If you go to a typical home and garden store, you may get the impression you need dozens of tools to keep your home in good shape. After all, there are literally thousands of outdoor tools and other pieces of equipment for sale. Well, you simply don’t.
I love to do small jobs that make a big difference. Granted, some big repairs can’t be avoided, but I am going to give you what is probably considered the three most basic outdoor improvements you can make with the biggest return, and they require very few outdoor tools or no equipment.
Spruce Up Your Yard
1. Edging. With a decent manual or power edger, you can make your yard look noticeably nicer in just a few minutes. Edging your sidewalks and driveway is one of those things that is so simple, yet makes such a great visual improvement. Clean lines make a whole yard look cleaner and crisper, and the only thing you’re doing is clipping blades of grass in a straight line!
Tools needed? A lawn edger. And you can spend as little as $20 or up to $400 for a new one. For twenty bucks and about 10 minutes, your yard can look much more manicured than ever before.
Better yet, buy a weed whacker that can both edge your walks and driveway and also trim high grass along fences and brick work. It’s that easy.
2. Weeding and Trimming. Another yard-sprucing-up technique is simple weeding and trimming. When you hear this, you may question the word “simple” as you conjure up negative pictures of big, time consuming jobs. But, actually, if a little weeding and trimming happens each week, you very seldom, if ever need to experience long, hard work.
The key is to do a little bit a lot of times. Yep. That’s the key. When a yard or landscaping bed is overgrown with weeds, you’re in for some work, but if you pull just a few weeds out each week, there are far less to pull, and they come out easily because they haven’t had time to grow deep, tough roots.
Trimming can also be easy if you don’t let hedges, bushes and trees get out of control. It’s amazing how the identical home can look amazingly better with well trimmed bushes and shrubs. It not only makes your landscaping look better, it makes the whole house look better. Well maintained landscaping somehow transfers to the actual house. It’s that simple.
Tools needed? Not much. There are a few variations on the standard hand-tool weeder, and you can spend as little as $5 and up to $30. Newer “twister” designs and even stand-up designs with foot plungers make weeding easier, and will cost you just a little more.
For trimming, you have a whole host of options, but you don’t have to spend a lot. Basic pruners and clippers are inexpensive, and again, the key is to keep on top of the growth.
De-Clutter Your Yard
I’ve always been amazed how the beauty of a property can be improved by simply keeping it clean and clutter free. Garden hoses, yard knick-knacks, and other stuff lying around makes a yard look cheap and poorly maintained. Even simply sweeping or blowing away leaves, clippings and other debris makes a driveway, garage floor or sidewalk surprisingly more beautiful in just moments.
Tools Needed? Well, you might invest in a decent quality gas blower. I did almost 20 years ago (won’t mention the brand, but my father-in-law convinced me to buy good quality and I’m really glad I did.)
Even if I barely move anything in my garage, just taking two minutes to blow out dust and leaves off the garage floor makes the whole thing look better. And taking three minutes to blow the grass clippings and other stuff off my driveway and sidewalks does the same thing. A good blower can cost you $300 or more, but like I mentioned, I’ve had mine for twenty years and I love it.
Other than a blower, de-cluttering your yard just requires you and maybe a broom. And, as you can see from above, edging, trimming, weeding and basic de-cluttering takes surprisingly little investment by way of outdoor tools and equipment, so save your money, consistently put in little bits of labor, and you will keep your yard both beautiful and inviting to everyone passing by.
By Dan Fenstemaker, Inventor of the Original INTELETOOL