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Get Landscaping Ideas to Improve Curb Appeal at Garden Centers

Homeowners looking to add curb appeal or market value to their homes can get started with landscaping ideas and products at local garden centers. Planting trees and selecting colorful flowers will not only provide a welcoming atmosphere to visiting guests, but doing so may also raise the sale price of the home. The right kind of mulch can be an easy and inexpensive way to polish up a yard’s appearance, cover up problem areas, and promote the health of existing plants. The upkeep of grass with products and regular maintenance will ensure its healthy and attractive shade of green remains. Finally, colorful pottery can brighten dark spots, while installing lawn art, such as wind chimes and sculptures, adds a unique and personal touch to the home’s exterior.

Add Trees and the Right Flowers

As many people associate trees with cleaner air, less pollution, and a step away from an urban environment, planting a few trees in the front yard not only improves the general aesthetic of a home’s exterior, but it can also boost a home’s market value. According to a study, homes on the real estate market with trees-especially those planted between the sidewalk and street, called “street trees”-sold for an average of $7,100 more than houses without trees.

Colorful flowers and plants don’t have to be limited to flower beds; they can be arranged around the mailbox, on the edge of the driveway, or along the entryway. With the right combination of plants, colors, and pattern arrangements, landscaping homeowners can provide a welcoming and cheerful scene for visiting guests and prospective home buyers.

Selecting the best flowers may depend on the right color scheme desired, the time of year that homeowners choose to showcase their homes to guests or potential home buyers, and how much upkeep an individual is willing to do. Annuals attract buyers and guests for their brightly colored blooms, but must be replaced every year. Perennials, however, bloom at different times of the year and last longer-more than two years on average. Those working on a landscaping project may ask for advice at garden centers when choosing the right flowers. Homeowners should also have a landscaping design in mind. Trees and flowers must be placed with adequate space in between to avoid a disorganized clutter, rather than the desired look of manicured scenery.

Mulch the Flower Beds

Simply adding a two-inch layer of mulch in the flower bed or on the dirt surrounding plants and trees can instantly give a lawn a more refreshed and polished look, while also covering up problem areas, such as dead patches usually found around trees. Homeowners looking to sell their houses may find that mulch and its variety of colors and smells may appeal to the senses of potential home buyers.

Additionally, mulch promotes plant health as it holds in much-needed moisture, maintains a moderate soil temperature, and reduces weed growth. For maximum curb appeal, experts warn against the use of red mulch. While this bright and eye-catching color can grab people’s attention, red mulch can easily clash with the color schemes of other flowers and landscaping accessories. Instead, stay neutral with darker colors such as dark brown and black.

Greener Grass

Grass usually makes up the largest part of the lawn, so its health and appearance plays a major role in a home’s curb appeal and general first impression. Homeowners can opt to restart or refresh their lawn by seeding or choosing new grass at the garden center. The right type of grass selected should be based on the location’s climate and amount of annual rainfall. For example, those who live in areas with low annual rainfall should consider Buffalo, Bermuda, and other types of grass that are considered drought-resistant.

In the meantime, healthy grass with an attractive shade of green can be achieved with a few maintenance tips, such as the use of fertilizers and other products; regular mowing, edging, and trimming, and also keeping a watchful eye for various diseases.

The Use of Colored Pots and Lawn Art

Landscaping homeowners can remedy gloomy spots and corners when they shop for colorful pottery at garden centers. Lawn art pieces such as bird baths, wind chimes in the entry way, or even cherubic sculptures are a great way to add a dramatic touch. Also, individuals have an opportunity to add their own personality to a landscaping project when they select pieces that best reflect their unique tastes.

It is imperative that homeowners select lawn pieces that are resistant to all forms of weather, such as rain, wind, and snow. With the wrong kind of material placed in the front lawn, a shopper could be replacing a bird bath every time it’s damaged by rain or windy weather-or having to deal with guests taking a second glance at a tarnished eyesore.

Also, while it could be enjoyable to shop for sculptures and pottery, it can also be easy to take it too far without a landscaping design plan in mind. Homeowners should remember that much of the curb appeal of a home’s exterior relies on minimal upkeep, making big differences with small simple changes, and a crisp and clean view for onlookers and guests. While lawn art can be unique and great to look at, too much art-especially when arranged close together-can distract from a lawn’s natural beauty.

