Make Your Yard Picture Perfect

300pictureperfectIt 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Taking a little extra time to put the finishing touches on your yard pays off. You’ll boost your home’s curb appeal and make your yard something everyone can enjoy. Learn more about tools to help keep your yard picture perfect at

Source: Family Features. Photo courtesy of Getty Images