Beautify Your Yard: Win a Black and Decker Cordless Trimmer!

By Linsey Knerl on 3 May 2009 (Updated 30 June 2009) 74 comments

Here’s your chance to own the new Black and Decker 18-volt 12" Cordless GRASSHOG Trimmer/Edger, specifically designed to give busy yard-owners freedom, flexibility, and an outstanding opportunity to ditch the gas can this year. 

How to Enter

Read on to get Wise Bread’s best garden and yard advice, and comment at the end of the post with your best “green” lawn or garden tip for your chance to win!

One winner will be randomly chosen to receive a 12" Cordless GRASSHOG Trimmer/Edger, sponsored by Black and Decker.  Giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18+ at the time of entry.  Entries will be accepted until May 15th, 2009 at 11:59 pm EST.) 

Wise Bread’s “Cream of the Crop” Roundup: 

Free Food In Your Yard: Edible Weeds - Weeds are a pain, but Andrea has given us the best advice for those who have been officially defeated.  If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em!   

Secret Lawn Tonic from Golf Course Groundskeeper – This is one recipe that I didn’t see coming!  Paul shares this “top secret” formula containing a few choice beverages, mouthwash, and some cleaning products.

Gardening in a Group: 6 Tips – Who knew that getting dirty with your friends could be so healthy and productive?  Thursday’s simple ground rules can keep things civil, and they can help guarantee a “fruitful” partnership. 

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

Vegetable Gardening: Four Cheap Hacks – Myscha presents four of the most clever horticulture hacks to our readers. When you combine frugality with farming, I’m in!   

Growing My Own Food… In My Apartment – Thursday’s not letting anyone off the hook this time.  Even if you don’t have a sprawling backyard, there’s a gardening option for you! 

The Ultimate “Green” Workout – Forget pricey gym memberships and recalled commercial fitness equipment; this gal’s getting fit and trim in the garden!  I’ll show you how, in this reader-inspired article. 

So what do you think?  Are you excited to grow something that will feed your body and your soul?  Share your gardening and lawn tips in the comments for your chance to win the Black and Decker String Trimmer, with the following features:

  • Two 18-Volt NiCad battery packs are rechargeable via the included charging station
  • Super light weight makes it easier for most anyone to use
  • AFS™ System automatically advances the line when needed
  • 12" cut path covers a larger area on a single charge
  • Groom 'N' Edge™ converts from trimming to edging with a button push
  • Telescoping design gives you just the right reach 

(It's like a rechargeable power tool for your yard. With no bulky extension cords, smelly gasoline, or loud fuel-powered motors, this trimmer can green your routine with the charge of a battery.)

Good luck!

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Guest's picture
Colleen

My best lawn tip is to use no chemicals on our lawn. It is just too risky for our children, pets and the environment. I've recently started a plan to use compost as fertilizer and to aerate the yard. Great Giveaway

Guest's picture
Rebecca Coulter

My best green tip is to use vinegar to kills weeds that crop up in your driveway or sidewalks.

Thanks!
Rebecca

Guest's picture
Songbird

Simply this - stick with plants that are native to your area. For example, native plants of Florida will survive the heat and the droughts, whereas other plants will need constant care just to keep them alive.

And, know your plants needs and plant accordingly. Does the plant thrive in sun or shade? Is the plant always thirsty for water?

Go with the flow, or the harmony, of the characteristics of the land, the climate, and the plant, and nature will run it's course in your favor.

Guest's picture
jen

We recently started using a self-mulching lawn mower and WOW! I would highly recommend this to anyone who's kinda lazy but wants to have a nice looking, environmentally friendly lawn.

Guest's picture
Carry

When we designed our garden, we made sure to minimize the need to water the lawn - or more specifically rotate the sprinkler around to get it all. We simply put a sprinkler out and turned it on. If the ground got wet, that's where the grass went. Everything else has to rely on the sky for its moisture.

Great giveaway. Thanks!

Guest's picture
AnnetteA

I just got a house this weekend, so I'm still learning, but I'm most excited about composting.