Tips for Simple Residential Landscaping Maintenance

Are you someone who loves to see a beautifully landscaped yard, but find that your horticultural skills are limited to those plants that require little to no maintenance? Maybe, you are moderately successful with plants, but the thought of a large landscape design is overwhelming because you don’t know where you will find the time to actually do the work. The reality is that quite often we have dreams of the magazine worthy lawn and landscape design, but when it comes to the actual implementation, we don’t have the time and energy it would take to maintain the look.

Most of us know that residential landscaping is one of the best ways you can add value and beauty to your home, but many of us just lack the knowledge, skill and time to achieve it. Thankfully, there are many ways to have that amazing residential landscape design without dealing with hours of stress.

7 Tips for Simple Residential Landscaping Maintenance

1. Before planting anything, talk to some of the local nurseries or those in your area with particularly beautiful landscapes and learn as much as you can about the soil conditions and what type of plants and grass do best. If you are new to the area, be sure to also ask about the weather and light throughout the year. Knowing this will help you choose plants that will be successful.

2. Take some time to sketch out any ideas you may have your yard. Be sure to indicate areas for trees, hedges, flower gardens and edges. Often, local nurseries have people who can come to your residence and help you plan this out.

3. Plan on planting trees and shrubs that require minimal maintenance, but will grow and flourish for years. Be sure there are some shade trees included in your selection! After all, no residential landscape should be without shaded areas where one can sit outside and just relax.

4. Select flowers and trees that are native to your area. Plant these items in their sun preferred area and you will find that little to no work will be required for them to look fabulous.

5. Rather than trying to maintain numerous gardens and landscaped areas at once, start small. Choose 1 or 2 key areas to focus on. In subsequent years you can add more areas, just be sure to know your time limits, and plant accordingly.

6. Plant similar types of plants together. Not will this look great, but it will be easier to maintain.

7. Use borders and walkways to add interest as well as keep grass from creeping into the garden areas.

Residential landscaping doesn’t have to be difficult or something only dreamed of. Use these tips and before you now it, you can have that picture worthy landscape.

Watering Tools To Have In Your Yard

Watering Tools To Have In Your YardIn maintaining the pleasant aesthetics of your property, you have to keep your lawn or garden healthy. This is a big responsibility. Tending to the health of a massive lawn can be quite a chore. But understanding the components of a lush garden will make the job easier for you.

Watering is among the crucial things to consider in your lawn and garden. To keep grass and all other plants properly hydrated, there are pieces of watering equipment you can use. Aside from the typical garden hose, lawn care professionals recommend these other tools:

Watering can

Traditional watering cans are effective water-saving tools. While it may be easier to use a hose, the impact of heavy water that flows on it can damage your plants. Additionally, watering cans are recommended to use on small potted plants because the amount of water it holds is just enough. This means you can prevent water wastage.

Hanging basket wand

Plants that hang in patios and trees like orchids and other decorative plants are easier to water using hanging basket wand. You can just angle this longer wand near the breaker end and your plants get hydrated at an instant. Compared to holding up a hose, this watering system is lightweight and easier to position correctly.

Rain gauge

In areas where rainfall is abundant, this little tool is very helpful as it shows how much natural precipitation has fallen on your lawn or garden. You will be able to determine if you need to water your yard or take a day off from the responsibility. Make sure to empty the gauge after every rainfall in order to get accurate data.

Soaker hose

Newly planted seeds need low-volume watering system. A soaker hose is an ideal tool because this provides proper hydration. It makes sure that water truly seeps through the ground. To achieve the all-natural look of the plant bed and to prevent water wastage, you can cover the soaker hose with mulch.


Schedule watering in your lawn and maintain this through a timer. This affordable gadget will help you ensure that your lawn is green at all times. Watering timer can be set to the necessary duration. Before you leave, turn the spigot on. You’ll have your lawn and garden hydrated according to the set schedule.

