To keep your garden tidy and looking its best, you need to keep your garden equipment in tip-top shape.
This equipment is expensive; if some basic maintenance checks aren't carried out it can result in a dangerous accident or some costly equipment repairs.
Tips on cleaning and maintaining your garden equipment
Sharpen the blades: Dull blades tear grass, leaving large ragged wounds that will turn brown. Dull blades also contribute to the possibility of disease because large, irregular tears heal much slower than clean cuts.
Sharp blades guarantee a well-cut lawn and ensure no harmful weeds will survive a mower run. Sharpen your lawnmowers blades after every 8 hours of use. It's also a good idea to keep a spare sharpened blade handy. Your blades should be checked annually for natural wear (due to rocks and hard debris) before eventually being replaced.
Lawnmower undercarriage clearance: Grass can get caked inside and underneath, especially if you cut your lawn when it's dewy or wet. A build-up of grass can clog the mower's discharge chute, making your mowing less effective and possibly creating a safety hazard.
''Fortunately, the cleaning here is very easy,'' says Gena Lorainne, garden maintenance expert at Fantastic Gardeners. ''Clean what you can with a wire brush and then rinse with a hose from afar.''
''Be careful with the spark plug, which should be disconnected prior to the cleaning,'' she adds.
Use fresh petrol: If you're having problems starting your mower, old petrol might be the problem. Always drain your mower at the end of the season and use fresh fuel at the start of a new gardening season.
Oil check: You should check the oil before every use. ''Throughout the season, monitor the oil level and look for any debris that may have gotten into the container,'' says maintenance expert, Brad Woods.
''Oil or contaminated oil will destroy your mower from the inside out,'' he adds.
It is recommended that you change the oil after every 20 hours of use.
Replace your filter: It's recommended that you replace the filter once or twice a year. ''It's best to do this at the end of Summer and the end of Spring,'' says Woods.
''Replacing your filter saves your fuel as a clogged air filter will cause your machine to burn more for less work,'' adds Lorainne.
Shovels, rakes, and hoes: ''All need very little maintenance,'' says Lorainne. ''It is usually best to rinse the dirty parts with water and that would be enough, but if the dirt seems persistent, just a little soaking in a bucket of hot water would do wonders. ''
However, for the best care, it will be wise during the active gardening season to clean the heads of the tools with a wire brush and then apply vegetable oil on the metal parts. Use a soft cloth for this purpose. This will protect the tools from the rust and moisture.''