Tools for Those Outdoor Jobs

I’ve now been in my house for 4 years and wow, has it changed in the last few years.  Two years ago in April, my entire front yard was landscaped and that totally changed the front of my house in so many good ways. It was once a barren landscape of nothing, with only 2 trees anchoring the front yard and nothing else along the front of the house.  Landscaping truly makes such a difference in a home and enhances a house like nothing else can do, so I’m extremely thankful for the Southern Living plants that I now have in my yard.

They have grown like crazy over the last 2 and 1/2 years and it’s unreal how big they are now.  I’ll share a few pics of when they were first planted to what they look like today, but I also wanted to share some tools I got recently that will help with keeping my landscape plants under control.  Plants are beautiful, but they also have to be maintained and now I have some handy tools to really help with that part.  I hired a landscape company last summer to handle the mowing of my lawn, as well as trimming and edging, so that has taken a lot off my plate.  I don’t have the stamina I used to have and getting out there in the summer heat is really hard for me now, but I know that I will need to take care of the plants and keep them healthy. Trimming them is a big part of that too and at the rate of growth they are having, that is something I’ll need to keep up with.


I’m very grateful to partner with great companies like Troy-Bilt®, who reached out to ask me if I wanted to try out some of their Core battery powered tools.  Yes, please!  That is a no brainer, when a company like this gives me tools to use.  These are tools that I can handle and the fact that they are battery powered is extra special.  The handheld blower and hedge trimmer are the two pieces of equipment I got from Troy-Bilt


Troybilt’s technology in these tools is powered by their CORE™ system and you get the power you’d expect from a gas powered machine, now without the gas.  All battery powered! And rechargeable.  That’s something I can definitely handle.  Big machines that use gas would be intimidating to me, but these are not.  Plus they are red and most of my tools in my garage are red, so that’s a bonus too.  I’m color coordinated! ha!  Those rechargeable batteries snap into place and are interchangeable with all of their equipment powered by CORE.


I get a lot of leaves and debris on my back patio and having a cordless blower is going to be SO wonderful!  I have a regular blower that has to be plugged in and I made the mistake of buying a 100′ cord.  Have you ever tried to navigate a 100′ cord?!  It’s ridiculous and makes me want to say bad words when I get it out to use for anything.  Tangled is the word and it drives me crazy!


It’s going to be so nice to have this handy machine to just pick up and use to get all the leaves and debris off the patio.


Tiny little things float in from the backyard trees and get on the cushions and this will get it all off in a hurry.  I have been covering my furniture with a big tarp during the summer when we were getting more rain, but lately I’ve left it uncovered.  Soon when it gets too cold to sit out here, I’ll take all the cushions into my covered porch and then cover it all up with my tarp for the winter.  I’m hoping to keep using it for another month or so.


Meanwhile, the blower helps me keep things tidy back here.


You can see it made the rug ripple and it has an extra boost button you can press for extra power during a job.


The next tool I tried out is the hedge trimmer and wow, is this going to come in handy for me!


Let me remind you where my landscaping started in April of 2014.  That was just over 2 years ago and it has exploded with growth.  I think you probably understand how excited and happy this Southern Living plant collection landscaping made me, but it truly has made such a difference in the curb appeal of my house and I’m so, so grateful that it happened. You can see all the plants used in my yard in that link if you’d like to see those.


Those pretty Fatshedera Angyo Star vines were planted to disguise the hanging fireplace and I’m happy to say they have done the job.  It’s all covered now.  I had my armillary in the corner where those plants were growing and had to move it out this year as it was completely covered up with plant growth.


Here’s the right side of the front porch.  It was just getting started here and newly planted. Thank goodness most of these plants survived and thrived and how I have a mini-jungle out there.


I’ve mostly let things just grow, but did trim off the old hydrangea blooms last year when they were spent.  Other than that I’ve only cut straggly branches here and there on my azaleas and other plants in the front yard.  I’ve left most of the ones by the house alone for now and let them grow. These pics are not the greatest, because it was so sunny outside when these were taken, so bear with me.


I had not trimmed my Baby Gem boxwoods at all.  They have lost some branches this summer and I cut the dead ones back, but most of them are doing well.  I did have to transplant one there that you can see in the row that is smaller.  It died and I replaced it with one over by the house, so I’m hoping it will catch up eventually.  Meanwhile, it’s time to trim them up a bit.


As you can see from this gif, the hedge trimmer made quick work of trimming these boxwoods.  It was so fast!


I picked up the trimmed branches from the ground and will continue around the yard trimming my other plants too.  First, I need to read up on when and how to prune them all, then I’ll get going on that during the dormant months of growing.  Some I will prune by hand, but some of them I know I can use the trimmer on and it will make that job so much faster for me.


These gardenias have really exploded too and were covered in blooms in the spring and later in the summer too.  Amazing that they had 2 periods of blooms!


I’ve got plenty of pruning to do around there that is for sure and these tools will help me a lot.  Anything that makes that job easier, I’m all for.


Can you believe how much these plants have grown?  I sure didn’t have to worry about them covering the side of my porch, it’s completely covered now.


And you can see the new bench I bought in Round Top is in place in the front yard. It is time to refresh the pine straw again and  I’ll probably wait until spring to do that.  I had to move that armillary out of the corner as it was completely covered up.


