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GardenSMART :: When Buying Landscape Equipment Start Smart and Finish in the Green

When Buying Landscape Equipment Start Smart and Finish in the Green

By Honda Power Equipment
Photographs courtesy of Honda Power Equipment

When it comes to landscaping, a little green can go a long way to make residential environments beautiful. Smart lawncare enthusiasts know that the right tools help save time and money. So, how to stock an outdoor power products arsenal with the right landscaping equipment is the first order of business.

According to the experts at Honda Power Equipment, manufacturer of a complete range of power equipment for consumer and rental applications, today's outdoor power products are stronger, lighter, quieter with less vibration, more fuel efficient, and safer to handle than ever before.

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"Consumers should concentrate on investing in fundamental outdoor power equipment types: the tiller and the trimmer," says Elisha Lipscomb, Senior Marketing Strategist, Lawn & Garden for Honda Power Equipment. "Achieving a beautiful landscape starts with the sensible and informed purchase of outdoor power equipment. Buyers should do some homework, knowing that there are many makes and models available with a broad range of features and benefits."

The Tilling Kind

A tiller acts like a power shovel, but unlike a shovel, this piece of power equipment quickly breaks up compacted soil or preps holes for planting. When it comes to blazing paths, especially for new landscape installations where the ground can be hard or rocky, the job usually starts with tilling.

"Tillers work well for home garden cultivating—ideal for pre-planting ground preparation," explains Lipscomb. "Today's models come in three main types—handheld lightweight and portable mini-cultivators, mid-tine machines for medium-sized areas, and rear-tine tillers for heavier-duty jobs." Some tillers also are designed with electronic ignition for quick and easy starting.

Choosing the right tiller depends on a number of factors. In short, the size and type of job are directly proportional to the size and power of the tiller. Start by measuring the square footage of the area to be tilled as well as the grade and hardness of the soil. For instance, if you're cultivating small beds or plots close to plants and other structures, choose a lightweight, maneuverable tiller with a tilling width of approximately nine inches. Bigger jobs, such as prepping soil to lay sod or creating a bed for the first time, require a reliable, powerful earth-churning machine with extra size, durability and strength. 

"The advanced, heavy-duty design of a rear-tine tiller with a tilling swath of 20 inches, for example, meets the extreme durability requirements of commercial and rental consumers," says Lipscomb.

Different tiller models come with a range of features and benefits that are useful for various aspects of a job. Many rear and front-tine tillers are designed with multi-speed transmissions and have drag bar operation as well as adjustable tilling heights or depth stakes that help the operator adjust to the level of earth. In addition, tillers often incorporate borders/edgers, aerator tines, dethatchers, tine extensions and furrow attachments. Each of these items can alter the depth, appearance and width of the sections of earth being cultivated or cleared.

"A tiller is an investment, and consumers should select carefully to make the most of their purchases," says Lipscomb. "Consider ease of starting, low emissions, high fuel economy and simple, quiet operation." For example, the Honda tiller product line consists of four tiller models in three series (Mini, Mid-Tine and Rear-Tine) ranging from 25 lbs. to 275 lbs.

Finally, before leaving the dealer or retail outlet with any new earth-moving companion in tow, be sure to purchase the correct safety equipment. "When operating a tiller, it's essential to wear eye protection and gloves for safety," adds Lipscomb.

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The Right Cuts for the Right Lines

Every green space looks better with manicured borders and clean lines. That's why string trimmers for residential applications are an integral part of any landscape artisan's power equipment collection.

String trimmers are most often used to clear thick grass or brush. "Trimmers are ideal for horizontal cutting challenges presented by grasses and weeds that grow around walls, fences, shrubs, trees, and mailbox posts where lawn mowers can't reach," Lipscomb explains.

It's also important to know that the engine powering a trimmer actually drives most of the differences in technology among models. "The ability of an engine to operate in a 360° inclinable orientation is very important to the overall ease of the trimmer's operation," says Lipscomb. "A trimmer incorporating a four-stroke engine design is inherently quieter, virtually smokeless, more fuel-efficient and produces considerably less vibration than most two-stroke engines."

Getting the right cut also starts with selecting a trimmer offering features that contribute to ease of use and dependability. For example, many trimmers incorporate multi bearing-supported hardened steel shafts for durability; electronic ignitions with primer systems for quick, reliable starts; and advanced anti-vibration systems that isolate controls from engine vibration. Three Honda trimmer models offer the latest in innovation and technology—the HHT25SLTAT, HHT35SLTAT and HHT35SUKAT feature semi-matic feed or manual feed nylon cutting heads or available brush cutting blades.

Lipscomb also points out that while most trimmers come fully equipped with all the necessary tools for operation, buyers should check to be sure that the model is sold with the proper safety equipment for operation. "The use of a safety harness and eye goggles are key to safe and efficient trimmer operation." 

About Honda Power Equipment

Honda Power Equipment, a division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., markets a complete range of outdoor power equipment, including outboard marine engines, general-purpose engines, generators, walk-behind and robotic lawn mowers, pumps, snow blowers, tillers and trimmers for commercial, rental and residential applications.

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