Interesting Design Themes for Gardens

Interesting Design Themes for GardensEveryone has a different sense of style. While that is reflected in our clothing fashion it is also expressed in our homes which extend to our gardens. Many people spend a lot of time planning the design of each of the rooms in their homes and usually the garden comes last. I think this should be done first, especially if it’s your front yard. This is what your visitors will see first when they come to visit you. So perhaps now is the right time to start planning your garden. To help you along we have a few garden design themes.

Modern Garden. This may sound a bit vague but this type of garden consists of decorative outdoor art such as outdoor rock paintings and sleek white stone statues. This garden is designed with neat lines not a particular rock look. In other words, the pathways are paved with sleek cobbles and there are strategically placed flowers and trees. There is a specific structure to the layout of the flowers and the trimmed grass. The swimming pool area is minimalistic and has a clear blue water appearance with neat white cobble tiles to finish off the look. You could also place a pond in the middle of the garden as a focal point which can be tiled with modern copings.

Oriental Garden. This garden is reminiscent of the Eastern look where you have trees that are shaped like bonsai trees, soft pale pink flowers and deep green plants. This type of garden also has strategically placed oriental styled arches and the walkways consist of stone white cobbles. It also has an area allocated for a Zen garden which consists of soft flowing sand and smooth rooks. Depending on your mood, you can rake specific patterns in the sand to create a flow of peaceful emotions.

Natural Garden. This garden takes less effort to maintain. You need to choose plants that are indigenous to your area and that thrive in the outdoors and with minimal water. Basically you rely on the rain to water your plants. This is the perfect theme for people who have busy lives and don’t have much time to tend their garden. The walkways have a natural weathered look which you can create with simulated stone tiles in a grey colour.

Exciting Innovations in Gardening Retail

As developers continue to design and create new tools and products, a gardening retail establishment will likely showcase these new inventions. Staying abreast of these innovations will keep people on the cutting edge of technology. Peruse new releases every year to ensure that you have the latest and best gadgets you’ll need for growing.

Self-Watering Containers

Watering is one of those tasks that a gardener cannot neglect when healthy plants are the goal. Instead of trying to remember to keep the soil moist, special self-watering containers can now take care of this task for you. The planters themselves are stylish and attractive, fitting in virtually any growing area. They are ideal for holding either flowers or vegetables, and many even have an integrated trellis for climbing vegetation. After filling the container with soil and plants, simply fill the self-watering reservoir with water. The reservoir will release moisture slowly and evenly to keep the soil perfectly moist at all times. Plants will usually thrive when they receive this perfect level of moisture, and you can cross the watering off your to-do list. Explore a gardening retail center to find containers in different sizes and styles to fit any space and fulfill any need. Many are available in cedar and metal, and they often have additional shelves for storing tools.

Vegetation Monitor

Take the guesswork out of determining how and when to water plants by using a plant monitor. This ingenious device has a wireless sensor that will keep track of moisture levels in the soil, as well as a plant’s temperature, fertilizer, and light needs. The sensor will even take the monitoring a step further by sending reports directly to a smartphone or another mobile device, enabling you to provide the perfect amount of water, light, or fertilizer for a plant.

Garden Camera

Anyone who has struggled with yard damage from animals or insects will want to know the exact cause of the destruction. While camping out in the flowerbed is an option, there is an easier alternative. Installing a garden camera amongst the flowers or vegetables will enable you to record all the activity that occurs in a landscape. This camera takes pictures at varying intervals, as frequently as every minute. Situate the camera where it will have a full scope of the area. After reviewing the footage, you might just catch the culprits that are damaging your plants.

Realistic Garden Owl

Placing an owl decoy in a garden is not a new tactic; however, pests often catch on and stop fearing a decoy that never moves or makes any sounds. In contrast, an electronic owl will perch in a landscape to scare off critters that threaten flower and vegetable beds. This type of owl actually moves and makes realistic noises in response to special sensors that detect movement. The owl will turn its head in the direction of the movement and make frightening hoots to scare away little rodents.

Guide In Choosing Your Artificial Grass

Everyone can use a little artificial grass. This type of grass can help you achieve the perfect show garden that is good-looking all year-round and it is the solution if you desire a turf that requires less maintenance. When buying your grass, there are several important aspects that you should consider.