Guest's picture
gumnos

Just a little experience from somebody who has a Black & Decker Grasshog with some of my pros (+) and cons (-) for you:

(+) no bumping is nice! (the $6 spools last me about a season, trimming every 2 or 4 weeks depending whether I remember to charge on batteries...see below)

(+) with both batteries fully charged, I can usually do the whole yard

(+) the "flip-around head" is nice for edging vs. trimming

(+) it's much quieter than my neighbors' gas weed-eaters

(+) it doesn't spew gas-fumes

(+) fairly light to carry around

(-) the neck/balance is a little short for us taller people

(-) the batteries don't seem to hold a charge for any length of time. If I charge them one weekend to use them the next weekend, they're already dead. I need to remember 18hr ahead to put one in the charger, then 9hr ahead put the other one in the charger to ensure they both are fully charged when I plan to trim.

(-) the batteries slide in in two-stages: you slide it in, and it feels fairly secure, but it needs to get an extra push until you hear the lock "click" into place. If you don't click it in, they'll fall out. Not a big (-), but just a note to the winner to make sure you click it.

(-) no shoulder-strap to rebalance the (albeit light) weight

All said, it was a decent value, but a few points get knocked off for usability & technical problems.

-gumnos

Guest's picture

Hi!

My best tip for a nice green lawn is...

drum roll

spray paint!

Nonononononono. Just kidding!!

My best tip for a pretty lawn is to choose the right kind of grass to plant for your environment. Here in NC we've been in drought for quite a few years and most lawns get brown, crunchy, and ugly during the summer when it's illegal to water - so here when we plant new grass, we have to pick high-sun, drought-tolerant, but also a variety that won't fall flat when the rains come!

Guest's picture
Becky V.

While this is not a new idea, it's one I use all the time. I don't bag the grass clippings when mowing, but allow them to stay in the lawn.

Guest's picture
abowser

This is nothing new, but COMPOST!!!

Plan companion plants as well as beneficial plants (bugs love radish tops, so I plant them amongst my veggies so that the pests will eat THEM instead of my other veggies that I prize more!). I also plant carnations amongst my veggies since pests don't like the smell, and generally stay away from that area.

If a plant doesn't work in your yard after trying it once or twice, just stay away from it - it's not worth the effort and resources to make it live. I tried lavender in my garden a few times, which is silly since I live in Maryland. I gave up when I realized I couldn't defy the odds and just moved on to other plants that are much happier in my zone.

Guest's picture
kylydia

My best advice, and something I don't see a lot of people in my town do, is to leave the grass clippings on the lawn. If you don't like the look of them, at least use the clippings in your compost pile. There's no need to send them to a landfill.

Guest's picture
Deb

Everyone gets pests in their yards. Get rid of them and distract them with natural methods, not poison. I use diatomaceous earth on those huge ant hills and the earwigs that hide under yard furniture. Japanese beetles can be picked or shaken off shrubs and garden plants into a bucket of soapy water. Many garden pests can be avoided by companion planting - google it, it really works. You, your yard and your pets will be healthier and you'll save money too!

Guest's picture
Brian

We've left a corner of our yard go wild. It doesn't bother anyone, cuts down on mowing, and is an excellent place to throw leaves, twigs, and other material to let it slowly compost.

Guest's picture
ryan

if you live in an area like i do, drop seed on your lawn in february or so, when there is 8 inches of snow on the ground.

there arent any birds around to eat the seed before it sinks into the snow (less seed), you wont need straw or peat moss to protect from the birds (less materials) and it automatically soaks into the ground and sprouts as the snow melts (less watering!)

Guest's picture
Jen G.

I heard recently that using a spray bottle with some soapy water in it helps to keep plants disease free.

Guest's picture
Fianna

Compost, compost, compost!

Guest's picture
Shaun

Last year we bought a Push Reel Mower. Cheap, Easy, and Quiet. I can mow before it gets hot and without bothering the neighbors.

Guest's picture
Mercedes

This is my third year having a vegetable garden and here are some of my tips:
Consider intensive use of your land: square foot gardening will maximize production while minimizing land used. Also staggering crops/planting while do wonders too. Once you are done with broccoli replace the green beans.

Mercedes

Guest's picture
Sheila

Native plants - for a lot of the same reasons as eating locally. The plants that are native are much more adapted for the climate and are usually grown at local nurseries, cutting down on freight.

