The concept of home improvement, home renovation, or remodeling is the process of renovating or making additions to one’s home. Home improvement can consist of projects that upgrade an existing home interior (such as electrical and plumbing), exterior (masonry, concrete, siding, roofing), or other improvements to the property (i.e. garden work or garage maintenance/additions).
While “home improvement” often refers to building projects that alter the structure of an existing home, it can also include improvements to lawns, gardens, and outdoor structures, such as gazebos and garages. It also encompasses maintenance, repair, and general servicing tasks. Home improvement projects generally have one or more of the following goals:
Home or residential renovation is an almost $300 billion industry in the United States, and a $48 billion industry in Canada.[full citation needed] The average cost per project is $3,000 in the United States and $11,000–15,000 in Canada.
Professional home improvement is ancient and goes back to the beginning of recorded civilization. One example is Sergius Orata, who in the 1st century B.C. is said by the writer Vitruvius (in his famous book De architectura) to have invented the hypocaust. The hypocaust is an underfloor heating system that was used throughout the Roman empire in villas of the wealthy. He is said to have become wealthy himself by buying villas at a low price, adding spas and his newly invented hypocaust, and reselling them at higher prices.
Perhaps the most important or visible professionals in the renovation industry are renovation contractors or skilled trades. These are the builders that have specialized credentials, licensing and experience to perform renovation services in specific municipalities.
While there is a fairly large ‘grey market’ of unlicensed companies, there are those that have membership in a reputable association and/or are accredited by a professional organization. Homeowners are recommended to perform checks such as verifying license and insurance and checking business references prior to hiring a contractor to work on their house.
Renovations (also called remodeling ) is process of improving a broken, damaged, or outdated structure. Renovations are typically either commercial or residential. Additionally, renovation can refer to making something new, or bringing something back to life and can apply in social contexts. For example, a community can be renovated if it is strengthened and revived.
Technology has had a meaningful impact on the renovation process, increasing the significance and strength of the planning stage. The availability of free online design tools has improved visualization of the changes, at a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional interior designer. The decision regarding changes is also influenced by the purpose of renovation. In case of a fix and flip objective, an ROI (return on investment) can result from changes to fix a structural issue or design flow yield or to use light and color to make rooms appear more spacious.
Many people renovate homes to create a new appearance for their home, or so another person can live in the residence. Builders often renovate homes because it is a stable source of income.
Wood and renovations
Wood is versatile and flexible, making it the easiest construction material for renovations, and wood buildings can be redesigned to suit changing needs. Few homeowners or professional remodellers possess the skill and equipment that is required to alter steel-frame or concrete structures.
Forest certification verifies that wood products have been sourced from well-managed forests. Most certification programs provide online search options so that consumers can find certified products—the Certification Canada program includes a search option for all of the certification programs that are in use in Canada.
In North America, most structures are demolished because of external forces such as zoning changes and rising land values. Additionally, buildings that cannot be modified to serve the functional needs of the occupants are subject to demolition. Very few buildings on the continent are demolished due to structural degradation.
The Athena Institute surveyed 227 commercial and residential buildings that were demolished in St. Paul, Minnesota, between 2000 and mid-2003. Thirty percent of the buildings were less than 50 years old, and 6% were less than 25 years old. The four top reasons for demolition were “area redevelopment” (35%), “building’s physical condition” (31%), “not suitable for anticipated use” (22%), and “fire damage” (7%). Lack of maintenance was cited as the specific problem for 54 of the 70 buildings where physical condition was given as the reason for demolition.
Most builders focus on building new homes, so renovating is typically a part-time activity for such tradespeople. The processes and services required for renovations are quite specific and, once plans are signed off, building a new home is relatively predictable. Renovations usually require all of the sub-trades that are needed for the construction of a new building. During renovation projects, flexibility is often required from renovation companies to respond to unexpected issues that arise. Projects involving renovation require not just flexibility, but a plan that had been agreed upon by multiple parties. The planning process will involve feedback from financial investors of the project, and from the designer. Part of planning will also entail the collection of data for the completion of the project and then the project plan will be revised and given consent before continuing with renovations.
1960s décor refers to a distinct style of interior decoration that became prominent in the 1960s and early 1970s. Green, (such as pea green and drab), yellow, pink, and orange (such as peach and saffron) hues were popular for wallpaper, carpets, curtains, sofas, chair seats, and cushions, often with patterns or bright flowers. English decorator David Hicks was an important influence on interiors in the 1960s, inspired by bright colours associated with India. Hicks popularized use of “psychedelic patterns and acid-edged colors,” peaking in the period 1967-1973, a time when there was interest in the Hippie movement and “flower power.” In the same era, Dorothy Draper, one of Manhattan‘s top interior decorators of the 1960s, used ‘dull’ white and ‘shiny’ black as one of her favorite combinations.
The “Retro Modern” style is associated with the decades of the 1950s and 1960s. As a furniture material, polypropylene, which was manufactured in colors that could be matched to paint chips, came into its own. Foam molding, mostly used as upholstery cushions, became a basic structural unit for furniture in the early 1960s. Large areas, such as sofas, beds, carpets, drapes and wallcovers, were covered in vibrant colors and patterns. Employing “psychedelic intensity”, the colors and styles were influenced by India, Spain, and the Mediterranean.
In the 1950s and 1960s, specialized patterns in wall painting were developed. Sherwin-Williams  manufactured an Applique system and similar systems were manufactured by Karl Höhn, also Reuss, in Germany.
Many hotels and restaurants retain their décor from the 1960s or specifically employ Sixties-style features to give them a more nostalgic sensibility. Pink or orange paintwork, bedspreads, and curtains, which were fashionable in the 1960s, however, are considered by some to be “hideous” or “painful,” today. As Paul Evans put it, “For many the popular image of 1960s home design was of ephemerality and excess, of plastic or paper chairs and lurid carpets and wallpaper.” Television series from the era, such as The Avengers, Batman, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Bewitched, The Saint, and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) provide fine examples of the type of décor popular during this period and are an important aspect of the look of the productions; for the latter, orange hues are included in the title design.