1. The quality of the grass and the price.

You should keep in mind that the main reason why you are installing artificial grass is that it is meant to be permanent. You should be able to make the right choice in selecting your supplier. When searching for the artificial grass to buy, experts advise that you ask for samples of the different quality products that each supplier offers. Bring those samples when you go to other suppliers so that you can compare. Once you have set your benchmark, you can now focus your attention on the price.

2. Weather conditions in your area.

While weather conditions do not play a major role in the choice of artificial grass, it should not also be ignored. If your property’s surrounding area is prone to falling fragments from trees and other sources, you need to consider the maintenance when making your choice. Opting for a product that requires little maintenance over a product that may require more hours of cleaning will make a huge difference in the long-term for you. Therefore, you need to find out how much maintenance is required in the product that you are interested in and if you will have to buy products in the future to be able to maintain the quality of your grass.

3. The amount of traffic your grass will be exposed to.

It is important that you know what amount of traffic your turf will be exposed to when choosing your grass so you will avoid selecting a product that is designed for low traffic and avoid the need to replace worn and damaged artificial grass. A very important thing to remember if you choose a product that offer high traffic volumes is that you will have to give up the comfort and feel of your grass. Take note that higher traffic requires higher durability of the artificial grass; since durability affects the comfort the grass provide, expect that as the durability becomes higher the lesser comfort it offers.

4. The size of the portion you want to be covered.

The size of the portion that you want to be covered is likewise a factor that you need to consider when choosing your artificial grass. Maintenance costs and the cost per square meter must also be considered. A larger area may not affect the price per square meter but you must remember that it will affect the upkeep costs. Low maintenance products are suitable for wider areas most especially if you can’t spare some time to do the maintenance yourself or if you don’t have the money to pay for lawn care services to maintain your lawn.

Tips for Caring for Your Home Landscaping This Fall

Even during the autumn months, you still want to be sure that your home landscaping is getting the care it needs in order to thrive throughout the winter and into the following spring. Here are a few tips on how to make sure your grass, flowers and other plants are in good shape for the next growing season.

The best time of year to plant new trees or to fertilize your grass is the fall. Doing both of these tasks allows the root systems of your grass and new trees to grow deep down into the soil. After the spring months start rolling around, your grass and trees should grow better and healthier thanks to this strong root structure.

While raking is not a favorite chore for just about anyone, it is still one of the most important ways you can maintain your grass and home landscaping. There are rakes on the market that are more ergonomic, so you could save yourself a lot of back and arm aches if you choose one that doesn’t require you to bend over too far. Try to rake your yard at least once a week if the weather permits.

You should also be sure to continue mowing your grass until it goes dormant for the season. The height you should mow it too depends on the type of grass you have in your yard. If you are unsure, you should contact your local nursery to get their expert advice on how far down you should cut your grass.

During the winter months, especially if there is snow on the ground, do not allow toys, sleds, shoes and other items to sit on your lawn. This can cause the grass, plants and other aspects of your home landscaping to flatten, and it might be difficult or even impossible for the plants to come back when the spring season comes around again.

Finally, be sure to prune any plants or trees in your yard as well. If you are unsure of how to do this, again, that is a question for your local nursery. The professionals that work there should be able to help you with this. You might also want to consider calling in a professional home landscaping service to take care of this for you, especially if you’ve never done it before.

With a few extra chores on your part, your home landscaping will look great throughout the winter until next spring!

How to Pick the Right Fence for Your Swimming Pool

Are you all set to install a striking swimming pool in your backyard this summer? Looking forward to setting up a fence around it? Don’t know which fence type will suit the best with your home d├ęcor? Why not read this article and avail yourself to a wide range of options in order to build a right fence for your pool!

When you settle on the decision to introduce a swimming pool in your patio, you need to know the rudiments of pool improvement to perceive what your decisions are. There are different parts, and all that much a few addresses, that must be pondered before beginning up with this procedure. Most of the residents prefer installing an inground pool for their dwelling, as without doubt they’re unimaginable fluctuated by the exquisiteness of this pool design.

