Summer is here, which means lawn care is in full swing. If you know you’re missing the right tools to keep up with your backyard but aren’t sure where to turn, this post is for you. The lawn care experts at Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) have offered us some of their best advice for how to shop for the right yard equipment.

As President and CEO of OPEI Kris Kiser says, “The right outdoor power equipment can help you get the work done faster, and can help you safely maintain your yard.”

With that in mind, here’s what they had to say:

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The best lawn care starts with a plan. Image: Chris Snook

Start with a plan

Before you can buy any yard equipment, you need a plan of action. The folks at OPEI recommend starting with a sketch rather than trying to go off your own memory. Draw out your yard, including any major features like trees, bushes and flowerbeds. Be sure to include any new features you want to add this season.

Once you have your drawing in place, make note of any regular maintenance tasks that need to be done. Do the bushes near the front of your property need to be cut back from the road? Are you planning on putting down any fresh grass? Do this for all the tasks you’ll need to complete throughout the summer season, as well as the ones aimed at getting your lawn ready for fall.

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Make a list of all the equipment you need. Image: Living Colour Gardens

Make a list

After you have your list of maintenance tasks in place, the next step is to go through and list out the tools and equipment you need for each one. Be sure to spend some time on this. There’s nothing worse than starting a home maintenance project and realizing you’re missing one of the tools you need. In this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

With your list in hand, go visit your shed, or wherever you keep your current stash of lawn tools. Take the time to evaluate the condition of each one. See if any parts are missing or rusted. Be sure to check if any motorized equipment needs gas.

Then, compare your current lawn tools against your list of maintenance tasks. Do you have everything you need? Is there a tool that would make your job easier? Do you need to replace anything? Once you have those questions answered, you should be able to make a shopping list of new tools to buy.

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Research your tools online and in person. Image: Tom Howard Garden Design and Landscaping

Research before you buy

Smart shopping is all about doing your research. Before you buy any new yard equipment, you should be sure to check it out online. If you’re not sure what tools to use for a particular job, going online can be a great way to get a sense of your best options. If you already know what tools to use, reading online reviews can help you zero in on the right product for you.

While shopping, you should consider a variety of factors: price, size and required maintenance. If you’re shopping for a power tool, for example, consider whether you’d prefer an electric, gas or battery-powered option. Weigh whether replacing your old push mower with a riding one is worth the bump up in cost.

After you have a good idea of which tools you intend to buy, think about going to a home improvement store to purchase them rather than buying online. This will give you the opportunity to see and handle the equipment in person before you’ve committed to spending money. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask sales associates any lingering questions that you may have about the products.

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Think about storage and maintenance before you buy. Image: SURROUNDS Landscape Architecture + Construction

Consider storage and maintenance

Buying yard equipment isn’t just about getting the job done in the short-term. It’s also about ensuring that your investment in these tools will pay off. You can do that by making sure to store them properly and have them serviced regularly.

The experts at OPEI recommend always storing your yard equipment in a cool, dry place. Garages and sheds will almost always do the trick. Just be sure to check that water isn’t seeping in during winter snows or summer rain storms.

They also recommend getting your larger tools, like lawn mowers, serviced on a regular basis. Ideally, they say, it should be done at the beginning of spring and again at the end of fall. Put these dates on a calendar so that they don’t fall by the wayside in the midst of a busy schedule.

With summer in full swing, how do you keep your lawn looking great? We’d love to hear your tips below.