A dibber or dibble or dibbler is a pointed wooden stick for making holes in the ground so that seeds, seedlings or small bulbs can be planted. Dibbers come in a variety of designs including the straight dibber, T-handled dibber, trowel dibber, and L-shaped dibber.
The dibber was first recorded in Roman times and has remained mostly unchanged since. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, farmers would use long-handled dibbers of metal or wood to plant crops. One person would walk with a dibber making holes, and a second person would plant seeds in each hole and fill it in. It was not until the Renaissance that dibbers became a manufactured item, some made of iron for penetrating harder soils and clay.
This is the classic dibber. It is anything from a sharpened stick to a more complicated model incorporating a curved handle and pointed steel end. It may be made of wood, steel or plastic.
A T-handled dibber
A plastic dibber with soil depth markings in centimetres
This dibber is much like the classic dibber, but with a T-grip that fits in the palm to make it easier to apply torque. This allows the user to exert even pressure, creating consistent hole depth.
This dibber combines the features of a dibber and a trowel. It is usually forged from aluminum or other lightweight material. One end is for dibbing, and the other end is shaped like a trowel.
In military parlance an aircraft-dropped ‘dibber bomb’ is an anti-runway penetration bomb which destroys runways by first penetrating below the tarmac before exploding, cratering, and displacing the surface, making repairs difficult and time consuming, during which conventional airplanes can neither land nor take off.
A rake (Old Englishraca, cognate with Dutchraak, GermanRechen, from the root meaning “to scrape together”, “heap up”) is a broom for outside use; a horticultural implement consisting of a toothed bar fixed transversely to a handle, or tines fixed to a handle, and used to collect leaves, hay, grass, etc., and in gardening, for loosening the soil, light weeding and levelling, removing dead grass from lawns, and generally for purposes performed in agriculture by the harrow.
Large mechanized versions of rakes are used in farming, called hay rakes, are built in many different forms (e.g. star-wheel rakes, rotary rakes, etc.). Nonmechanized farming may be done with various forms of a hand rake.
As weeding was a constant issue in the ancient and medieval Chinese agricultural process, it led to the invention of the weeding rake. The invention of the Chinese weed rake is derived from the invention of the Chinese harrow. In the Chinese agricultural text Qimin Yaoshu written by the Northern Wei Dynasty official Jia Sixie. Harrows were originally called iron-teeth rakes due to its shaping. According to its shape, the Chinese harrow was divided into three sub-classifications: Strip rake, Y-shaped rake, and square rake. The harrows seen in the murals of the Wei and Jin Dynasties are strip rakes.
Types of rakes
Modern hand-rakes usually have steel, plastic, or bamboo teeth or tines, though historically they have been made with wood or iron. The handle is often made of wood or metal. Some rakes are two-sided and made with dull blades in the shapes of slight crescents, used for removing dead grass (thatch) from lawns. When rakes have longer teeth, they may be arranged in the shape of an old-style folding fan.
If a rake lies in the ground with the teeth facing upwards, as shown on the top picture, and someone accidentally steps on the teeth, the rake’s handle can swing rapidly upwards, colliding with the victim’s face. This is often seen in slapstick comedy and cartoons, such as Tom and Jerry and The Simpsons episode “Cape Feare“, wherein a series of rakes become what Sideshow Bob describes as his “arch-nemesis”. There is a Russiansaying “to step on the same rake” (Russian: наступить на те же грабли), which means “to repeat the same silly mistake”, also the word “rake” (Russian: грабли) in Russian slang means “troubles”.
This type of rake is for conditioning and dethatching soil as well as moving larger pieces of debris. Most weeds have weaker and shallower roots than grass and thus dethatching along with (afterward) necessary sunlight, fertilizer and seed, and if later necessary any remedial chemicals, makes for a good crop of grass. Larger tools (or lawnmower attachments) are more often used for large areas of de-thatching or soil preparation. However the action of making the soil bare and exposed to sun is not good and worms do not like it. It should be protected with straw afterward. Soil aeration tools do not remove weed but prepare soil without exposure.
Plastic or metal
There are pros and cons to each. Plastic rakes are generally lighter weight and lower cost. Because they can be fabricated in widths of greater dimensions they are more suitable for leaves which have recently been deposited. Metal tined rakes are better suited for spring raking when the debris is often wet or rotted and can best be collected when the metal tines penetrate to the thatch layer.
A lawn mower (also named as mower, grass cutter or lawnmower) is a machine utilizing one or more revolving blades to cut a grass surface to an even height. The height of the cut grass may be fixed by the design of the mower, but generally is adjustable by the operator, typically by a single master lever, or by a lever or nut and bolt on each of the machine’s wheels. The blades may be powered by manual force, with wheels mechanically connected to the cutting blades so that when the mower is pushed forward, the blades spin, or the machine may have a battery-powered or plug-inelectric motor. The most common self-contained power source for lawn mowers is a small (typically one cylinder) internal combustion engine. Smaller mowers often lack any form of propulsion, requiring human power to move over a surface; “walk-behind” mowers are self-propelled, requiring a human only to walk behind and guide them. Larger lawn mowers are usually either self-propelled “walk-behind” types, or more often, are “ride-on” mowers, equipped so the operator can ride on the mower and control it. A robotic lawn mower (“lawn-mowing bot”, “mowbot”, etc.) is designed to operate either entirely on its own, or less commonly by an operator by remote control.
Two main styles of blades are used in lawn mowers. Lawn mowers employing a single blade that rotates about a single vertical axis are known as rotary mowers, while those employing a cutting bar and multiple blade assembly that rotates about a single horizontal axis are known as cylinder or reel mowers (although in some versions, the cutting bar is the only blade, and the rotating assembly consists of flat metal pieces which force the blades of grass against the sharp cutting bar).