Written below are some tips that can help you choose the right fence for your pool.

Tip #1: Determine its purpose

Before you take a decision of investing in a fence, it is important that you determine why exactly you need it. This can only be done by approaching a fencing professional and asking for help. He will tell you how exactly the process goes and will determine the best materials and height that will suit the best for your pool. You can add a fence around your pool to enhance its beauty and to give a sublime touch of elegance to the outer area of your abode. Once you’ve determined the purpose, then comes the turn to carry out a detailed research in order to find out an ideal fencing contractor that will suit the best for you. Also, you can shortlist a few and then decide later on whom to hire.

Tip #2: Make use of the web

It is important that you explore the web properly and avail yourself of different websites that offer all the important information you may require about fence contractors in order to find the correct professional for carrying out the complete pool building process.

Tip #3: Ask for certification

This ought to the first thing to ask when it comes to hiring a professional for building your pool. It is important that you ask for certification and make sure the builder is talented enough to fulfill all your pool related requirements.

Tip #4: Pick the right material

When it comes to finalizing an ideal material for your fence, there are plenty of options to choose from, which include wood, vinyl, metal, brick, etc. Metals like aluminium, steel and wrought iron are considered the best as they provide proper security and privacy to all the homeowners sitting worldwide.

Benefits of Synthetic Grass

A vast and verdant green lawn is the epitome of successful homeownership for some people. This goal can take significant time and effort, however. Instead of toiling outdoors with the lawn mower, rake, fertilizer, and weed remover, you might install synthetic grass. This artificial turf has a number of benefits that appeal to many.

Overall Curb Appeal

When a yard looks good, often the entire property looks good. A neatly manicured yard generally gives an impression of tidiness that spreads to the entire exterior of a house, making everything appear well tended and maintained. Even if everything isn’t perfect about the outside of your home, when you have a tidy lawn, the eye naturally overlooks other flaws.

Minimal Maintenance

Taking care of a yard takes time. Depending on the size of a yard and the frequency of tasks, the time investment in a yard can be significant. Mowing, edging, and fertilizing can seem to take up an entire weekend, and the tasks then need to be repeated throughout the warmer months. With synthetic grass, this maintenance simply disappears, freeing you for more enjoyable pursuits.

Cost Savings

Maintaining a yard involves a variety of expenses. From tools and equipment to products like fertilizer, people tend to spend money on a continual basis to keep the grass green and healthy. On average, consumers could spend $500 per year or even more on this type of maintenance, and prices for materials continue to rise. Installing artificial turf may have an initial cash outlay, but this expense is a one-time event without the costs continuing to accrue.

Lack of Chemicals

Keeping the turf lush and green often involves copious amounts of potentially harmful chemicals. The chemicals are designed to protect the turf and prevent weeds from encroaching. Chemicals are also used to enhance growth and make a lawn thicker and greener. With synthetic grass, the homeowner can skip the potentially hazardous chemicals while still enjoying a beautiful lawn.

Enhanced Drainage

Puddles of standing water can be damaging for natural grass. These types of moisture problems can also create a muddy landscape that makes it difficult to enjoy a yard. With synthetic grass, drainage will cease to be a problem. Rainwater will drain away quickly. The rain also serves as an excellent method of renewing and washing the artificial turf, and it will dry without issue.


With natural grass, some homeowners cringe at a lot of foot traffic because the roots of the lawn can be fragile. These worries disappear with artificial turf, because this surface is exceptionally durable.

Concerns of a straggly lawn will disappear as if by magic with the installation of artificial turf. You might wonder why you used to spend so much time maintaining a yard. Get ready to have extra time for many more activities after you choose this landscaping option.

Basic Yard Care Equipment Maintenance

Taking care of your yard care equipment will keep them in top shape, and most importantly, reliable and safe. There’s nothing worse than racing against a setting sun, and your trimmer or lawn mower refuses to start. After yanking the pull starter 20 times, and literally pulling your arm out of its socket, you realize it’s not going to start today. Basic yard care equipment maintenance can make the difference between your equipment lasting less than a year, to lasting 10 years or more. I’ll be covering the essential gas powered machines that most homeowners would have in their arsenal. Both 2 stroke and 4 stroke engines will be discussed. If you’re serious about keeping your lawn equipment in top shape, get a compressor and an air blow gun. The compressor will save you hours of time cleaning your equipment, and can get into areas that you can’t by hand.

