Ergonomic Tools for Home and Garden

The need for ergonomic tools is important to identify when using hand tools in the home and garden. Especially if the tools are used for extended periods of time. Finding the right tool for the task at hand will save unwanted discomfort in the future.

Examples of causes of carpal tunnel and hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) are chain saws, power tools, hand weeding, painting, pruning, improperly fitting gloves, screw divers, pressing tool into palm and using spray guns, etc.

To avoid painful carpal tunnel, the use of ergonomic tools allows hands to be in a more neutral position reducing the stress on wrists, arms and fingers. Many ergonomic hand tools have a bent handle which prevents excess bending and pressure.

Cushioned handles will add comfort, reducing strain and in general protect your hands.

Also, available are gloves designed to improve fit and hand function. This helps to eliminate pressure on the hand while wearing gloves.

Operating hand held power tools at the lowest speed necessary for performing the task and wearing anti-vibration gloves will help prevent HAVS. Power tools you may use in the home and garden are drills, saws, staplers and sanders.

Have you painted your home and garden spaces with a hand held brush to discover you keep shifting the paintbrush around to keep a comfortable grip? Paint brushes are available which are designed to reduce stress and discomfort to forearm and wist. The brushes are able to be held with the right or left hand holding positions with ease. The ergonomic brush handles are slightly curved to fit your grip with finger grooves at the base of the brush for comfort.

Ergonomic positioning is equally important as well holding the tool as recommended by the manufacturer. Adjusting straps on equipment will reduce strain on your body for any hand held equipment.

Wheelbarrows have been designed to reduce up to 45% of the impact on your body by keeping loads level as compared to conventional wheelbarrow. The weight is distributed on the front wheel reducing the load on the handles and strain on the operator especially when dealing with sloping areas.

It is necessary to find the tools that will reduce strain, add comfort, protect your hands and well as maximizing leverage.

There are a variety of companies that produce the tools, gloves and wheelbarrows designed to fit the user to the function with safety and comfort incorporated into the design.

Home and Garden Show Trends

Recent spring home and garden shows showcase the latest trends in home design and remodeling. Some of those trends include:

Going Green – Energy-efficient HVAC systems and appliancessave you money on your utility bills and can also save you money on your taxes. Homeowners doing renovation or remodeling work to their primary residence may deduct 30% of a project’s cost, up to $1,500. Many exhibitors were touting the tax benefits of geothermal heating systems, high efficiency solar panels, solar water heating systems, insulated vinyl siding, and solar ceiling fans.

Luxury Features – Homeowners may have cut back on their remodeling budgets, but some luxury items are still hot, including bigger and better hot tubs, built-in wine racks for the kitchen, and water features in and on decks. Faux finishes and murals for ceilings and walls still appeal to many consumers, but in a nod to recent green awareness, some companies now advertise the use of low VOC paints.

Recent Trends Still Popular – Year-round sunrooms remain a cost-saving remodeling option for many homeowners. Granite is still the biggest thing in kitchen countertops, although Silestone and other manufactured stone finishes remain a viable option. Glass tile is continuing to grow in popularity, and stainless steel is still the finish most consumers prefer for appliances.

Do It Yourself – The economic downturn has created a resurgent interest in do-it-yourself, especially among women. A number of booths were exhibiting ergonomic tools and tools designed specifically for women, right down to a smaller size and pink or purple handles.

Make Your Home and Garden Your Own

There are lots of articles and even “how to” videos around regarding home and garden design tips. A recurring theme is to tie the patio décor with the colors and textures of the inside of the house. Of course, you will not put a second expensive living room couch outdoors… perhaps get a rattan piece in a similar color and design for the patio. Theme lanterns that project a pattern can reflect interior décor. You get the idea.

But, what do you do with a yard that is not necessarily flat or does not fit the traditional shape and size dimensions that are in the magazines???

Give it some character. Of course, tie it to the home interior with colors, woods, and materials as much as is practical. However, creating a terrace -or a series of them- can take a nightmare yard and turn it into something exclusively yours.

