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There comes a time in every girl’s life when she’s built a whole bunch of stuff in her yard in a single summer. And that’s when she gets sick and tired of using broken tools that need an extension cord. So, I ditched them — and I’m sharing that with you today.
Ok, so I guess a lot of that applies to just me. But still. For a long time around this house, I haven’t needed to use outdoor landscaping equipment like I do lately. Let’s take a trip down memory lane to paint the full picture.
This post is sponsored by STIHL. For more on how I partner with brands, see my disclosure page.
A look back (2012 – 2018)
If you recall, things started out as an overgrown mess (that I basically ignored)…
And then, I put a whole bunch of things in the way to make the back yard a lot more fun to be in. Like the corner garden. And the fire pit. And as of this summer, the shed, the vegetable garden, and the deck.
The only downside? I can’t just let the yard grow and then run it all down with the mower anymore. Things have corners. Things stick out of the ground. I built obstacles.
A Need for A New Landscaping Tools
My yard has grown up a little, and for that, I needed to tackle it with more tools. I say that because this was basically an excellent excuse to switch to the new battery-powered system from this year’s partnership with STIHL (you guys might remember that I recently also reviewed their battery-powered chainsaw). And bonus: they are all going to look really nifty inside of the new shed when they’re all mounted on its walls!
(Check out Charlie in the background… I know how out-of-focus this photo is, but I couldn’t not use it when I saw that!)
Battery-powered outdoor tools versus corded
The old tools I had were largely corded, which meant lugging them around the yard and being mindful of not accidentally catching the extension cord in the blade (which definitely happened when I first moved in — a quick way to ruin your day and your tool investment).
Further, many of them were used and/or refurbished. It was all I could budget for at the time (and certainly better than hand tools if you have a yard my size), but it added another layer of annoying quirkiness at times (super cheap, lots of extra batteries and cords to keep track of because it was all mix and match, one particular handle constantly slipping off, etc.).
STIHL Lightning Battery System – Review
With those little frustrations out of the way, you can imagine the pleasant upgrade I experienced with STIHL’s new line.
- The Lightning Battery System is a familiar setup, in that most of the batteries can be easily swapped from tool to tool. That means that I can usually take the blower, clear all the pine straw off the deck, and then pop the same battery into the hedge trimmer to prune shrubs.
- The batteries have enough juice for me to tackle just about everything I need in one swoop (even in swapping from one tool to the next), so I can take care of things like the gardenias, the holly along the front of the house, the camellias, etc. in one go. I’m usually not in the mood to do more yard work than I initially planned, so it makes a difference when I can tackle a number of completely separate areas without looking for a power source.
- The battery has a nice little indicator to know how much left of a charge you have; just push on the button and it will light up. Now that I have this feature, I use it a lot as a way to “keep going until the battery runs out / I’ve still got half a charge.”
Here’s why this is a game-changer for me: I’m a card-carrying, lifetime member or the Lazy Landscaping Club. I hate dragging out a bunch of things when I work on the yard and wrapping up extension cords. I’m also as disorganized as they come (working on it, but I know myself!), so any kind of frustration between picking up the tool and finishing the task is a huge motivation killer. In that scenario, the end result was always a half-done yard — scraggly at best, embarrassing when I had company coming over, and never seemed to look polished. When you’ve worked as hard as I have to build up my yard, seeing the landscaping fall short because of self-sabotage just sucks.
With the new system, I have the solution ready to go. The smoother I can transition from one tool to the next, the less likely I’ll quit somewhere in the middle or procrastinate. In fact, knowing that I had these tools at my disposal and fewer obstacles to keep the yard in check is one of the reasons I was motivated to build more this summer. I knew the cleanup wouldn’t fall too far by the wayside despite everything else we have going on.
I know I almost always find a negative or two when I review something, but I have been using these all summer and haven’t really found anything to complain about yet. They freak Charlie out a little, but Stella doesn’t bat an eye. The blower in particular is my favorite because it is WAY faster than sweeping the deck. Despite getting rid of most of my pine trees, pine straw still gathers all over the deck from the neighbors, so I actually enjoy whipping this thing out for a minute or two to get rid of it.
It’s nice when things are more well-suited for how you do things, right? For that, I’m really grateful that STIHL sent these my way to try out. Definitely recommend! Have you found any tools that made a huge difference in how you use to do things?