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Super Handyman: Reducing your yardwork time

Most of us are spending more and more time outdoors – usually mowing, weed-eating and blowing. But if you plan ahead, you can get those chores finished a little faster and spend some of that outdoor time doing fun things such as golfing, hiking or just sipping a cool drink on your patio.

Here are some tips that might help:

I’m all for getting an early start, but many yards have dew and other moisture issues first thing in the morning. This can slow your mower down and clog the blade and bag, so give your grass time to dry out a little before cutting it. It’s healthier for the grass, too.

Make sure your mower is in good shape. Replace the oil, gas, spark plug and blade every year, and it will work more efficiently for you.

Keep all of your tools in one area where they are easy to get to without moving cars, bikes or other stuff. It’s OK to store them during the winter months, but you want them front and center during spring and summer.

If you use rechargeable tools, make sure you have your batteries charged and ready to go. Buy extra batteries if you need more than one to do the job.

If you use extension cords, make sure you have them ready to go. Better yet, buy one or two just for your yard tools and make sure they are the proper length to do the job.

If you use gas, make sure you have enough and that it has been treated with a fuel stabilizer, if you need it. And dress for success – yes, for yardwork, too. Wear the proper gear for a safe job, which includes good shoes, gloves, safety glasses (by all means!), and a hat and long sleeves to help protect against the sun. Finish off with a quick walk-around.

he hard work always looks a lot better when you are finished. Admire it with a cold drink in one hand, while patting yourself on the back with the other!

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Q: I need to stain the fence pickets that I just installed when repairing my fence to match the rest of the existing fence. How can I match it? – B.Z.

A: If you have some of the original stain, you can use it. It probably won’t look exactly the same, but, if you apply it very lightly, it might look OK. One way to avoid this problem is to remove pickets from an out-of-the-way-spot and use them to make repairs to more visible areas. Then you can put the “new” wood back into those hidden areas, where it won’t be as noticeable.

Super HandyMom tip

My favorite screen door was on my old house. It was a plain wooden screen door (because it was cheap), and I added carved wooden corner brackets and painted it in several contrasting colors. It was the perfect accent for my front entry and looked so quaint on our country home.

Shoptalk

Roof leaks are pretty common, and they can cause tons of damage to your home’s interior if not sealed as soon as you spot them. Through the Roof! is a clear roofing caulk that is made for the do-it-yourselfer. It’s easy to apply under shingles, around flashing and in lots of other leaky spots. It even can be applied in the rain, if you are in a real hurry, or to wet surfaces to make those repairs. It seals well to metal, plastic, asphalt, wood, concrete and tile, and it won’t freeze. To find out where to buy it or more product details, go to sashco.com.

Have a question or a handy tip? Visit thesuperhandyman.com. Those of general interest will be used in future columns.