The most common cause of annual mower repairs results from leaving gas or gas-oil mix inside the engine's tank and carburetor over the winter season. Avoid expensive service shop charges by either 1) running the engine until all gas has been used up, or 2) adding a commercially-available gas stabilizer to the tank before putting the mower away in the fall. A $3 investment may save you a $60 repair bill.
For those gasoline powered tools that don't get a lot of regular use - generators, trimmers, blowers - add a bit of fuel stabilizer to keep them running smooth. A $5 bottle of stabilizer can treat more than 20 gallons and extend the gasoline's life expectancy for a full year.
Before you go out to shovel the snow from your driveway and walks, take a few moments to prepare yourself for what is often a good workout. Do few stretches, drink plenty of water and dress in layers. Boots with good traction are a must, as are gloves that allow you to firmly grasp the shovel's handle. Never try to lift more than you can carry and avoid smoking as it reduces oxygen needed for such strenous work.
The best way to store a garden hose neatly is to keep it rolled up on a hose reel or hanger. But often you need to stack the hose temporarily between watering jobs. If you just coil the hose into layers of circles, it can lead to tangles when you later pull the hose off the stack. Instead, loop the hose into a figure-eight pattern as you gather it up, layering the figure eights over each other. The pattern will let you pull the hose off the stack virtually snag-free.
An easy way to make sure your garden tools are clean and rust-free is to use a bucket filled with a sand-oil mixture. Fill up a 5-gal. bucket with clean, dry sand, then lightly saturate it with new motor oil. When you are done using tools like shovels, forks and spades, scrape off excess soil and plunge them up and down in the mix. Small tools like trowels can also be cleaned the same way. Wipe the tools dry before storing.
Gas or electric yard trimmers, which is right for you? The answer is determined by what size yard you have. Electric trimmers are easier to maintain, but are limited to the length of an extension cord. Gas powered models have engines that must be fueled and properly maintained. However they will provide greater power that can be used without boundaries.
Chippers are a valuable addition to the yard power tool arsenal. They can turn brush piles, branches, woody debris and other yard refuse into valuable mulch and wood chips. As you feed the debris through varying size hoppers, powerful blades instantly shred it into smaller chips. You can then spread this mulch around bushes and shrubs to help inhibit weed growth and retain moisture.