Guest's picture
Vince

Most people (esp. those with automatic sprinklers) like to turn on their sprinklers for a couple of minutes every day. All this does is encourage shallow root growth, making them far less likely to survive the heat (and also guarantees that you'll have to keep watering every single day!).

Instead, water less often (1-2 times/week, max.) but give it a good soaking (~1" or so per week plus/minus, depending on your soil type... more for clay, less for sand)

And quit watering the lawn in the middle of the day, people! During the summer, half of the water's probably not even reaching the lawn!

Guest's picture
Lizzy

My tip is to be careful when you are weeding, so you don't lose interesting/useful plants! We just moved into a new house, and the entire side garden looked like weeds to me - but when my dad came over to take a look around, he noticed that some of them were cabbage heads. Awesome!

Guest's picture
Ann

Mulch is a must in the garden, to keep down weeds and keep moisture in the soil. You can even recycle your old newspapers as mulch.

Guest's picture
jtmeyer

got slugs but don't want to use nasty chemical poisons?

dig a little hole in your yard and place an empty tuna fish can in it so the top is level with the ground, then fill it with beer. you can put these anywhere slugs are a problem.

The slugs will smell it and be attracted to it, they'll crawl in but won't crawl back out.

Guest's picture
mel

To kill weeds in cracks in sidewalk/driveway - pour boiling water on the cracks.

Guest's picture
Guest

This year are lawn had a lot of bare spots so we tried out some of the Scotts lawn patch. It worked great and we had new lawn in a few weeks.

Guest's picture
Debbie H

One of the best things I've done is research and then use square foot gardening. It's a perfect way to provide just enough for my family, not too much waste!

Guest's picture
JimmyDaGeek

Raised-bed gardening is almost foolproof because you create your garden bed with new compost and topsoil, instead of relying on your original dirt. It's also easier on your back since you don't have to stoop down as much.

Guest's picture
Teaspoon

Dig up your lawn and plant whatever vegetation is native to your area instead. It's a lot of work up-front, but once it's established you'll never have to do anything with your yard again--no chemicals, no watering, no nothing!

Guest's picture
Joshua

Some people call them weeds, I call them native ground cover. In Wyoming Yarrow grows in anything, with very little water. Find what grows in your without your contributing toxic chemicals and unnecessary water. My tortoise also loves to eat the yarrow.

Guest's picture
Tony

I always recommend using a mower that will mulch your clippings instead of bagging. It saves money on Fertilizer and is much easier on the mower operator!

Guest's picture

My best garden tip is to cover your garden with plastic and leave holes in it for the plants. This keeps the weeds from growing. Also, cover your garden walkways with grass to keep weeds from growing there.

Guest's picture
Della

As a new homeowner, I am actively SEEKING lawn tips. We have a townhouse with a small yard that would be perfect for a trimmer, so I think that B&D trimmer has my name on it! However, if I had to provide a tip of my own, it would be to buy a condo or townhouse instead of a free-standing, that way the HOA will cover the bulk of the maintenance and with a group of mowers who all come out at once to do everything, surely they're saving on gas and resources! :)

Guest's picture
Kathryn

A green and Wisebread-worthy tip is to talk to the local tree crew(s) and let them know you're interested in wood chips, and many will drop off a load of chipped wood the next time they do work in your area. This is decent free mulch, which will cut down on your watering needs and slowly build organic matter in the soil. Not quite as attractive as bark mulch, but still better than patches of weeds growing up around your trees and planting beds!

Not only does this save you money and improve your soil, but it's greener than buying bagged mulch or having mulch delivered because it uses zero packaging and extremely minimal transport distance.

Guest's picture
Mary

My best tip? The Fiance bought a push mower, instead of a gas-powered mower. It takes him just as much time to do the yard with the push mower, gives him a good workout, and doesn't burn gas!

Guest's picture
jdmitch

My Green Tip? Don't buzz your grass so short. Keeping it trimmed longer actually makes it stronger and makes it start growing not so fast (as it begins developing root structure rather than leaf structure). This means less time spent mowing, more time for life, a healthier yard and less pollutants in the atmosphere.

Oh, and I don't need one I've got the this and the hedge trimmer and blower... like them all.

PS - Gumhos is pretty dead one with the pros and cons. However, I'm shortish so don't have the neck / reach problems so the lack of strap really doesn't matter to me.

