July 17, 2008

Lawn Mower Tips For The Best Lawn Care

lawn mowers

There comes a time in every person’s life when he (or she) is faced with the task of choosing a new lawn mower. It may be when you buy your first house or when your old hand-me-down lawn mower breaks down.

Whatever the reason for your shopping, you want to choose the best lawn mower for your circumstances at a reasonable price. But what is the best lawn mower for you and your yard? Here are some things to think about the next time you are in the market for a lawn mower.

How Large Is Your Yard

First, consider the size and makeup of your yard. If you have a large, flat yard, you might consider a riding [lawn mower], which makes quick work of large spaces, but costs a lot of money. If you have a smaller yard, you could go with a reel mower or a rotary mower.

Reel lawn mowers are available as gas powered or push mowers. A push mower means that the person doing the moving is providing all the power for propelling the mower and getting the blades to move. The reel mechanism acts like scissors, with rotating blades moving over a stationary knife.

Using a push mower doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but it is an excellent workout and these machines are inexpensive, so if you have a very small yard this is a good option.

The gasoline-powered reel lawn mowers use the same cutting mechanism but are powered by a gasoline engine. These lawn mowers are ideal for people with Bermuda grass or bent grass that should be cut lower than two inches.

For grasses of other types and larger yards, the rotary lawn mower is the most popular choice. These lawn mowers come in gas or electric models and are great for cutting yards of all sizes. Rotary lawn mowers have a circular blade that cuts the grass and is protected by the body of the mower. If your grass does not need to be cut shorter than two inches and you like the added power of a rotary cutter, this is the machine for you.

Electric lawn mowers are usually cheaper than gas-powered mowers, but they also tend to have less power and either need to be plugged into an extension cord—which can be both dangerous and inconvenient—or they run off batteries that need to be charged regularly.

In general, push mowers cut the grass more cleanly, but the blades must be sharpened regularly by a professional. Rotary blades tend to bend the grass while cutting, but they are better for cutting long grass and the maintenance is easier

Wide Variety Of Lawn Mower Models .

There are many, many models of both kinds of lawn mowers available on the market today, with all sorts of features that can make your yard work a little easier. A self-propelled lawn mower, for instance, is much easier when you have a hilly yard. These mowers have extra power to pull themselves up slopes and may even have larger wheels to make moving on uneven surfaces easier.

Mulching blades for lawn mowers are very popular right now as people don’t want to throw out their lawn clippings or just leave them lying around on the yard. A mulching lawn mower has multiple blades that cut the clippings very fine, so they are largely invisible on the yard.

You should also look at safety features when considering a new lawn mower. A power mower should have both a blade shut off switch and what’s known as a dead-man’s switch, which automatically shuts off the engine if the lever or switch is not being pressed. That way it will be much more difficult to hurt yourself mowing your lawn (but of course remember eye and ear protection and long clothing just to be safe).

Filed under Lawn Mowers by landscapeliving.
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July 10, 2008

Chainsaw Usage For Around Your Home


Admittedly, not every household has a need for a chainsaw. But when you buy a house that has a lot of trees in the yard, it will probably take about as long as the first winter before you're wondering: Do I need a chainsaw? And, if I do, what kind should I buy?

Chainsaws are helpful for cutting large limbs, whether they have fallen out of your tree or need to be cut from the tree. A chainsaw can help you turn a large limb into a manageable pile of brush, and it can make short work of any wood you plan to use in your fireplace come winter.

It's probably not absolutely necessary for most people to go out and buy chainsaws. If you have an acreage with a lot of trees or cut your own firewood, though, a chainsaw is essential.

As with many things, the chainsaw you need will depend on the type of work you expect to be doing with it. If you're simply trimming up deadfall and maybe cutting some firewood, a small, electric, light-duty chainsaw will work just fine for you. On the other hand, if you're planning to be your own tree doctor or are thinking about removing an entire tree on your own (not that I recommend that) you'll want more of a professional quality model.

Chainsaws come in both electric and gasoline-powered models. The electric chainsaws are much lighter and tend to be less expensive than the gas-powered ones, which makes them perfect for at-home use. Of course you can't really take an electric chainsaw out into the woods with you, so if you have a lot of land or many big cutting projects, a gasoline-powered chainsaw is the tool for you.

What Size Chainsaw Do You Need

The size of the chain itself is another consideration. Most chainsaws made for household use have a “chain pitch” of a quarter of an inch. Chain pitch refers to the space between the teeth on the [chainsaw]. Quarter-inch pitch is fine for light household work, but if you are doing heavier work consider buying a chainsaw with a three-eights of an inch chain pitch. This makes the chainsaw just a little more powerful, giving cleaner cuts. They're also a little easier to sharpen.

The size of the motor is also important because your chainsaw has got to have enough power to cut through the limbs you are wanting to cut. Engines range from about 30ccs to as many as 120ccs on the biggest professional chainsaws. A model ranging from 40 to 50ccs is usually sufficient for the average homeowner’s needs.

The length of the bar that holds the chains may also vary on different chainsaws you look at. A longer bar can handle a bigger job or a larger diameter of branch. Many home-use chainsaws have bars ranging from 10 to 20 inches. The chainsaw’s package should tell you the optimum size of branches that it can cut.

Chainsaw Safety Features

Your chainsaw should have safety features such as a guard, a chain brake and an inertial brake. These safety measures will stop the chainsaw in event of a kickback (or if you drop the chainsaw), making it a lot less likely that you will hurt yourself.

