Two Southampton locals, Hilary Woodward and Sally Van Allen, are changing the way lawns are mowed on the East End. Their new company, Reel Quiet Mowing, is an alternative lawn mowing service that is dedicated to operating quietly, efficiently and sustainably through the use of human-powered equipment.
It all started when Woodward was walking her 2-year-old grandniece around Southampton. What Woodward expected to be a nice summer stroll in the Hamptons was interrupted by the sound of loud, noisy landscapers working at nearly every house they encountered. Her grandniece put her hands over her ears and shouted, “I don’t like that sound!” And Woodward didn’t either. Later that day, as she mowed her own lawn with her push-reel mower, one of those old-fashioned mowers that operates by pushing alone, Woodward realized that there was an easy solution to a major problem on the East End.
Woodward quickly brought the idea to her lifelong best friend, Van Allen, who immediately got on board. Van Allen remembers, “She drove into my driveway and the gravel was flying behind her tries and she screamed, ‘I have it! I have it!’” The two had been searching for the perfect outdoor business plan for the Hamptons, and they knew they’d found it with Woodward’s idea for Reel Quiet Mowing. “This wouldn’t be happening if Sally hadn’t said ‘let’s do it,’” Woodward assures.
By replacing the commonly used, gas-powered equipment with human-powered push reel lawn mowers, rakes and brooms, Reel Quiet Mowing dramatically reduces the growing noise pollution on the East End. The noise is “disturbing to people’s psyche,” Woodward says. “There’s this wonderful place out on the East End,” Van Allen continues, “but now there’s just noise.”
In addition to reducing noise pollution, eliminating gas-powered equipment also greatly benefits the environment. Over 800 million gallons of gas are used each year in America to trim lawns alone, and 17 million gallons are spilled in the process. By simply switching to human-powered equipment, Reel Quiet Mowing has taken the first step to change these statistics.
As for the finished product, Woodward says the lawns trimmed by human-powered equipment have “some of the healthiest grass I’ve ever seen.” The grass clippings left behind by push mowers supply the lawn with nitrogen and retain moisture.
Best of all, the prices of this sustainable mowing service are competitive. By replacing the large, costly equipment that typical lawn companies use—including the large trucks that carry all of that equipment—Reel Quiet Mowing uses their modest fee to pay for a dedicated, friendly service from two local women who do it all themselves.
“It’s a different experience for the client,” Van Allen says. “There’s friendliness and we’re very intimate with their yard.” Clients love to come outside and chat with Woodward and Van Allen as the two happily beautify the yard.
“It’s really fun,” Van Allen says, “it’s like a walking meditation. It’s so quiet and you get into a rhythm with the grass flowing around you.”
So why isn’t everyone using this type of equipment? Other companies may fear that Reel Quiet Mowing’s approach to lawn care could be too time-consuming, but it’s actually not the case. “It’s surprising how efficient the mowers are,” Woodward says. “It doesn’t take any longer than walking behind a gas motor.”
Van Allen truly believes that what is stopping larger companies from using human-powered equipment is “the mindset. This is the way it’s been done for so many years. People don’t realize that there is another way to do things.”
Reel Quiet Mowing is currently offering mowing services for small village properties. Inquiries regarding other locations, property sizes and services will be considered, visit reelquietmowing.com or call 631-488-4795.