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Finishing touches make all the difference in yard maintenance

Date: 3/13/2013

(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.

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.

Trimming Hedges

Properly pruned hedges not only improve the look of the plants, but their health, too.

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:

• 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.

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.

Remove leaves, grass clippings and other lawn debris from sidewalks, decks, driveways and other hard surfaces with Black & Decker's 36 volt Lithium Cordless Sweeper Vacuum. Its Power Command controls speed for run time or power and easily converts to vacuum mode when you need it.

Learn more about lithium-ion battery powered tools at

– Courtesy of Family Features