Last weekend, I was up and ready to start my Sunday at 6:30 am., which doesn't happen often.

I looked at my wife and said, "It's too early to mow the lawn, right?"

The obvious answer was yes, it was far too early.

But that got me thinking. As a new(ish) homeowner, when is the earliest I can cut the lawn? And when is the latest I or my neighbors should be out cutting the lawn at night?

We are in the tick of cookouts, birthday parties, celebrations, and above all, mowing season.

But is firing that mower up too early in the morning or too late at night illegal? Finable?

Man cutting grass in his yard with lawn mower.
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As a morning radio host, I'm a morning person. So for me, I would be more forgiving of someone who fires up their engine at 7am as opposed to 8pm.

Taking this question to the people of New Hampshire was....interesting. I will try and dissect the overwhelming and varying responses to find out the right answer.

But let's get to the law before we get to the public opinion.

First and foremost, most towns have a noise ordinance. For example, in Portsmouth,

...the operation of any such set, instrument, phonograph, machine or device between the hours of ll:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. in such a manner as to be plainly audible at City of Portsmouth, NH Ordinances Page 14 Chapter 3 a distance of 50 feet from the building, structure or vehicle in which it is located shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section. – Chapter IV, Section 3.403, B.

That said, if you fire your mower up at 10:30 pm, your neighbors will certainly be unhappy. So what is the neighborly start and end time? The consensus I have gathered from nearly 100 people weighing in on the Seacoast is this:

The most respectful time is between 9am and 7pm.

The doable but not overly happy time is between 8am and 8pm.

The NO-GO time is before 8am and after 8pm.

But again, as long as you are within your town's noise ordinance, you should be legally covered.

Riding Lawn Equipment with operator for periodically garden upkeep
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From the people of Maine and New Hampshire (not the written law), there were a variety of answers. Some said 7am start. Some were okay with mowers going until 10pm. I also got the other end of the spectrum, from 10am – 4pm (a short window).

When in doubt, stick between the most respectful times. That said, talk to your neighbor. Maybe they work an overnight shift or are a morning radio show host.

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