Guest's picture
Joe

I have to agree composting is the way to go!

Guest's picture
Max

Use pepper spray to keep insects at bay

Guest's picture
Joseph Perozzi

Ground up chrysanthemums make a natural insecticide that makes all the little buggies run to your neighbor's yard! Try it -- you'll be glad you did!

Guest's picture
Joy Smith

My Best tip for beautiful yards is to invest in an edger. An edger makes the sidewalk edges really stand out and make your yard look absolutely beautiful!

~ Joy

Guest's picture
Michele

When planting grass seed, do not cover with straw. Use compost. It works wonders.

Guest's picture
Laura

This is kind of a strange tip, but we have a big gopher problem on our property, and I was just reading last night that building barn owl nesting boxes was the best "green" way to deal with the problem. Barn owls, obviously, will prey on the gophers and hopefully scare them off. I like this idea much better than poisoning or gassing their burrows, so we'll see how it goes!

Guest's picture
KelR1

I agree with Colleen. I, too, use no chemicals on the lawn and it is perfectly fine.

Guest's picture
Jenny

aerate the yard

Guest's picture
Paul

de-thatch the lawn

Guest's picture
Trevor

Don't cut the grass too short - slightly longer has deeper roots, is healthier and able to stand droughts better.

Guest's picture
kristy h

Plant Marigolds on the outside of your garden to keep the bugs away.

Guest's picture
Brian

I don't yet have a yard, so I don't have any tips, but I do have some pet peeves. Don't throw away your green waste, compost it. Don't water in the middle of the day, water early morning or in the evening to make sure you don't waste water. Also, watch where your sprinklers are aimed, make sure they are watering what you want watered and not the sidewalk.

Guest's picture
Sherry Abrams

I fill in patchy spots on my lawn in the Spring with organic manure with humus and water in. The grass will spread and grow to green up evenly.

Guest's picture
Just Kelly

Plant native plants. They will require less water, pesticides, and have a less negative impact on the environment.

Guest's picture
Rhonda

Plant your beds and gardens a little more densely than the seed packets or plant containers suggest. Stagger them into triangular arrangements, closely enough that their leaves will just barely overlap when they're at their full size. The leaves will shade the soil, meaning less watering, and you'll get a few more plants in. Compost well so that every plant gets enough nutrients.

Also, in addition to vinegar and boiling water to kill weeds in patio/sidewalk/driveway cracks, a generous dose of salt in those cracks will keep them from coming back.

Guest's picture
Emily

Our backyard was a disaster when we moved in. We took the buckled cement walkway that went around the perimeter of the yard and smashed it up. We used the broken pieces of cement to build a series of trellaces/ retaining walls that are beautiful! Not only did we save money by not buying materials, we didn't have to haul away all that heavy waste.

Guest's picture
Brian

I have a big outside dog and often her water in her water bowl gets dirty. So instead of wasting it, as I live in a desert, I put it in a bucket and water my plants in the front yard with it.

This is a very simple way to use that extra water to keep your greens green without increasing the water bill and without wasting a valuable resource.

Guest's picture
JGS

Try to always buy seeds that are NOT genetically modified, such as all natural, nonhybrid. This is better for your yard, plants, and animals attracted to the plants.

Guest's picture
Mary

We make many pots of coffee throughout the day at my office. I save the grounds, filter and all and add it to my compost or even straight to the soil.

I also like to keep a container with lettuce growing in it throughout the season for fresh salad anytime. I just head out to the deck before dinner and pull a few leaves. Its super easy to grow and doesn't have to have full sun to grow like most veggies.

Guest's picture
Mary

We make many pots of coffee throughout the day at my office. I save the grounds, filter and all and add it to my compost or even straight to the soil.

I also like to keep a container with lettuce growing in it throughout the season for fresh salad anytime. I just head out to the deck before dinner and pull a few leaves. Its super easy to grow and doesn't have to have full sun to grow like most veggies.

Guest's picture
Billy

Don't cut the grass too short.

Guest's picture
GT0163C

I don't exactly compost, but I do toss vegetable bits (apple cores, carrot tops, spinach stalks (I only like the leaves for my sandwiches) in the back yard. Before they decompose, they attract the bunnies which makes for free entertainment for my cats. And, once they decompose they're doing nothing bad to my lawn. I have found that this doesn't work very well with banana and orange peels though.

