Backyarding is the new trend that emerged during the pandemic and it’s here to stay. Our backyards are where we eat, work, play, relax and socialize, and the green spaces around our homes have proven to be vibrant places for connection and vital to maintaining mental health.

More than three quarters of Americans who have a yard (76 percent) say the family yard is one of the most important parts of their home, according to a new poll commissioned by the TurfMutt Foundation and conducted online by The Harris Poll. 

“Take some time to plan out your yard with your family. Once you know the purpose you want it to serve, it’s time to start working with it,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the TurfMutt Foundation and its parent organization the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). “A well-cared for lawn and landscape provides the canvas for a year-round backyarding lifestyle. You’ll want to get out there with your outdoor power equipment, like your lawn mower and trimmers, as soon as spring arrives, and you want to do it safely.” 

Kiser offered the following tips to get lawn equipment ready for spring:

•   Refresh your knowledge. Read your equipment owner’s manuals and follow all manufacturer’s guidelines. If you find a manual online, save a digital copy for future reference.

•  Look over equipment. Check the air filter, oil level and gasoline tank. Watch for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Replace any parts needed or take your equipment to a qualified service representative. Check you have the appropriate batteries.

•  Drain fuel tanks. If you didn’t empty the gasoline tank before storing equipment, drain it now. Fuel should never sit in outdoor power equipment for more than 30 days. Untreated gasoline (without a fuel stabilizer) will deteriorate, which may cause starting or running problems or damage the fuel system.

•  Protect your power. Use only E10 or less fuel in gasoline-powered outdoor power equipment. Most manufacturers recommend a fuel stabilizer be used, especially if you don’t use up all the fuel in the tank right away. Any fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol can damage small engine equipment not designed for it.

•  Store fuel safely. Label fuel cans with the date of purchase and ethanol content of the fuel. If you don’t know the date of purchase, dispose it safely  and buy fresh gasoline. Always store fuel out of the reach of children or pets and in approved containers.

•  Don’t mix up your battery packs. For battery-powered equipment, use only the charger specified by the manufacturer. A charger that is suitable for one type of battery pack may create a risk of fire when used with another. Follow all charging instructions and do not charge the battery pack or tool outside the temperature range specified in the instructions.

•  Stash batteries safely. When the battery pack is not in use, keep it away from other metal objects, like paper clips, coins, keys, nails, screws or other small metal objects, that can make a connection from one terminal to another. Shorting the battery terminals together may cause burns or a fire.

•   Tidy up. Clean equipment will run more efficiently and last longer. Clean equipment and store it in a dry place. Remove dirt, oil or grass. Never store equipment in a place that is damp or wet.

For further information on safe fueling, go to www.LookBeforeYouPump.com

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