String Trimmer

When these first came out in the ’70’s, they were called weed whackers. I still call them weed whackers today. Somehow calling them a string trimmer doesn’t describe their potential. Before we get into some basic maintenance tips, let’s cover how to use them. Most people have no clue how to use a weed whacker and run it full throttle, hacking back and forth, literally scalping their yard. Running it at full throttle burns the grass, and leaves a lot of ugly brown areas on your yard. It should be run at low to medium speed.

If the area you’re cutting requires more aggressive cutting, switch to a thicker trimmer line. I use a .095 trimmer line as it does a nice job on detail work as well as more aggressive cutting on thick weeds and shady lawn grass. A weed whacker is not intended to do your entire yard, unless it is very inaccessible or on a steep slope. It’s designed to do detail work like areas around trees, shrubs, hedges, and sidewalk. Large areas should be cut with a lawn mower. The most expensive part of your weed whacker and the most neglected is the gear drive at the trimmer head. The gear drive transfers the spinning shaft from the motor, and converts it into a right angle to transfer power to the trimmer head. On the side of the gear box is a small allen or hex screw. This screw is a fill cap that exposes the inside of the gear drive housing. Every six months, fill the housing with grease until it fills completely, and replace the screw. Don’t use just any type of grease!

Shindaiwa makes a special grease in a tube. It looks like a toothpaste tube, and with most weed whackers, it screws right into the hole. It can then be squeezed like a grease gun to fill the housing. If you don’t grease the gear regularly, the grease will disappear, and the gear box will get extremely hot. The gears will then start to wear rapidly, and eventually seize up, destroying the bearings and gears. At this point, it’s probably not worth repairing, as the gear box on a quality weed whacker costs almost as much as the entire machine. If you can’t afford even a small compressor, invest in a good canister vacuum cleaner, or small shop vac, but I strongly urge you to save up and get a compressor. After every use, I use an air blow gun to blow out the cooling fins on the cylinder head, pull starter, and every nook and cranny that you can get into through all the vents on the plastic outer body of the motor. A strong vacuum works, but not as well.

Grass and dirt are like glue, and will stick to everything, especially hot engine parts. Keeping the cooling fins clean will keep the motor running cool and extend it’s life. Blowing debris out of the pull starter will keep it working smoothly, and put less drag on the motor. Once a month, remove the air filter assembly, and blow out the air filter as well, and the carburetor intake. Once a year, remove the gearbox from the shaft. There’s a screw head on the side of the shaft next to the fill plug that secures the gear box to the outer shaft housing. Once you remove the gear box, the inner shaft will slide right out. It’s either a long spring with square ends, or a solid steel shaft. Using a good quality high temperature, high pressure grease, generously lube the entire shaft. Slide it back in, making sure the square ends fit completely into the outer shaft and into the motor. If it doesn’t want to go back in completely, rotate the shaft, and it will drop back in. Do the same thing when installing the gear box. Yard work is dirty, dusty work, and flying debris will find it’s way into your weed whacker.


Chainsaws create a tremendous amount of sawdust that gets everywhere inside the body of the chainsaw. Having an air blow gun and compressor will save you hours in cleaning it. Same procedure as cleaning the weed whacker. Blast air into the cooling fins and pull starter areas, through the vent openings in the body. Concentrate especially in blowing out the area where the clutch housing is located inside the chainsaw body. The chainsaw tends to suck everything into this area as the chain passes through what you’re cutting, and clogs it up. Blast air from the bottom side where the chain enters the body, as well as from the top side. You may have to do this several times, both top and bottom. You’ll be amazed at how much debris keeps coming out.

