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Essential Tools for Maintaining A Country Home

Posted by: Brooks Barron on Dec/06/2013
Tags: Country Home, maintenance, landscaping
Categories: Home Preparation


If you are buying a country home in Vermont and plan to maintain it yourself, I would recommend the following tools that, based on my years of experience in the landscaping business, are essential.

1. Pruning tools.  Buy a good pair of by-pass pruners that fit your hand and are neither so heavy that you tire easily, nor too light-weight for the job at hand.  Use loppers for the bigger pruning jobs and hedge clippers if your landscape includes hedges.

2. Digging  tools.  Shovels, both pointed and flat, a post hole digger, an edger and a hoe.  For winter snow removal, we suggest plastic grain shovels rather than flat snow shovels.  They are better balanced, and snow does not stick to them as easily.

3.  Rakes.  Use fan-shaped bamboo or plastic rakes for leaves, a flat metal one for gravel and soil and a roof rake to take some of the snow weight off your roof after a major storm.

4. Power equipment.  A riding mower for large lawns is essential but a self-propelled walk-behind mower can be used by the home owner who likes to get some exercise.  We have a very small grass patch and it is a pleasure to mow it with our old-fashioned push mower.  A weed whacker is essential for trimming.  Re-chargeable electric weed whackers are light weight and simple to use, but gas-powered ones are more rugged.  Unless you are familiar with operating a chain saw, we would leave that dangerous item for experts.  All tree companies and most property management folks have chain saws and know how to operate them safely.

5.  Hand tools.  For the down-on-your-knees tasks, Susan uses just three tools for most of her gardening… a dandelion digger that goes straight down into the soil to remove weeds with a long tap root, a high-quality pair of hand pruners (she recommends Felco) and a marvelous but simple tool called a Cape Cod weeder with which you can get under a plant, cultivate (rough up) the soil and edge.  Add a trowel for spring planting and a pair of gardening gloves and you’re good to go.  I like to spray the handles of my tools with orange paint so that they show up easily and don’t go missing.

6.  A compost pile.  Turning waste into compost makes all kinds of sense.  Just make a chicken wire enclosure about four feet square with posts at the corners, and start tossing leaves, grass clippings and food scraps (no meat or weeds) into the bin.  Once mature, compost can be used to enrich your soil and help retain moisture.  If you have vegetable or flower gardens, submit soil samples to the state agricultural office for a professional opinion on what else your gardens may need.  Oh, and don’t forget a wheelbarrow!

When it comes to tools, you truly get what you pay for.  Buying high quality tools can be a major investment but they will soon pay for themselves.  Good tools are made to last, stay sharp, are designed ergonomically to cut down on fatigue and are a pleasure to use for many years. 


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