Use these tips to shop for lawn gear


With the proper equipment, you can make the grass greener on your side of the fence.


If you’re like most people, when spring comes, you’re ready to get outside and make your yard both beautiful and functional.

Maybe you’re aiming to have the best yard on the block, want to install an outdoor family room or want to expand your space for entertaining. Perhaps your children or pets could use a better space for play. Regardless of need, now is the time to get “backyard ready.”

These tips can help you select the machinery you need to get the job done:

• Plan your needs — Draw a sketch of your yard. Include any major features such as trees, bushes, an herb or vegetable garden, flower beds, lawn furniture, play or sports equipment, an outdoor patio or birdbath. Note where maintenance may be required.

Will bushes need to be trimmed back from your home or garage? Do you want to put in some flowering bushes or a tree? Are you planning to install a fence and more grass because of your pet? Now list the tools and equipment needed to take care of your yard and what will make the job easier.

• Consider equipment needed — Visit your garage or shed and find all your lawn and garden tools. Wheel out your mower and get out other equipment. Look it over and make a list of what’s needed or could be upgraded. Repair anything that needs attention or identify where a newer or other machine is required.

If you have a large vegetable garden, you need a cultivator or tiller. If you have a large lawn, an upgrade to a riding lawn mower might make mowing easier.

A string trimmer might make caring for bushes or trimming grass near a fence line easier. A pole pruner can help trim back limbs that are too high to reach safely with a saw and a leaf blower can clear leaves faster than a rake.

• Research equipment online before you buy — Think about efficiencies of scale.

• Ask questions — Talk with the staff at the store or ask online about the equipment.

• Make a plan for storage and maintenance — Store your equipment in a cool and dry place. It should typically be serviced at the end of the fall and the beginning of the spring. Put service dates on your calendar with a reminder.