Guest's picture
darijavan

Take a quick trip around your lawn before mowing. You will be amazed at how much debris has fallen from the trees or blown into your lawn. Its much easier to pick it up than replace the mower after you cut it up and messed up the mower. Also very good exercise.

Guest's picture
Denise

Catch rain water by directing gutters into water barrels and use the water from the barrels to water your garden.

Guest's picture
Guest

I use greywater from my rinse water for my dishes & clothes to water my lawn.

Guest's picture
Sarah

Many cities use their collected yard waste as mulch... Our utility company will drop off a truckload for free if you call them. Good if you are planning a big project.

Guest's picture
Jeannie

There are so many great tips listed already I dont think I can come up with a new one!
What we are planning is to install raised planter boxes filled with vegetables, not only will it be healthier for my family but help out with our budget. And one of the boxes we will have flowers and plant that are native to central calif and drought resistant, so we can save on precious water. My husband also wants to install a drip irrigation system so we can stop over watering before it starts.
And of course we will have a compost box set up too! Im looking forward to our new yard!

Guest's picture
prasanth

Used Fish tank water has lots of nitrogen in it which can be poured into the garden/lawn and makes for a great natural fertilizer.

Guest's picture
Oldguy

My washer is outside on a concrete pad. The drain hose goes into a tub. 22 gallons of soapy wash water is collected from wash cycle and put on tree and ornamental areas. 22 gallons of rinse water is collected from rinse cycle and put on the front yard. I use buckets carried in my little red wagon. I do not use wash water on my garden in the back. It's a little labor intensive but I only do a wash once or twice a month.

Guest's picture
Guest

My best green tip for lawn is to obtain one of the old manual lawnmowers. You'll have no emissions from a motorized mower and you'll be getting healthy in process. Of course, if you have a large lawn, you'll just get fit quicker!

Guest's picture
Bamamama

In the Spring, after the has thawed, roll up a magazine and tap the trunk of your tree starting at the bottom and working your way up the trunk. This gets the sap flowing and aids in leaf and flower growth! It really works! I did this to my sister's pink dogwood that she thought was failing. That year, this tree was the most beautiful, fullest it had ever been in 17 years! I have done this to my pecan trees also and have gotten bumper crops of pecans since I started!

Guest's picture
carol

great giveaway. now, if we can educate my personal weedeater(my husband) that all things that border the lawn are not to be wacked!
thanks

Guest's picture
Kelly

With young kids, I'm not comfortable with toxic sprays and such in the yard, but we have to keep the bugs at bay to stay safe (lyme disease, west nile, etc). We bought and used a garlic spray last year to spray on the yard to combat the mosquitos and ticks, and I really think it helped. And it's totally safe for the kids! :-)

Guest's picture
Jason Marcuson

First off, they are very affordable. I bought mine on Amazon.com for a mere $60.
Second, use your reel mower for one "cutting season" and your lawn is gaining the equivalent of a free fertilizer application (And saving you MORE money, and contributing to saving the planet.)
Third, it's decent exercise! You actually push the darn thing, and you'll get so much satisfaction out of hearing those blades slice through your grass rather than hearing and smelling a gasoline-powered engine.

Guest's picture
Kathleen

My best tip is to plant Zoysia!!! We live in a pretty "hot summer" area and Zoysia grass is so resistant and takes way less water!!!

Guest's picture
Melissa K.

Let your lawn get a little longer between mowings and/or set your mower level higher and it will help your grass beat the heat. Longer lawns get less stressed than short because its own length helps shade the roots.

Guest's picture
Guest

This thing really blows humongous donkey dick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guest's picture
akyra

I have a ryobi 18V trimmer, I LOVE it. i love there is no 'starting' session where I spend anywhere from 10-15minutes angry at the weedeater. It's light easy to use. The battery life could go longer but I don't really want to weed eat for more than 30-45min @ a time anyways, it's a cue to take a break and do something else! If you need to get it all in one day have plenty of batteries charging :)

Guest's picture
Jack

Propane tank for soldering keeps my weeds down and they don' return