We had a smallish yard at our old house and an even smaller one here. There is no grass in the back yard at all, just a little patio garden. Our front yard is nice-sized, and thanks to all the rain lately, looking pretty lush.
My husband insisted on a reel mower when we bought our old house. It cost all of $50, I think, and we have never had to buy gas. He usually is the one who cuts the grass, and it is pretty nice -- no smell, almost no noise, and the yard looks pretty good. The one downside is that it doesn't handle tall weeds as well, and if you put off mowing too long, it can get pretty tough to get through the grass.
I did our yard today and my neighbor offered to lend me his power mower (I was struggling with some longish grass). I said that this was just going to be my workout for today.
I'm picky about how it looks so I went over the lawn a couple of times to make sure it looked really good. I think it took me about an hour to do the lawn and sweep the sidewalks. I figure it's a combination cardio and resistance workout, with some core training built in. I wouldn't recommend this if you have actual acreage but if you are a city dweller it's worth a try. Saves gas, saves money, and it's better for the environment. Plus, if you feel like mowing at 5:30 on a Sunday morning, it won't bother anyone.
There are all kinds of variations: get rid of the noisy leaf blower, use a rake. In the wintertime, of course, you can ditch the snow blower and pick up a shovel.
I may have to think about taking over the yardwork. Maybe there's a way to market this: I could call it Backyard Bootcamp or something.