, 2008 12:14 AM

Sixty-four percent of consumers think their neighbor has the best lawn on the block, according to a new poll of 1,005 adult homeowners conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. But that lawn envy should come as no surprise: 45 percent of respondents said they spend less than three hours per week doing lawn and yard work. (Visit our lawn-and-yard guide for information on making your property look its bests.)

"Our poll found that 39 percent of consumers said that a perfect lawn raises property values or boosts curb appeal," says Peter Sawchuk, our resident lawn-and-garden guru. "The key to a great lawn is good equipment and proper maintenance."

Here's what else we found out about Americans' lawns and the work they do on their properties.

Americans recognize the importance of lawns:
28 percent say they have the best lawn on the block.
64 percent say a neighbor has the best lawn.
26 percent would prefer less lawn and more flowers, rocks, or native landscaping.
38 percent never water their lawns.
23 percent spend at least 5 hours per week doing yard work.

Some Americans like doing yard work:
42 percent like mowing or find it relaxing.
25 percent disagree with family members about when to mow, who will mow, or how well the lawn was mowed.
10 percent say they've waited 28 days to mow.
6 percent of lawns are mowed by a household's children.
2 percent of lawns are mowed by a neighbor's kid.
49 percent say people who don't take care of their lawn are lazy or inconsiderate.

Americans exhibit some risky mowing behavior:
79 percent said they rarely or never use hearing protection, a must especially with louder mowers, tractors, and leaf blowers.
44 percent said they damaged their mower by running over a sprinkler head or other object, a pricey fix if it ruins the engine.

28 percent said they listened to music while mowing, a distraction that can drown out important cues while working.
24 percent said they'd been injured while mowing. (Lawn-mowing injuries account for about 77,000 yearly emergency-room visits in this country.)
12 percent said they drink beer while mowing, a major risk since alcohol impairs both judgment and reaction time.

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