Every six months, remove the blade, blade guide, and blade cover. Usually there are two nuts that secure the blade and cover, allowing quick access. Spend a few minutes to blow out the clutch and clutch shoes. If you don’t clean out the clutch, it will rust from moisture trapped inside of the housing and between the springs and clutch shoes and lock up solid. When you release the throttle, the chain won’t stop spinning, a very dangerous condition. Once it locks up solid, it can’t be repaired, and needs to be replaced. I destroyed an Echo clutch because I wasn’t paying attention to this area. Don’t bother with trying to resharpen a chainsaw blade. It can be done, but it will only last for a day.

Once the factory hardened blades get dull, the exposed edges of the blade are soft, and even when sharpened, will dull quickly. Get a new chain, they’re inexpensive, and you get a new factory hardened edge that will last for a long time. Make sure to put the chain back on in the proper direction. Those little sharp chrome blades should be facing forward. Chainsaw blades spin forward, away from you, for a reason. If the chain should break when in use, it will whip forward, away from you. If the chain rotated backwards, or towards you, and it should break, it will whip right into your face, upper body, or arms, with violent force. At the speed it rotates at, this would cause severe injury or even death.

Lawn Mower

Everyone has probably owned a lawn mower or used one at some point in their lives. There are two types of lawnmowers. The first, and most common, is a rotary mower. It looks like an airplane propeller surrounded by a metal body. The propeller spins and cuts the grass, throwing the cuttings out through the side or rear. Rotary mowers are better on coarse grass, or uneven terrain. The second, is a reel mower. The blades look like a long cylinder with the blades curving around it. At the bottom is a bed, or knife, that is the other cutting edge. A reel mower works just like a pair of scissors.

As the reel rotates, the blades come into contact with the bed, creating a scissors action which cuts the grass. Reel mowers are for fine grass and level terrain. This is the type of mower used on golf courses and sports fields, as they give you a very fine, detailed cut that looks spectacular. Cleaning is the same as with chainsaws and weed whackers. Air blow the cooling fins, carburetor and air cleaner, and pull start openings. Also air blow debris from the blades, drive chains, if it has them, and wheels. Some rotary mowers come with an attachment for a garden hose to blast out the clippings around the blades and housing. I don’t really recommend doing this too often, as water tends to cause rust on the blades and housing, and will eventually damage the blade bearings on the motor shaft. Lawn mowers are four stroke motors, unlike chainsaws, weed whackers, and blower vacs using two stroke motors. Four stroke motors run on straight gasoline, without any oil mixture.

They have an internal oil sump which lubricates the crank, piston rings, and moving parts. Once a year, drain the oil and replace it. Fill the oil until you see it just about at the bottom of the fill plug. Blowers, Yard Vacs, And Other Two Stroke Equipment This section is to cover all other two stroke engine equipment. The maintenance procedure is the same. Blow out the cooling fins, and pull starter area through the vents in the body. Make sure to use a good quality two stroke oil mix recommended for your unit. Never run these engines on straight gas, the oil mix is the lubricant. Without it, the motor will fail from lack of lubrication and can’t be repaired for a reasonable price.

When your equipment becomes difficult to start, especially after a year or two of use, even when following these maintenance procedures, replace the spark plug. It will almost always cure a hard starting problem, unless there is some other mechanical problem. Use a fuel stabilizer in your gas, even if you use your equipment regularly. This will prevent moisture buildup and keep the fuel fresh longer. If you’re storing your equipment for the winter, run the engine until it’s completely out of fuel. Once the engine dies, pull the starter cord a few times to burn up the remaining fuel in the lines. If you’re serious about taking care of your yard long term, invest in good quality, name brand equipment. Stihl, Husqvarna, Echo, and Shindaiwa are the best equipment with a strong dealer network, and parts availability is not a problem. Avoid the no name, under $100 weed whackers and chainsaws. They will last six months to a year, and have a catastrophic failure. My experience with cheap equipment is the ignition systems are poorly made, and fail quickly. You’re left with a perfectly fine motor, but a dead ignition system that costs more to replace than the unit is worth. If you are a serious arborist, and take pride in your yard, quality equipment and a solid maintenance program will keep your equipment running forever. Most of my equipment is more than 10 years old. I just keep replacing parts as they wear out, but I have never replaced a motor yet. If you follow these basic maintenance tips, your equipment will start up every time, and never let you down.

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