Chainsaws are helpful lawn and garden tools, but they’re also quite dangerous and many people are injured every year by using them improperly or not wearing proper safety equipment. Take a lesson from loggers out in the field: wear a hard hat if there’s any danger of debris falling on your head, wear gloves, eye protection, heavy clothes, ear plugs and strong boots. Always use caution when operating a chainsaw and know how to use it safely. You certainly don’t want to turn a chore into a trip to the emergency room!

Filed under Landscape Garden Tools, Chainsaws by landscapeliving.
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choosing and using a string trimmer

I have to admit I'm a little afraid of string trimmers. There always seems to be such potential for danger, from rocks flying up in your face to getting the string tangled in a horrible mess with a wad of tall grass wrapped around it.

The truth is, string trimmers are not that difficult to use and they are very handy to have around the yard. String trimmers can be used to trim grass next to trees, walls, fences and other items that you can't get too close to with a conventional lawn mower. They are great for edging along the sidewalk and driveway and can be helpful for cutting very tall [grass] or weeds on a hillside that is too steep to mow.

String trimmers use a plastic string rotated at very high velocity (up to 400 miles an hour) to cut grass. Maybe it's the speed that scares me. String trimmers are very effective at what they do, though the clogging and tangling problem is a real potential with some trimmers. Other models have short strings that can be changed very quickly and easily instead of the traditional big ball of string that causes those problems of my nightmares.

String Trimmer Model Types

String trimmers can run on gas or electricity and there are corded and cordless models. The type of string trimmer you want will depend on your needs and how much you are willing to spend.

Electric string trimmers are the cheapest, especially the corded varieties. They are lighter than gasoline-powered trimmers because you aren't carrying around the gasoline. They also have less power and tend to have a smaller cutting area than the gas-powered string trimmers. Electric trimmers are also less noisy than their gas-powered counterparts, and they cause less pollution.

Gas-powered trimmers are more expensive and heavier, but they are also bigger and more powerful. They come with either two-cycle or four-cycle engines. The two-cycle engines use a gasoline-oil mixture, while the four-cycle engines run on straight gasoline. Gas-powered string trimmers can cut up to 18 inches in a single pass, so they’re great for when you have a lot of trimming in a wide area, such as on a hillside. The two-cycle engine models are cheaper than the four-cycle, but they also have less power and don’t run as smoothly.

No matter what type of string trimmer you choose, they all run pretty much the same way. A loop handle or handlebars are used to hold the trimmer while it is running.Â

Proper Use Of Your String Trimmer

The main problem people have when using string trimmers is that they get the cutting string too close to the ground. Like a lawn mowing blade, the height of trimming should be two to three inches so that the ground doesn't look bald. Try to cut with your string trimmer at the same height that your mower cuts. This takes some practice but it is the key to a good-looking trim job.

Edging is a popular reason for using string trimmers because they can get so close to the sidewalk. All you have to do to turn your string trimmer into an edger is to turn it so that the string is turning vertically instead of horizontally.

Remember when you are trimming close to fences, trees and sidewalks that it is possible to get too close. You can actually kill your trees if you remove too much bark because you hit them with the string trimmer. And of course you can always send a chunk of wood, a piece of concrete or a rock flying at yourself or someone else when you hit an object with your trimmer. That's why it is vital to wear eye protection, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when you are using your string trimmer. Also wear ear protection and keep other people from working or playing in the yard while you are using your string trimmer.

Yes, there are reasons to be intimidated by string trimmers, but as long as you use them wisely they are great tools for your yard and garden.

Filed under Landscape Garden Tools by landscapeliving.
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July 7, 2008

Pruning Tools For Everyday Garden Projects

pruning tools

It is important to have the right pruning tools before you attack the trees, shrubs and plants that need pruning in your yard. Using the right pruning tools is better for the plant, and it's better for the tools as well, because you'll be using them properly.

Here is a quick rundown of the different types of pruning tools you might need, depending on the plants in your yard.

Hand Pruning Shears: These little shears are good for cutting branches up to half an inch in diameter. They are great for pruning small shrubs, cutting roses to put in your bouquet, harvesting vegetables and a bunch of other uses. They are small enough to be worked with one hand, and there are two main choices when working with hand shears.

Scissor Shears, as the name suggests, have two blades that are both sharp, though one is thicker than the other. The anvil shear has one sharp blade and one flat blade. The choice is up to you, though scissor shears are often a little more expensive; some say they work better, too.

Lopping Shears: If you have a lot of cutting to do, lopping shears are the way to go. These shears have long handles and must be operated with both hands. Pulling the handles apart pulls the [blades] apart; pushing them back together closes the shears and lops the offending branch. Different lopping shears can handle different diameters of branches, but all loppers should be able to handle half-inch branches.

Pole Pruners: If you're trying to cut a branch above your head, a pole pruner may be what you need. This tool is a long pole like a broom handle with a curved blade attached. These tools are often operated with the help of a rope that is thrown over the branch for leverage.

Pole pruners can be rather expensive and they are a little dangerous, because the person doing the cutting is right under the branch he or she is trimming. If you have a lot of large limbs that need to be removed from trees, it is probably better to get a yard service or professional tree trimmer to do the work for you. That way you can be assured that the job is being done right, and you won't have to worry about dropping a limb on yourself.

Other Pruning Tools that might be helpful, depending on your situation, are hedge trimmers and a chainsaw. A hedge trimmer makes it a lot easier to get bushes trimmed to the same size and shape, while a chainsaw can make short work of large limbs that you have cut from a tree.

Neither of these tools are vital for the beginning gardener, or for someone who doesn't have a lot of bushes or trees. But if you have need for these tools, you will be so glad that you have them when you need them. They are tools of convenience that will make those annoying maintenance jobs so much easier, leaving you time for more enjoyable things like resting in the hammock under the trees!

Filed under Landscape Garden Tools by landscapeliving.
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