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Welcome to the CountryLife Gardening Blog, written by our horticulturist to provide you with the best tips & advice for all things gardening!  We have been shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category. 

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The Tools of a Garden Stylist

by User Not Found | Jun 26, 2013

THE TOOLS OF A GARDEN STYLIST
For any good stylist the
tools of the trade are just as important as your technique and skill. The quality of your equipment can mean all the difference to the finesse and perfection of a finish. The garden is no exception when it comes to styling - from manicuring, tiding and shaping up those curly edges and untidy corners, much care and attention is needed from a gardener and their garden tools. This blog covers some handy tips for looking after your gardening styling kit, including the lawnmower, garden clippers and pruner, hedgetrimmer and brushcutter trimmer (aka the weed-eater!)

Petrol Lawnmower

Whether you are giving your lawn a grade 3 or grade 6 trim it is always important to make sure your lawnmower is in top condition. These simple tips will cover both new and older lawnmowers.

  1. Read enclosed Owner’s manual thoroughly to familiarise yourself with your machine.
  2. Very important: Note the type of fuel and oil that is suitable to your lawnmower.
  3. Use fresh, clean unleaded petrol, from an approved container
  4. For safety, always stop the lawnmowers engine while you are refilling oil and fuel.
  5. When starting your machine, press the primer button 5-6 times.
  6. To clean underneath your mower, first disconnect the spark plug then lift the machine from the front and brush the deck clean (if tipped sideways the engine can flood).
  7. The air filter needs to be cleaned regularly, especially if the engine floods. To clean the air filter, unscrew the metal cover, remove the foam filter and rinse with liquid detergent and water. Squeeze dry and clean the cloth.
  8. Once the machine has been operated 4-5 times, change the engine oil and continue to replace with clean oil after each 25 hours of use.
  9. When about to store your machine for winter, run the machine until all the petrol is used. The oil may be emptied through a drainage system located under the deck.
  10. Replace or clean the spark plug at the end of every season

Lawnmower Care
(Image Sources: www.kozzi.com)
 Hedgetrimmer

Hedge trimmers are a major help to a busy garden stylist and can really reduce the time involved in clipping and tidying up hedging and shrubs about the garden. Treat your hedge trimmers well and they'll keep working hard for you for many years to come.

  1. Always read the enclosed Owner’s manual thoroughly to familiarise yourself with your machine.
  2. Sap quickly covers cutting surfaces while you're trimming, making trimmers less efficient. Wash the blade regularly with soap and water, and dry off thoroughly afterwards. Where you have a severe build-up of sap you may need to use mineral spirits to clean.
  3. When storing your hedge trimmer for any length of time, empty out the petrol to avoid the engine from clogging up and clean the blade and protect with WD40 oil to prevent rusting.
  4. Your hedge trimmer should be serviced before each season, sharpening blades, tightening nuts and bolts and checking spark plugs, air filters and switches. A good service will improve the efficiency and ensure safety of your trimmer. Ask our garden centre staff about servicing facilities and advice.

Trimmer Care
Brushcutter (aka the weed-eater)

The brushcutter is an essential machine to have in the garden shed for cleaning, tidying and clearing areas about the garden that have just lost all shape, form and need re-styling!  There are some top tips below to help increase the life and reliability of your brushcutter.

  1. Read enclosed Owner’s manual thoroughly to familiarise yourself with your machine.
  2. Regularly clean the outside of your brushcutter and check that all safety features are fully operational before operating the machine.
  3. Carry out regular checks on the parts of the engine/motor of your brushcutter and replace where necessary.
  4. Check the blade or chord regularly making sure that it is well centered, that the blade is sharp and not cracked. An uncentered blade causes vibrations that can result in damage to the machine. You can have your cutting blade sharpened by your dealer or yourself using sharpening stone - always consult your owner manual if tackling a job like this yourself.
  5. Your brushcutter should be serviced approximately after every 50 hours of use. 

Garden Loopers and Pruners

Clean, sharp pruning tools make cleaner cuts and help prevent the spread of disease.

  1. To sharpen your pruner and looper only sharpen the edge that looks like a blade – the blade is usually the wider side.
  2. Holding the pruner or looper in a firm position move your sharpening tool in the same direction following the factory bevel (blade) about 4-5 times along the blade. You will see the blade starting to shine up as it gets sharpened.
  3. After sharpening check the bolts, nuts and any moving parts on your pruners and loopers. Tighten anything that’s loose and replace any damaged parts.
  4. Spray with a lubricant (WD40) to clean and oil your pruner and looper.
  5. Your pruners and loopers are now ready to be stored away and are ready for the next pruning session in the garden!

Pruning Care
Garden Shears

  1. Firstly, remove the blades from your garden shears (garden clippers).
  2. Once you have the blades removed use steel wool to thoroughly remove any old dirt and rust build-up on the blades of the gardening shears. 
  3. After removing the large clumps of dirt and rust, you should clean the blades with mineral spirits to remove any sap build-up.
  4. Now you can use your sharpening stone/tool to carefully sharpen the blades of the gardening shears by gliding the blades across the sharpening stone in long even strokes until the blades are sharp again.
  5. Next step is to oil and clean your blade to prevent them from rusting in the future. WD-40 will do the job perfectly!
  6. Your shears is now ready to be reassembled – putting the blades and handles back together.
  7. And your gardening shears is now ready to be stored away in the garden shed! 

Properly maintaining your gardening tools is one of the best ways to ensure your tools get the job done each season for many years to come. Let us know how you get on with your garden styling over the seasons ahead. Call in-store or shop online a view our full ranges of gardening tools today!

Teresa’s Bio 
Currently I am the Horticulturist in Countrylife Castlecomer Co. Kilkenny. I completed my certificate in Horticulture at Kildalton College, Piltown, Co Kilkenny and then began a busy career in horticulture working in several garden centres – even one as far away Bondi Junction, Sydney! During my time studying at Kildalton my keen interest and love of trees, plants and anything green was a guarantee to me that horticulture was the right career path for me. I became passionate about garden design and have been involved in the design and landscaping of many garden projects. The beauty of horticulture to me is that I never stop learning – gardening practices, plants, trees and shrubs are evolving and changing all the time – fertilizing the growth of my garden passion! If you have a horticulture related question please feel free to ask. Teresa