There are several types of mowers, each suited to a particular scale and purpose. The smallest types, non-powered push mowers, are suitable for small residential lawns and gardens. Electrical or piston engine-powered push-mowers are used for larger residential lawns (although there is some overlap). Riding mowers, which sometimes resemble small tractors, are larger than push mowers and are suitable for large lawns, although commercial riding lawn mowers (such as zero-turn mowers) can be “stand-on” types, and often bear little resemblance to residential lawn tractors, being designed to mow large areas at high speed in the shortest time possible. The largest multi-gang (multi-blade) mowers are mounted on tractors and are designed for large expanses of grass such as golf courses and municipal parks, although they are ill-suited for complex terrain.
The first lawn mower was invented by Edwin Budding in 1830 in Thrupp, just outside Stroud, in Gloucestershire, England. Budding’s mower was designed primarily to cut the grass on sports grounds and extensive gardens, as a superior alternative to the scythe, and was granted a British patent on August 31, 1830.
An early cylinder (reel) mower, showing a fixed cutting blade in front of the rear roller and wheel-driven rotary blades.
Budding’s first machine was 19 inches (480 mm) wide with a frame made of wrought iron. The mower was pushed from behind. Cast-irongear wheels transmitted power from the rear roller to the cutting cylinder, allowing the rear roller to drive the knives on the cutting cylinder; the ratio was 16:1. Another roller placed between the cutting cylinder and the main or land roller could be raised or lowered to alter the height of cut. The grass clippings were hurled forward into a tray-like box. It was soon realized, however, that an extra handle was needed in front to help pull the machine along. Overall, these machines were remarkably similar to modern mowers.
Two of the earliest Budding machines sold went to Regent’s Park Zoological Gardens in London and the Oxford Colleges. In an agreement between John Ferrabee and Edwin Budding dated May 18, 1830, Ferrabee paid the costs of enlarging the small blades, obtained letters of patent and acquired rights to manufacture, sell and license other manufacturers in the production of lawn mowers. Without patent,[clarification needed] Budding and Ferrabee were shrewd enough to allow other companies to build copies of their mower under license, the most successful of these being Ransomes of Ipswich, which began making mowers as early as 1832.
A horsedrawn lawn mower on an Australian golf course in the 1930s.
The first gasoline-powered lawn mower, 1902.
It took ten more years and further innovations to create a machine that could be drawn by animals, and sixty years before a steam-powered lawn mower was built. In the 1850s, Thomas Green & Son of Leeds introduced a mower called the Silens Messor (meaning silent cutter), which used a chain drive to transmit power from the rear roller to the cutting cylinder. These machines were lighter and quieter than the gear-driven machines that preceded them, although they were slightly more expensive. The rise in popularity of lawn sports helped prompt the spread of the invention. Lawn mowers became a more efficient alternative to the scythe and domesticated grazing animals.
Manufacture of lawn mowers took off in the 1860s. By 1862, Ferrabee’s company was making eight models in various roller sizes. He manufactured over 5000 machines until production ceased in 1863. The first grass boxes were flat trays but took their present shape in the 1860s. James Sumner of Lancashire patented the first steam-powered lawn mower in 1893. His machine burned petrol and/or paraffin (kerosene) as fuel. These were heavy machines that took several hours to warm up to operating pressure. After numerous advances, these machines were sold by the Stott Fertilizer and Insecticide Company of Manchester and Sumner. The company they both controlled was called the Leyland Steam Motor Company.
Around 1900, one of the best known English machines was the Ransomes‘ Automaton, available in chain- or gear-driven models. Numerous manufacturers entered the field with petrol (gasoline) engine-powered mowers after the start of the 20th century. The first was produced by Ransomes in 1902. JP Engineering of Leicester, founded after World War I, produced a range of very popular chain-driven mowers. About this time, an operator could ride behind animals that pulled the large machines. These were the first riding mowers.
The first United States patent for a reel lawn mower was granted to Amariah Hills on January 12, 1868. In 1870, Elwood McGuire of Richmond, Indiana designed a human-pushed lawn mower, which was very lightweight and a commercial success. John Burr patented an improved rotary-blade lawn mower in 1899, with the wheel placement altered for better performance. Amariah Hills went on to found the Archimedean Lawn Mower Co. in 1871.
In the United States, gasoline-powered lawn mowers were first manufactured in 1914 by Ideal Power Mower Co. of Lansing, Michigan, based on a patent by Ransom E. Olds. Ideal Power Mower also introduced the world’s first self-propelled, riding lawn tractor in 1922, known as the “Triplex”. The roller-drive lawn mower has changed very little since around 1930. Gang mowers, those with multiple sets of blades to cut a wider swath, were built in the United States in 1919 by the Worthington Mower Company.
Commercial lawn mower in use April 1930 in Berlin.
In the 1920s one of the most successful companies to emerge during this period was Atco, at that time a brand name of Charles H Pugh Ltd. The Atco motor mower, launched in 1921 was an immediate success. Just 900 of the 22-inch-cut machines were made in 1921, each costing £75. Within five years, annual production had accelerated to tens of thousands. Prices were reduced and a range of sizes was available, making the Standard the first truly mass-produced engine-powered mower.
Rotary mowers were not developed until engines were small enough and powerful enough to run the blades at sufficient speed. Many people experimented with rotary blade mowers in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and Power Specialties Ltd. introduced a gasoline-powered rotary mower. Kut Kwick replaced the saw blade of the “Pulp Saw” with a double-edged blade and a cutter deck, converting the “Pulp Saw” into the first ever out-front rotary mower.
One company that produced rotary mowers commercially was the Australian Victa company, starting in 1952. Its mowers were lighter and easier to use than similar ones that had come before. The first Victa mowers were made at Mortlake, an inner suburb of Sydney, by local resident Mervyn Victor Richardson. He made his first model out of scrap in his garage. The first Victa mowers were then manufactured, going on sale on 20 September 1952. The new company, Victa Mowers Pty Ltd, was incorporated on 13 February 1953.
