Consumer Reports: Time to spruce up the yard

(Consumer Reports) - Most of us are spending more time than ever inside our homes, but what about those spring clean-up projects you should safely tackle outside? Consumer Reports has some outdoor advice.

Yard work is a great way to break the boredom that comes with social distancing. (Consumer Reports)

"I think there are going to be a lot of good-looking laws and gardens this year," Consumer Reports' Paul Hope says. You can practice social distancing and get your lawn prepared for warmer weather.

First and foremost - eye and hearing protection are a must.

"So even if the weather is warmer, you want to skip shorts and sandals, lawn mowers, string trimmers, even leaf blowers can kick back debris and cause an injury. You also want to make sure to have solid, good closed toe shoes for traction," Hope advised.

If you didn't rake in the fall, now's the time to get rid of those leaves - a job anyone in the family can help out with. Or, use a leaf blower to gather leaves into a pile you can use for composting later on in the season.

Or, use your mower to mulch leaves right onto your grass. It will feed your lawn and reduce the amount of fertilizing it needs. This works in the side discharge mode, too. You can also use a bagging kit if you have one and save the grass and leave clippings for composting.

And remember - before starting up your mower, blower or even string trimmer clear the yard of any toys, sticks or other debris.

CR says for more outdoor spruce up ideas, look beyond the grass. You can use a pressure washer to clean lawn furniture, your walkways and your deck.

"You want to use hearing and eye protection, long pants and closed-toe shoes but it's also extra important to not use one on a ladder or steps because the force can blow you backwards," Hope said.

Never use the zero degree, red nozzle on your pressure washer. It condenses the full force of the water into a pinpoint, making it very easy to harm yourself and damage surfaces.

Consumer Reports says no matter which gas powered tools you use, it's important to start them up outside to avoid a buildup of carbon monoxide. And if you're looking for more tips and projects, take a look at your walkways and driveways - winter weather can wreak havoc on these. areas.