Elevating and leveling areas with various materials such as wood decking, concrete, or paver stones will give your patio area a character all its own. A series of steps up to a seating area with comfortable patio furniture surrounding a fire pit is one idea. Embedding lighting on the path and steps will keep everyone safe.

A structurally sound terrace can hold an outdoor spa and a privacy wall with weather protection can hold a big screen TV and outdoor stereo system. If your spa area is already above the level of the patio or entry you can add a level in between to dry off and ease the trek back to the patio.

Your outdoor cooking area can be on its own level with your barbeque, preparation tables, and built in refrigerator grouped together for cooking ease.

Garden fountains are another way to give your outdoor environs some character. There is something calming and serene about flowing water. These are available in lots of sizes and configurations and can be installed easily. Fountains have been common garden pieces for centuries and will add a level or 2 to basic patio or garden décor.

Garden statues and sculptures are another way to set your outdoor environment apart from the others. These can be historical replicas, religious, or any style that fits with your overall plan. Outdoor lighting can add dramatic effect to both fountains and outdoor sculptures and keep folks from walking into them in the dark.

Not all of us stay in our homes forever like many of our parents did. With current economic factors a move for a job change or educational opportunity is always a possibility. Or over time the home outgrows you as the kids grow up and move away. Keeping your patio and garden area design consistent with the overall home aura will help increase its value. Too eclectic a design can take it the other way. If your prospective buyer does not share your taste, the cost of your former pride and joy removal will be included in their offer. So, make it your own-but stay with the style and feel of the rest of your property.

So, make your space your own. Have it mirror your taste and attitudes. Use ideas like terraces and lawn pieces to make your yard and patio an area that is cozy, comfortable, and the best place for family and friends to gather for summertime fun.

Preparing Your Home and Garden for Spring

As the cool winter begins to subside, everyone is looking forward to the coming of spring. Spring means lighter and warmer days. Nevertheless, you cannot fully enjoy spring if you do not prepare your home and garden for it. Preparing your home and garden for spring means a lot of work, so it is important to evaluate the work ahead in order to accomplish them in time. Start by checking the outside of your home and check out doors and windows. It is also a good idea to check out your exterior wall as well and find out if there are cracks, holes or leaks due to the cold season.

It is necessary to review your major home ventilation, hating and air-conditioning systems. Before the climate changes, make certain that filters are replaced or cleaned and the air conditioner in good condition. Clean windows, ceiling fans and clean the fireplace. Do not forget to check the emergency systems in your home such as the smoke alarms, home alarm, carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguisher and make certain they are in good working condition. Check other areas in your home as well, like the roof, clean the gutters and remove twigs, leaves and branches on the roof.

Prepare your garden for spring since winter could definitely affect it. Winter has frozen your plants, trees, destroyed plants, flowers and left your garden in a kind of mess. The first thing you should do is to find out when winter ends officially so you can begin rehabilitating your garden. Remove twigs, dry leaves and other items that could mean obstructions on your garden. Clean the entire are with a rake and prepare your garden tools. Make sure they are sharp and ready for use. Start buying bulbs, seedlings and garden decorations.

Cultivate the soil so it will be ready for new plants to be planted. Prepare your walkways and areas adjacent to your landscaping. Make sure to replace old and cracked garden hoses and remove tree limbs and debris from the sidewalks. If there is no more snow in your area, it is a good time to begin planning your spring landscaping and lawn maintenance. Pressure wash paver and concrete areas that have turned dirty during winter and power wash brick walls, vinyl siding and the vertical surfaces in your home if necessary.

By preparing your home for the spring is rewarding today and still rewarding three months from now. Remember that your home goes through many changes due to climatic changes and as it ages. Spring preparation and maintenance is good for every homeowner. Furthermore, it is more important if you plan to sell your home soon. Homebuyers want to make certain that all home systems are well-maintained and taken cared of before they purchase. If you are unsure, consider hiring a professional home inspector. A home inspection covers your home from top to bottom. So, what are you waiting for? Prepare your home now because the warmer climate is just around the corner. Time to go outdoors and enjoy the sun.