It's time to get an oil change, grab a few gallons of gas, and start those lawnmowers! Maybe it's a bit early for you, depending on where you live but now is the time to set your lawn up for success this summer.

It's not too early for me or my neighbors! I swear we all had our spidey senses tingling...or we all just had our windows open. There were about 4 of us all cutting our grass at the same time yesterday evening. It felt like a very monkey see monkey do type of situation. I didn't mind, cutting the grass is probably my all-time favorite chore.

While we were all getting our yards cleaned up, I was curious if we all wanted to do this at 10 p.m. would that be too late? I am sure some of the other neighbors on our street wouldn't be thrilled but are we breaking any type of city code or Iowa law?

It appears that most cities in Iowa won't allow nighttime mowing if it's going to be disturbing to your neighbors.

Unsplash - Andres Siimon
Unsplash - Andres Siimon

Noise Disturbances

According to Iowa Codification, noise disturbances are "unlawful for any person to willfully make, continue, cause, or allow any noise disturbance within the city."

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If you end up staying at work late or are procrastinating on getting the lawn cut, most towns/cities in Iowa prohibit the use of lawn and garden equipment between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. Not every city has a 7 a.m. start time, however. For example, Dubuque.

According to the City of Dubuque, "power equipment such as lawn mowers, small lawn and garden tools, riding tractors that are necessary for the maintenance of property may operate between the hours of 8 a.m. and sunset, Monday-Friday. On the weekends, the start time changes to 9 a.m." While the start times may vary from city to city, it appears that most Iowa towns/cities agree on the 9 p.m. stop time.

There is an exception and that is for golf courses. Golf courses are exempt from lawn mower operation restrictions.

If you're noncompliant with your city's noise ordinance, you'll likely receive a fine of around $115 and could be charged for court costs. In extreme situations, you could receive a month in jail.

The Purpose

The reason for noise ordinances, according to Iowa Codification is to "establish standards for the control of excessive sound and vibration in the city thereby protecting the public's health, safety, and general welfare."

To be fair...I don't think many people would want to cut their grass in the dark. It can be tough to see and you could miss spots. It could also potentially be damaging to your lawn mower and ruin your blade. You could run something over with your mower you didn't intend to. Whether that be a big rock, a log, an animal, etc.


In the absolute worst-case scenario, you could hurt yourself or someone else. That's probably pretty unlikely but there are around 875 lawn mower-related ER visits every day in the United States, according to News Week. Mowing in the dark surely wouldn't help that number.

Don't annoy your neighbors and cut your grass at appropriate times of the day this summer!

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