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I pissed off my neighbors today (again I think) by mowing my lawn at 6:30 am on Memorial day weekend. My neighbor came to me yelling and asked me to stop mowing. I realized what I was doing, I apologized and stopped mowing. We moved into the neighborhood a year ago and this is our first summer. We have a family gathering and wanted to get stuff done.

What is the best way to mend with our neighbors? I was thinking on the lines of bringing them some flowers today evening. Any ideas?

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    Also, consider getting an electric lawn mower. Much quieter (though still not acceptable at 6:30 AM), and you don't need to fuss with gas, pull starting, and so on. It's also not a good idea to mow that early, as most places the grass will still be wet from dew. – jamesqf May 23 '15 at 17:44
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    Electric? Quieter? No way, I was ready to commit murder two weeks ago when the neighbour started his flymo up at 8 on a Sunday morning - against the bye laws anyway. – Bamboo May 23 '15 at 18:45
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Do you have hills in your yard? If not, I highly recommend using a reel lawn mower that doesn't go by gas.

Quiet lawn mower

My sister uses one of these because early morning is the only time she has to mow the lawn. They're a real pain if you have a hilly yard but if your yard is flat enough, these things are great. It doesn't take that much longer, you get a bit better workout, and you don't have to spend money on gas.

Then, when your neighbor sees that you bought one of these, they'll take it as an apology. They see you're doing your part to keep it quiet for them. You might have to show them the new lawn mower, but make sure they know you got it. Apologize, be nice about it, but show them that you're taking action.

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  • I think these mowers are faster than gas powered, because you aren't limited to the drive speed of a gas mower, they are light enough to pick up, and don't require as much maintenance. They don't give as high quality a cut though. – Carl May 28 '15 at 14:12
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Flowers if you like, but a heartfelt apology and a promise not to do it again would be just as good. 6.30 am? I'd have only been asleep for 3 and a half hours, and I can't be the only one... and I'm wondering about your bracketed 'again' - if you've done it before, didn't they tell you about it then? Or does the 'again' refer to something else where you've been inconsiderate? More than one slip might warrant flowers, in that case...

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Generally there is a de facto concept of quiet hours in every community. As a member of the community one needs to observe what others do and not be an outlier. Quiet hours generally run from 10pm to 8 in my community. Most likely your city has a noise ordinance and next time you may get a ticket. Just don't mow so early next time.

Lay low for a while and be cool.
Try to be a good neighbor by not doing unusual things. Fix the unusual things about your house (peeling paint, weeds). Flowers/candies/gifts of atonement can make you annoying if that is highly unusual. Be the average Joe and try to not too outside of the Jones's.

This man in Oklahoma was arrested for mowing.

This city in Minnesota outlaws mowing from 10pm to 7am.

Another community's rule

An example in Japan: "For UDP squadrons: Particularly sensitive to our Japanese Hosts are Tactical Jet engine turnups after normal working hours and during holidays. ... IDLE POWER TURN-UPS ANYTIME EXCEPT DURING QUIET HOURS"

If the military has to be quiet at night, perhaps you could be quiet as well...

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  • "Most likely your city has a noise ordinance" That's too localized advice to be helpful. – Mast May 25 '15 at 7:54
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    I clarified my answer. I have traveled the world and noticed the concept of quiet hours in every community. – Chris May 25 '15 at 14:36
  • Around here it isn't standard. As said, your answer is too localized. I'm not saying his city doesn't have such a thing, but around here there's one limit all day long. The neighbours won't appreciate such a stunt though, so it would be quite stupid to mow the lawn at 3 AM. – Mast May 25 '15 at 14:42
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    I agree with @Mast, I have an HOA, and just checked our rules and regulations. The only noise related rule is that off road vehicles require a muffler to keep noise levels "appropriate". The rules you've cited are a college (where quiet hours are common in the dorms) and what looks to be a military regulation about jet turbines. Those are very different than a neighborhood and mowing a lawn. – Andy May 25 '15 at 14:58
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    De facto rules and norms need not be written down. In a college dorm community they may be written down. Mast said that in his community, mowing at 3am is not acceptable. That's a de facto rule. (De facto in law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established".) – Chris May 25 '15 at 17:41

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