The venture was so successful that by 1958 the company moved to much larger premises in Parramatta Road, Concord, and then to Milperra, by which time the mower incorporated an engine, designed and manufactured by Victa, which was specially designed for mowing, rather than employing a general-purpose engine bought from outside suppliers. Two Victa mowers, from 1958 and 1968 respectively, are held in the collection of the National Museum of Australia. The Victa mower is regarded as something of an Australian icon, appearing en masse, in simulated form, at the opening of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.
The hover mower, first introduced by Flymo in 1964, is a form of rotary mower using an air cushion on the hovercraft principle.
A cylinder mower or reel mower carries a fixed, horizontal cutting blade at the desired height of cut. Over this is a fast-spinning reel of blades which force the grass past the cutting bar. Each blade in the blade cylinder forms a helix around the reel axis, and the set of spinning blades describes a cylinder.
Of all the mowers, a properly adjusted cylinder mower makes the cleanest cut of the grass, and this allows the grass to heal more quickly. The cut of a well-adjusted cylinder mower is straight and definite, as if cut with a pair of scissors. This clean cut promotes healthier, thicker and more resilient lawn growth that is more resistant to disease, weeds and parasites. Lawn cut with a cylinder mower is less likely to result in yellow, white or brown discolouration as a result of leaf shredding. While the cutting action is often likened to that of scissors, it is not necessary for the blades of the spinning cylinder to contact the horizontal cutting bar. If the gap between the blades is less than the thickness of the grass blades, a clean cut can still be made. If more, however, the grass will slip through. Reel mowers also have more difficulty mowing over uneven terrain.
There are many variants of the cylinder mower. Push mowers have no engine and are usually used on smaller lawn areas where access is a problem, where noise pollution is undesirable and where air pollution is unwanted. As the mower is pushed along, the wheels’ drive gears which rapidly spin the reel. Typical cutting widths are 10 to 16 inches (250 to 410 mm). Advances in materials and engineering have resulted in these mowers being very light and easy to operate and manoeuvre compared with their predecessors while still giving all the cutting advantages of professional cylinder mowers. Their distinct environmental benefits, both in noise and air pollution, are also strong selling points, something not lost on many international zoos, animal sanctuaries and exclusive hotel groups.
The basic push mower mechanism is also used in gangs towed behind a tractor. The individual mowers are arranged in a “v” behind the tractor with each mower’s track slightly overlapping that of the mower in front of it. Gang mowers are used over large areas of turf such as sports fields or parks.
A gasoline engine or electric motor can be added to a cylinder mower to power the cylinder, the wheels, the roller, or any combination of these. A typical arrangement on electric powered machines for residential lawns is for the motor to power the cylinder while the operator pushes the mower along. The electric models can be corded or cordless. On petrol machines the engine drives both the cylinder and the rear roller. Some variants have only three blades in a reel spinning at great speed, and these models are able to cut grass which has grown too long for ordinary push mowers. One type of reel mower, now largely obsolete, was a powered version of the traditional side-wheel push mower, which was used on residential lawns. An internal combustion engine sat atop the reel housing and drove the wheels, usually through a belt. The wheels in turn drove the reel, as in the push mower.
Greens mowers are used for the precision cutting of golf greens and have a cylinder made up of at least eight, but normally ten, blades. The machine has a roller before and after the cutting cylinder which smooths the freshly cut lawn and minimizes wheel marks. Due to the weight, the engine also propels the mower. Much smaller and lighter variants of the roller mower are sometimes used for small patches of ornamental lawns around flower beds, and these have no engine.
Riding reel mowers are also produced. Typically, the cutting reels are ahead of the vehicle’s main wheels, so that the grass can be cut before the wheels push the grass over onto the ground. The reels are often hydraulically powered.
The main parts of a cylinder or reel mower are:
Blade reel/cylinder: consists of numerous (3 to 7) helical blades that are attached to a rotating shaft. The blades rotate, creating a scissor-like cutting motion against the bed knife.
Bed knife: the stationary cutting mechanism of a cylinder/reel mower. This is a fixed horizontal blade that is mounted to the frame of the mower.
Body frame: the main structural frame of the mower onto which the other parts of the mower are mounted.
Wheels: help propel the mower in action. Generally, reel mowers have two wheels.
Push handle: the “power source” of a manually operated reel mower. This is a sturdy T-shaped, rectangular, or trapezoidal handle that is connected to the frame, wheels and blade chamber.
Motor: the power source of a reel mower that is powered by gasoline or electricity.
A rotary mower (viewed from underneath), with a mulching blade that rotates around the center.
A rotary mower rotates about a vertical axis with the blade spinning at high speed relying on impact to cut the grass. This tends to result in a rougher cut and bruises and shreds the grass leaf resulting in discolouration of the leaf ends as the shredded portion dies. This is particularly prevalent if the blades become clogged or blunt. Most rotary mowers need to be set a little higher than cylinder equivalents to avoid scalping and gouging of slightly uneven lawns, although some modern rotaries are fitted with a rear roller to provide a more formal striped cut. These machines will also tend to cut lower (13 mm) than a standard four-wheeled rotary.
The main parts of a rotary mower are:
Cutter deck housing: houses the blade and the drive system of the mower. It is shaped to effectively eject the grass clippings from the mower.
Blade mounting and drive system: the blade of a rotary mower is usually mounted directly to the crankshaft of its engine, but it can be propelled by a hydraulic motor or a belt pulley system.
Mower blade: a blade that rotates in a horizontal plane (about a vertical axis). Some mowers have multiple blades. The blade features edges that are slightly curved upward to generate a continuous air flow as the blade rotates (as a fan), thus creating a sucking and tearing action.
Engine/motor: may be powered by gasoline or electricity.