I’m loving this bench!  I’m debating whether to paint it a pretty color or leave it vintage like it is, sort of chippy. What do you think? I’m going to add a couple of pillows on here to add some color, something with outdoor fabric.


Definitely have to keep trimming the vine on the fireplace.  I trimmed it in spring at the top and it’s already gone crazy again.


The left side of the yard is full and lush as well with all the plant growth going on.


This is looking down from the front porch to the fireplace side of the yard.  So much growth!


For now, the Baby Gem boxwoods have a haircut and I’ll continue around the yard, pruning and trimming everything else this Fall and Winter.  I’m so excited to have some great tools to use in my yard from Troy-Bilt that will help this old gal with her chores.  I’m not a Spring chicken anymore, so anything I can use to help make these jobs easier, I’ll gladly take them!


Oh yes!  One more thing! Troy-Bilt sent me 2 hedge trimmers and when I wrote them back to let them know that, I told them I knew a guy who would love to have one of these for his garden and they said yes, pass it on to your dad.  My dad was thrilled to get a hedge trimmer too and I know he’ll use it to trim up his backyard bushes and trees!  Troy-Bilt came through for him again.

Note: Thanks to Troy-Bilt for providing these tools for me to use in my home.

- Rhoda


  1. Andrea Corley says:

    You are handy around the yard! 🙂 I love the bench just like it is in the yard. I can’t believe how fast the landscaping has grown. Yard looks great!

  2. I would also leave the bench as is, has a rustic, antique appeal that way. I’m going to have to get one of those blowers for my patio. We have a walled corner that always collects leaves.

  3. Thank you for today’s post. I too hate to deal with gas powered lawn equipment. It is heavy, usually
    hard to start and awkward for me to manipulate since I am 5’4. I am currently using tools that plug in and many many long electrical cords which is not only dangerous, but is a pain to deal with. Thank you again
    for showing such a helpful product to make my life easier! 🙂

  4. Gilda Stigliano says:

    that dad of yours holds that trimmer like a shotgun! what a hoot! I just love him!

  5. Great idea incorporating a sitting area to the one side, lets you use an area of your yard you would normally just walk by. Handy area to take a break when you are working in the yard too.
    PS- your hair looks very nice!

  6. Your yard looks nice, but it seems as if your blog posts have just turned into advertisements. With that said, I do love Troy-Built and think they put out high quality products.

  7. Anise Butler says:

    The bench would look pretty painted but I’d leave it plain for now. Did your dad use the Troy-Built tiller he received last year? Sometime it is easier for us older folks to use the old and familiar. My favorite of your make-overs is the wall you and your dad built next to your garage. That turned out so well that I notice you often use that area for your fashion pics.

    • Hi, Anise, I think he still uses his old TroyBilt tiller the most. That’s his pride and joy, although he may be able to use the new one in parts of his garden.

  8. Why don’t you paint your bench the same color as your front door? A couple of colorful pillows and it will pop!

  9. Jean Anderson says:

    I just bought a little blower for our patio because the big one was way too hard to handle. I love it. I love how your yard has turned out. They always say that the first year you put plants in they sleep, the next year they creep and the following year they leap! Your’s certainly did.

  10. Sorry but I agree with Laura- I think your postings are getting to be too much advertising for companies that you are getting perks from- just not enjoying your postings as much because of this-

    • Sallie and Laura, you are both entitled to feel the way you feel, so I am not trying to talk you out of it, but as I’ve said before, I won’t apologize for doing sponsored posts on my blog. It’s part of blogging and being able to make a living writing and putting free content on the web. After almost 10 years of blogging, this is the evolution of blogs and it’s something that I need to do. I still strive very much to only do sponsored posts that I feel are beneficial to my readers and share companies and brands that I think my readers will enjoy. I turn down many things for my blog and don’t take everything just to make a dollar. I’m particular. This time of year is the busiest as far as sponsored posts go because it’s the Holiday season. I appreciate that most of my readers understand this concept and support my blog even though I do work with brands and get perks from blogging.

  11. Donna Whisnant says:

    Great article, I definitely need that blower. What kind of bush or tree is that behind your Dad. We have one that came as a volunteer this summer beside the patio. I don’t know if I need to cut it or let it grown.

    • HI, Donna, that is a fig tree. He has 3 huge ones that were killed back 2 years ago in a heavy freeze we had. He cut them all to the ground and now they are coming back out again, so that’s how far it’s grown in a year. He’s happy they are still alive!

  12. Rhoda-the yard looks so great! I can’t believe what a difference it has made to your house. I think you are smart to hire out the lawn mowing-that is a lot of yard for one person to keep up with. This is probably my Yankee showing, but have you ever thought of using a nice, dark colored pine mulch instead of that pine straw?
    I love the bench as is-looks like it has always been there!
    My 2 cents to readers that gripe about sponsored posts: just skim through/skip the posts you can’t relate to! And continue to “dig through” and enjoy all of Rhoda’s other posts.

    • Hi, Sofia, thanks for chiming in. I love dark mulch actually, but I would need to haul in truckloads to cover my beds. When I have fresh pine straw out, it looks really good, unfortunately it doesn’t last that long. Pine straw is used down here in most people’s big islands. Thanks for your comments on sponsored posts too it’s nice to get encouragement on that.

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