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Making Yard Work Easier

The stifling heat of the summer has passed and cooler weather is upon us, but that doesn't mean you can put away your lawnmower for the rest of the year. You'll probably need your pruners and rakes, too.

On The Early Show, Danny Lipford, the host of "Today's Homeowner," offered these suggestions on tools that will make removing leaves (and other yard work) easier.

Ergonomic Hand Tools
There are numerous pruners, shears and rakes on the market that have been redesigned to make them more ergonomically correct. These new designs can make quite a difference when you have a lot of raking or pruning to do. Using them requires less hand strength, so doing the job should be less tiring.

Ames True Temper has launched a new line of hand-held tools aimed at reducing the pain and strain of pruning. Each handle is ergonomically designed to keep the hand more relaxed without adding strain. Available items include the By-Pass Pruner, Floral Pruner, Pruning Shears, Garden Scissors, Hand Trowel, Hand Shears, and By-Pass Loppers.

If you have old pruner, it's important that it be sharp. These days, most tools come with replacement blades, but if you don't have one use a file to reestablish the edge, or bench grinder, if you have one.

To help reduce the risk of back injury during the fall raking season, Delta Ergo has introduced the first-ever ergonomic Adjustable Rake. This rake features a curved handle to help individuals use their strongest muscles as efficiently as possible. It also features Fiberglas tines for extra strength when raking leaves and debris in your yard.

Yard Power Tools
Of course, it's easier to do yard work when you have power to help you. In addition to the trend in ergonomic tools, another trend is that manufacturers are providing consumers tools that are interchangeable attachments to the same motor.

The Expand-it line of tools allows you to use one engine to power five different attachments: a blower, edger, pruner, tiller and an 18-inch trimmer.

These tools can be purchased by visiting the Home Depot Web site. Attachments range in price from $39 to $99.

Hauling
Once you complete the raking, pruning and general clean-up of your yard, you will need to remove the debris. Instead of relying on the classic wheelbarrow, there are several new ways to haul items.

The Allsop Clean-Up Canvas is capable of containing 20 cubic feet of yard waste. You simply fill the canvas up with weeds, grass, leaves or other trimmings, fold up the four corners and clip them together. You then have a self-contained, transportable bag to haul your debris. It costs $15.

The Allsop WheelEasy LE is a compact and economical collapsible yard cart. When you drop the handles to the ground, you are able to load items onto the WheelaEasy by raking, shoveling or sliding items onto it. Lift the handles from the ground and move your item to its new location. It costs $49.99. Both are available at www.allsop.com.

Lawn Sweeping
Years ago, professional lawn services discovered that it is easier to mow a lawn than to rake it. These types of services have been using mower/sweepers for a long time. Now, Craftsman has created one for the consumer. The 4-in-1 Plus Yard Vacuum System works as a vacuum, shredder, chipper and blower. It clears a path about 24 inches wide using a powerful suction to pick up items such as leaves, pine cones and more. An anti-clog self-cleaning screen is a great benefit. It costs $700 and is available at www.sears.com.