Wheels: generally four wheels, two front and two rear. Some mowers have a roller in place of the rear wheels.
Extensive grass trimming was not common before the widespread application of the vertical shaft single cylinder gasoline/petrol engine. In the United States this development paralleled the market penetration of companies such as the Briggs & Stratton company of Wisconsin.
Most rotary push mowers are powered by internal combustion engines. Such engines are usually four-stroke engines, used for their greater torque and cleaner combustion (although a number of older models used two-stroke engines), running on gasoline (petrol) or other liquid fuels. Internal combustion engines used with lawn mowers normally have only one cylinder. Power generally ranges from four to seven horsepower. The engines usually have a carburetor and require a manual pull crank to start them, although an electric starter is offered on some models, particularly large riding and commercial mowers. Some mowers have a throttle control on the handlebar with which the operator can adjust the engine speed. Other mowers have a fixed, pre-set engine speed. All are equipped with a governor (often centrifugal/mechanical or air vane style) to open the throttle as needed to maintain the pre-selected speed when the force needed to cut the thicker or taller grass is encountered. Gasoline mowers have the advantages over electric mowers of greater power and distance range. They do create a significant amount of pollution due to the combustion in the engine, and their engines require periodic maintenance such as cleaning or replacement of the spark plug and air filter, and changing the engine oil.
Electric mowers are further subdivided into corded and cordless electric models. Both are relatively quiet, typically producing less than 75 decibels, while a gasoline lawn mower can be 95 decibels or more.
Corded electric mowers are limited in range by their trailing power cord, which may limit their use with lawns extending outward more than 100–150 feet (30–45 m) from the nearest available power outlet. There is the additional hazard with these machines of accidentally mowing over the power cable, which stops the mower and may put users at risk of receiving a dangerous electric shock. Installing a residual-current device (GFCI) on the outlet may reduce the shock risk.
Cordless electric mowers are powered by a variable number (typically 1–4) of 12-volt, 56-volt, and 80-volt rechargeable batteries. Typically, more batteries mean more run time and/or power (and more weight). Batteries can be in the interior of the lawn mower or on the outside. If on the outside, the depleted batteries can be quickly swapped with recharged batteries. Cordless mowers have the maneuverability of a gasoline-powered mower and the environmental friendliness of a corded electric mower, but they are more expensive and come in fewer models (particularly the self-propelling type) than either. The eventual disposal of worn-out batteries is problematic (though some manufacturers offer to recycle them), and the motors in some cordless mowers tend to be less powerful than gasoline motors of the same total weight (including batteries).
Hover mower (underside view).
Cordless and rechargeable rotary lawn mower, in mulch mode, removable battery located above rear wheels
Corded rotary lawn mower, with rear grass catcher (note the red cord attached at the handle).
In hand-powered lawn mowers, the reel is attached to the mower’s wheels by gears, so that when the mower is pushed forward, the reel spins several times faster than the plastic or rubber-tired wheels turn. Depending on the placement of the reel, these mowers often cannot cut grass very close to lawn obstacles.
Other notable types
Hover mowers are powered rotary push lawn mowers that use an impeller above the spinning blades to drive air downward, thereby creating an air cushion that lifts the mower above the ground. The operator can then easily move the mower as it floats over the grass. Hover mowers are necessarily light in order to achieve the air cushion and typically have plastic bodies with an electric motor. The most significant disadvantage, however, is the cumbersome usability in rough terrain or on the edges of lawns, as the lifting air-cushion is destroyed by wide gaps between the chassis and the ground. Hover mowers are built to operate on steep slopes, waterfronts, and high-weeded areas, so they are often used by golf course greenskeepers and commercial landscapers. Grass collection is often available, but can be poor in some models. The quality of cut can be inferior if the grass is pushed away from the blade by the cushion of air.
A robotic mower is contained by a border wire around the lawn that defines the area to be mowed. The robot uses this wire to locate the boundary of the area to be trimmed and in some cases to locate a recharging dock. Robotic mowers are capable of maintaining up to 5 acres (20,000 m2) of grass. Robotic lawn mowers are increasingly sophisticated, are usually self-docking and contain rain sensors, nearly eliminating human interaction for mowing grass. Multiple robotic mowers can be used to mow an even larger area.
Tractor pulled mowers are usually in the form of an attachment to a tractor. The attachments can simply function by the movement of the tractor similar to manual push cylinder mowers, but also sometimes may have powered moving blades. They are commonly mounted on either the side or the back of the tractor.
Riding mowers (U.S. and Canada) or ride-on mowers (U.K. and Canada) are a popular alternative for large lawns. The operator is provided with a seat and controls on the mower and literally rides on the machine. Most use the horizontal rotating blade system, though usually with multiple blades. A common form of ride-on mower is the lawn tractor. These are usually designed to resemble a small agricultural tractor, with the cutting deck mounted amidships between the front and rear axles.
The drives for these mowers are in several categories. The most common transmission for tractors is a manual transmission. The second most common transmission type is a form of continuously variable transmission, called the hydrostatic transmission. These transmissions take several forms, from pumps driving separate motors, which may incorporate a gear reduction, to fully integrated units containing a pump, motor and gear reduction. Hydrostatic transmissions are more expensive than mechanical transmissions, but they are easier to use and can transmit greater torque to the wheels compared to a typical mechanical transmission. The least common drive type, and the most expensive, is electric.
There have been a number of attempts to replace hydrostatic transmissions with lower cost alternatives, but these attempts, which include variable belt types, e.g., MTD’s “Auto Drive”, and toroidal, have various performance or perception problems that have caused their market life to be short or their market penetration to be limited.
Riding lawn mowers can often mount other devices, such as rototillers/rotavators, snow plows, snow blowers, yard vacuums, occasionally even front buckets or fork-lift tines (these are more properly known as “lawn tractors” in this case, being designed for a number of tasks). The ability to tow other devices is possible due the fact they have multiple gears, often up to 5 or 6 and variable top speeds.
