Make Your Yard Picture Perfect

 


(Family
Features)—It takes more than just mowing the lawn to get a great looking
yard. In addition to making sure you have healthy, well-cut grass,
there are some finishing touches you should add so that your yard goes
from so-so to something you can be proud of.



Trimming and Edging the Lawn


The lawn mower can't reach every place that grass grows. So after
mowing, you're often left with long grass sticking up around trees and
flower beds, as well as along sidewalks, patios and driveways. When you
trim, you leave your lawn neat and tidy.



Trimming is cutting the edges of your lawn horizontally. It levels
unmowed grass so it's even with the rest of the lawn. String trimmers
are effective tools for this job. A battery powered trimmer, such as the
36 volt Lithium High Performance String Trimmer with Power Command®
controls from Black & Decker, is a lightweight option for many
homeowners. Its battery holds a charge 5 times longer while idle
compared to HPB18 NiCad battery packs, and it requires no gas to
operate.



To trim properly, keep a few things in mind:


       
  • Make sure the area you're going to trim is free of debris.

  •    
  • Slowly move the trimmer from side to side, letting the tip of the line do the cutting.

  •    
  • Keep the head two to three inches off the ground so you don't scalp the lawn and damage it.

  •    
  • Cut thick or tall grass in smaller sections so you don't clog the trimmer.

  •    
  • Don't let the line cut into trees and shrubs. This can damage
    them and make them more vulnerable to disease or hurt their growth.

  •    
  • When you're finished, remove clippings and debris from the trimmer.

  •    
  • Plan on trimming every mowing to maintain a neat appearance.




When you edge a lawn, you're making vertical cuts to remove grass
growing over sidewalks or patio edges. Some trimmers require a separate
attachment for edging or will not convert to an edger, while many can
simply be rotated to operate vertically.



Edging and Trimming Safely

To help protect yourself from debris:


       
  • Wear protective safety glasses.

  •    
  • Wear long pants.

  •    
  • Wear closed shoes.

  •    
  • Wear gloves. Keep others away from any debris or objects which may be hit by the line.

  •    
  • Always follow your instruction manual.


Trimming Hedges

Properly pruned hedges not only improve the look of the plants, but
their health, too. Formal hedges are typically made up of shrubs with
small leaves that get sheared into a smooth and uniform-looking surface.
Informal hedges are more casual in appearance, and are usually made up
of plants that bear flowers or fruit, and have wider leaves.



Using a hedge trimmer such as the 36 volt 24-inch Lithium Hedge Trimmer
from Black & Decker can make this task easy. The lithium-ion battery
holds a charge up to 18 months. The 24-inch dual-action blade cuts
branches quickly and has less vibration compared to a single action
blade.



Here are few tips for trimming a formal hedge:




       
  • Deciduous hedges should be trimmed in late winter, while evergreens can be trimmed in mid-spring.

  •    
  • Sloping the hedge so that the base is broader than the top lets sunlight reach lower leaves.

  •    
  • To help you trim hedges evenly, use stakes and string to set up guidelines for height and width.

  •    
  • Cut slowly, and use a smooth, up and down sweeping motion. If
    you apply too much pressure, the blades can tear branches instead of
    cutting them neatly.

  •    
  • Cut the sides of a hedge first.

  •    
  • Use a ladder to reach the tops of tall hedges.

  •    
  • Keep trimmer blades sharp and clean.




Hedge Trimming Safely

To help protect yourself from debris:


       
  • Wear protective safety glasses.

  •    
  • Wear long pants.

  •    
  • Wear closed shoes.

  •    
  • Wear gloves and keep both hands on the trimmer.

  •    
  • Always follow your instruction manual.

  •    
  • Keep others away from any debris as it falls.


Yard Clean-Up

Do a periodic yard check to take stock of what needs to be picked up or removed.


       
  • Remove twigs and branches.

  •    
  • Pick up and store outdoor toys.

  •    
  • Make sure pet items such as shelters, bowls and toys are clean and well-maintained.

  •    
  • Remove dead plants from flower beds, planters and window boxes.

  •    
  • Rake leaves and debris from flower beds, shrubs and around trees.


More Easy Finishing Touches


       
  • Add decorative edging to flower beds. You can use hardscape
    materials such as brick, stone, plastic or steel, or you can plant
    living edging with attractive ground cover plantings.

  •    
  • Mulch around trees, shrubs and flower beds. Not only does mulch
    keep weeds in check, but it can give those areas a neater appearance.
    Look for natural materials such as wood chips or cocoa hulls. While
    there are a variety of colored mulch options, keep in mind that dark,
    earth-colored mulch will put the spotlight on your plants, while
    brighter colored mulch will draw attention to itself.

  •    
  • Keep hoses neatly stored with hose reels. You can find
    wall-mounted reels, covered boxes, or even attractive pots to keep hoses
    from cluttering up your yard.


Source: www.blackanddecker.com/recharge.