The deck of a rotary mower is typically made of steel. Lighter steel is used on less expensive models, and heavier steel on more expensive models for durability. Other deck materials include aluminium, which does not rust and is a staple of higher priced mowers, and hard composite plastic, which does not rust and is lighter and less expensive than aluminium. Electric mowers typically have a plastic deck.
Riding mowers typically have an opening in the side or rear of the housing where the cut grass is expelled, as do most rotary lawn mowers. Some have a grass catcher attachment at the opening to bag the grass clippings.
Mulching mowers Special mulching blades are available for rotary mowers. The blade is designed to keep the clippings circulating underneath the mower until the clippings are chopped quite small. Other designs have twin blades to mulch the clippings to small pieces. This function has the advantages of forgoing the additional work collecting and disposing grass clippings while reducing lawn waste in such a way that also creates convenient compost for the lawn, forgoing the expense and adverse environmental effect of fertilizer.
Mower manufacturers market their mowers as side discharge, 2-in-1, meaning bagging and mulching or side discharging and mulching, and 3-in-1, meaning bagging, mulching, and side discharge. Most 2-in-1 bagging and mulching mowers require a separate attachment to discharge grass onto the lawn. Some side discharge mower manufacturers also sell separate “mulching plates” that will cover the opening on the side discharge mower and, in combination with the proper blades, will convert the mower to a mulching mower. These conversions are impractical when compared with 2- or 3-in-1 mowers which can be converted in the field in seconds. There are two types of bagging mowers. A rear bag mower features an opening on the back of the mower through which the grass is expelled into the bag. Hi-vac mowers have a tunnel that extends from the side discharge to the bag. Hi-vac is also the type of grass collection used on some riding lawn mowers and lawn tractors and is suitable for use in dry conditions but less suitable for long wet lush grass as they often clog up. Mulching and bagging mowers are not well suited to long grass or thick weeds. In some ride-on mowers, the cut grass is dropped onto the ground and then collected by a set of rotating bristles, allowing even long, wet grass to be collected.
Rotary mowers with internal combustion engines come in three price ranges. Low priced mowers use older technology, smaller motors, and lighter steel decks. These mowers are targeted at the residential market and typically price is the most important selling point.
Professional grass-cutting equipment (used by large establishments such as universities, sports stadiums and local authorities) usually take the form of much larger, dedicated, ride-on platforms or attachments that can be mounted on, or behind, a standard tractor unit (a “gang-mower”). Either type may use rotating-blade or cylindrical-blade type cutters, although high-quality mowed surfaces demand the latter. Wide-area mowers (WAMs) are commercial grade mowers which have decks extended to either side, many to 12 feet (3.7 m). These extensions can be lowered for large area mowing or raised to decrease the mower’s width and allow for easy transport on city roads or trailers. Commercial lawn-mowing companies have also enthusiastically adopted types such as the zero-turn mower (in both ride-on and stand-on versions), which allow high-speed over the grass surface, and rapid turn-around at the end of rows, as well as excellent maneuverability around obstacles.
A ride on mower being used to maintain a public garden (2015)
Rotary mowers can throw out debris with extreme velocity and energy. Additionally, the blades of a self-powered push mower (gasoline or electric) can injure a careless or inattentive user; as such, many come equipped with a dead man’s switch to immediately disable the blade rotation when the user is no longer holding the handle. In the United States, over 12,000 people per year are hospitalized as a result of lawn mower accidents. The vast majority of these injuries can be prevented by wearing protective footwear when mowing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be at least 12 years old before they are allowed to use a walk-behind lawn mower and at least 16 years of age before using a riding mower. They also should demonstrate proper judgment and maturity. Persons using a mower should wear heavy footwear, eye protection, and hearing protection in the case of engine-powered mowers.
Environmental and occupational impact
Noise level from a lawn mower measured using the NIOSH Sound Level Meter app
A 2001 study showed that some mowers produce the same amount of pollution (emissions other than carbon dioxide) in one hour as driving a 1992 model vehicle for 650 miles (1,050 km). Another estimate puts the amount of pollution from a lawn mower at four times the amount from a car, per hour, although this report is no longer available. Beginning in 2011, the United States Environmental Protection Agency set standards for lawn equipment emissions and expects a reduction of at least 35 percent.
Lawn mowers produce GHG emissions. A minimum-maintained lawn management practice with clipping recycling, and minimum irrigation and mowing, is recommended to mitigate global warming effects from urban turfgrass system
Mowers can create significant noise pollution, and could cause hearing loss if used without hearing protection for prolonged periods of time. Lawn mowers also present an occupational hearing hazard to the nearly 1 million people who work in lawn service and ground-keeping. A recent study assessed the occupational noise exposure among groundskeepers at several North Carolina public universities and found noise levels from push lawn mowers measured between 86-95 decibels (A-weighted) and from riding lawn mowers between 88 and 96 dB(A); both types exceeded the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit of 85 dB(A).
To reduce the possibility of developing hearing loss and reduce noise pollution, users might consider the use of reel mowers or newer “green” or battery-operated mowers. Appropriate hearing protection such as earplugs or earmuffs will also help reduce the amount of sound that the user hears, which in turn can reduce hearing loss caused by lawnmowers.
It is possible for a lawnmower to damage the underlying soil, the grass’es roots, and the mower itself if the blades cut through the grass and collide with the underlying ground. Therefore it is important to adjust mower height properly and choose the right tires for lawn mower to prevent any marking or digging.
The earliest tools were made of wood, flint, metal, tin, and bone. However, the development of metal working, first in copper and later in iron and steel, enabled the manufacture of more durable tools. Industrial metalworking enabled the manufacture of efficient cutting tools including pruning shears (secateurs – for example anvil pruning shears), grass shears, and loppers.
In present days the gardening tools are made from light materials and are easy to handle. Different tools may vary in size depending on their use and brand.
Modern tool design includes ergonomics considerations, which means that they are being designed to induce less stress on the human body when used. The most efficient tools keep the body in a neutral position to help reduce the stress on joints and muscles. An advantage of this approach is it requires gardeners to exert less energy whilst using the tools. Some modern patents like US 7,832,125 show an example without hand stop provisions.
Organic gardening is the way of growing vegetables and fruits with the use of things only found in nature. Then, nature does most of the work for you. There are many benefits of growing your own fruits and vegetables with this way. Growing them organically is also easy and you just need to learn some general principles.
1. Organically grown foods are not sprayed with chemicals.That means less health harming chemicals on the food that you and your family may consume. Keep in mind that pesticides are created with only one purpose, to kill living things. A certain kind of protection might be dangerous. Pest control must be done with utmost consideration to safety; safety in terms of the plants, animals and humans.
On the average, a child ingests four to five times more cancer-causing pesticides from foods than an adult. This can lead to various diseases later on in the child’s life. With organic gardening, these incidents are lessened.Organically grown foods are nutritious and full of taste although they may not look as colorful and well presented as shop produce.
2. Cost savings.One example of organic fertilizer that you could make use of is as lowly as the stale coffee and coffee grounds. You don’t need to buy chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are expensive. Besides, the main purpose of taking care of vegetables and organic gardens will be defeated if they become “tainted” with pest control chemicals. In organic gardening, pest control relies on a series of strategy, not on a highly toxic chemical. For example, you can plant suitable flowers to attract pest’s natural predators like wasps and lacewings.
Compost can be made using vegetable waste. You can also add tealeaves, coffee grounds, eggshells and banana skins. Although this is a bit more time-consuming than buying prepared chemical pesticides and fertilizers, it would surely be one rewarding activity.
3. Less harm to the environment.Growing foods organically can protect the topsoil from erosion. As an addition, it has residual effect on ground water. According to The Environmental Protection Agency, 38 states have cases of contaminated ground water.Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a great way of getting closer to nature. The independence and satisfaction that can come from growing your own food is as rewarding as the peace of mind you have when you know exactly how the food was grown. By doing it, you have participated in safeguarding the future of the next generations.
Set up the planting site by turning over the dirt with a scoop to a profundity of in any event 10 inches. Separate any enormous lumps to set up a decent seedbed. Select sound oak seeds for planting as examined previously. At each site, plant 3 to 4 oak seeds dispersed around 6 to 8 inches separated. This will expand the odds of in any event one effective seedling being available at the site, and will shield the seedlings from being excessively packed if more than one rise. Plant oak seeds on their sides at a profundity of around 2 inches. More profound planting can diminish seedling development rates (particularly in substantial soils), and shallower planting can expand the odds that the oak seeds may dry out or be eaten by mice or ground squirrels.
Covering Weeds: (additionally called ‘occultation’) lay a substantial canvas, cover or sheets over the planting site for 4 a month and a half. This cuts vegetation off from accessible daylight and furthermore presents a mess of warmth. Weed seeds that grow in dimness will grow under the overwhelming texture, however will at that point cease to exist from absence of daylight.
Download free scene plan programming and start planning your terrace scene on the PC. Arranging programming effectively causes you plan and gauge material expense for another scene venture. The online scene instrument will determined your normal spending plan once it sees all your arranging needs. The arranging programs help you structure a lovely lawn scene thoughts alongside tips on structure wood or composite decks. In the wake of downloading the product, you can rapidly start planning your fantasy yard.
Significant Note: The month to month proposals – particularly the spring and fall planting dates – are for the run of the mill day and month in center Georgia. To utilize this date-book, think about center Georgia as a belt over the state from Columbus through Macon to Augusta. Spring planting dates can be as much as a little while prior in outrageous south Georgia, and fall planting dates can likewise be as much as about fourteen days after the fact. In north Georgia, the spring planting dates are from one to three weeks after the fact as you advance northward through the mountain regions; fall planting dates are around about fourteen days sooner.
Exposed root seedlings, are created legitimately from seed sown in seed beds and lifted at least one years subsequent to sowing. The quantity of years in the seed bed is demonstrated by the principal number in the uncovered root code for example Seedlings are lifter from the seed beds in the pre-winter or late-winter, brought into the pressing structure and either put away under refrigeration for spring planting or transported legitimately to the planting site. The seedlings might be “bed run” or evaluated. Bed run, implies that basically every one of the seedlings lifted are sent.
After a long, cold winter, you are probably anxious for the first signs of spring. Springtime automatically brings thoughts of flowers. Choosing the best flowers for spring can be difficult and it is often confusing. Perhaps the most effective way to ensure spring flowers that bloom each year is to plant bulbs in the fall to mid-winter. There are of course flowering plants that you can purchase from your local nursery, but you will want to make sure any chance of freezing weather has passed before planting and in many areas of the country, spring does not arrive until late in the season and by that time you will want to plants flowers in anticipation of summer.
You always have the option of purchasing bulbs that have been grown in pots over the winter and are in stock in most garden centers beginning in the late winter months. Here are a few choices of flowering plants that are suitable to plant now and will produce early spring flower:
Winter Aconite, or Eranthis hyemalis, will give you yellow flowers approximately three inches in height and resemble common buttercups. These particular bulbs may begin to flower as early as January if you live in a warm area and you will get the best results if you plant them in masses as they grow low to the ground.
Glory Of The Snow, or Chionodoxa luciliare, produce flowers that are bright blue with a white center. The plants will grow between six and ten inches tall, making this particular plant very handy for walkways, borders, and rock gardens. You may also be able to find white/pink varieties depending on the area in which you live.
Watching out the window to see this brilliant mob of shading and surfaces would satisfy anybody. The twisting way of grass in the midst of the blossom beds gives this patio nursery a considerably progressively unconventional touch.For case, the front scene may have a lot of bloom beds, to improve check bid. Be that as it may, the pet zone in the back yard may have few beds except if they could be fenced far from the paws of your pet.
It’s anything but difficult to make a casual way in the midst of planting beds or forest by clearing a swath of and putting down a layer of mulch, pine needles, or free stone. This sort of easygoing clearing mixes into the environment, giving simply enough definition to flaunt the plant material on either side and to keep kid buggies in line. Remember, however, that after some time such surface materials normally fall apart and disperse, so you’ll need to recharge them intermittently.
Local plants will in general need less manure, water, pesticide and by and large consideration than plants that began in different districts or atmospheres. Contact your nearby local plant focus, online local plant asset or greenery enclosure club to realize what locals will do best in your developing conditions. This can be a particularly successful system in a microclimate with extraordinary water or soil issues.
Fill the opening delicately, however immovably. Pack soil around the base of the root ball to balance out it. Fill the rest of the gap, immovably pressing the dirt to wipe out air pockets that may dry out roots. Further lessen air pockets by watering occasionally while refilling. Dodge preparation at the season of planting.The top of root ball ought to be level with the encompassing soil surface. This may require including back some dirt.
Spring Snowflake, or leucojum vernum, give you bell-shaped flowers that droop from the green part of the plant. These plants will be six to twelve inches in height and are white in color with small green spots on the ends of the petals. You will get the best results if you plant them in clumps and you can expect to see blooms in late February to early March. As with any other springtime bulb, they are best planted in the fall but you can plant in the mid to late winter if you purchase potted bulbs that have already begun the growing cycle.
Netted Iris, or iris reticulate, are wonderfully scented and are most commonly purple in color, although you can also find light blue and white irises in many areas. Irises are one of the earliest blooming plants and you can expect a beautiful display of flowers in early March. As with any other type of bulb, after several growing seasons you will have to thin the bulbs from time to time, as they tend to reproduce rapidly and could actually begin to stunt the growth of the plants due to over-crowding
Growing Bonsai is a rewarding hobby that is accessible to all. You hardly need any room at all and you’ve probably got most of the tools already lying around the house and garden. The only ‘specialist’ equipment you may need to go and by will be a pair of chopsticks (yes, you read that right), a Bonsai pot and of course the tree or plant that you intend to turn into your Bonsai masterpiece.
You will need a small pair of sharp scissors as well as a larger pair. You will need wire to shape your branches and fine wire cutters. A small set of garden shears and a large set of garden shears just about completes the set however as you throw yourself more and more into Bonsai (once you’ve got the bug there will be no stopping you) you will probably want to consider purchasing slightly more specialist Bonsai tools including miniature Bonsai rakes and root combs. Don’t panic though, the price tag size matches the tool size and most are very affordable.
You can make a raised bed with untreated wood, block, or stone. On the off chance that you use wood, ensure it is normally spoil safe and untreated. Cypress, insect and cedar are on the whole incredible instances of what woods to utilize when constructing a raised bed. So as to evade harmful substances from getting into the ground and maybe into your vegetables, abstain from utilizing offered wood encase or differentiate various areas of your vegetable greenhouse. In the event that you as of now have treated timber being used, line it with some plastic and supplant the dirt close it.
Regardless of the methodology (natural or nonorganic), it is imperative to utilize a quality soil blend (medium) when developing transplants from seed. Cleaned, soilless blends are promptly accessible and limit the danger of soil borne maladies and weeds. Nonetheless, numerous monetarily accessible blends have engineered wetting operators and starter composts that are restricted in business natural generation. In this way, idealist natural nursery workers should search for blends affirmed for use in natural generation or make their own by purchasing mass fixings and blending by hand. A huge refuse can with a safe top is a modest compartment for blending and putting away soil blends.
Following a couple of natural planting tips, you will deliver organic products, vegetables and herbs that are sound, taste awesome, are more affordable than purchasing produce at the supermarket and give you the genuine feelings of serenity knowing precisely how they were developed and what was utilized on them. Aphids are irritating little creepy crawlies that regularly cause a great deal of harm in your greenery enclosure. In the event that you plant marigolds close to your vegetable greenhouse, the aphids will stop disturbing your plants.
On the off chance that you as of now have an aphid issue, shower the contaminated plants with weakened lathery water and afterward splash them again with clear water. Natural greenery enclosure tips you should attempt are; rather than purchasing manure for your patio nursery, which could contain synthetic concoctions, make your own while you cut down on rubbish in the meantime.
En route, you’ll dig into the assortment of yields you can choose: verdant greens, root vegetables, organic product, herbs, and the sky is the limit from there. Each kind of harvest has explicit requirements, so you’ll get tips on beginning seeds, transplanting, pruning, and utilizing compartment gardens and bolster structures. What’s more, you’ll realize what to keep an eye out for so you can spot bugs and sicknesses before they annihilate your abundance. What’s more, you’ll remove the mystery from watering your greenhouse as you investigate an assortment of water system choices.
Where can I get Bonsai supplies?Bonsai is becoming increasingly popular around the world and no matter where you live there is a good chance that you aren’t too far away from a Bonsai shop. Many garden centres and nurseries now also stock the tools you need and if you’re still struggling or if you like to shop from the comfort of your own home the Internet is literally awash with suppliers of everything you could need from compost to rakes with everything in between.
My best word of advice here is to find out exactly what you want and then shop around. Visit your local stores and have a look on the Internet. Always try to build up a relationship with whomever you are buying from in case you ever need that vital piece of advice that can mean the difference between a small, brown conifer and a beautiful Bonsai masterpiece.
As well as the essential tools and specific Bonsai equipment and compost you can buy decorative figurines, ornate pots and just about any other addition you could possibly imagine. The Internet provides you with the world’s largest marketplace for any items you may want so you aren’t at all restricted to the items you can buy at your local plant store so whether your needs are for manufactured, good quality and affordable equipment to hand thrown pots you will have no problem finding what you are looking for.
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