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The Backyard Swiss Army Knife

Mar 09, 2016 03:37AM ● Published by Family Features

Many people don’t know the multi-tasking capabilities of their riding lawn mowers and compact utility tractors. With the right implements, these machines can be true workhorses for projects big and small.

Your weekend to-do list may be long, but with the proper tools you can have your outdoor spaces ready for plenty of leisurely living in no time. Here are just a few projects your mower or utility tractor can perform this season:

Feed the green, keep things clean

Freshen up garden beds
After a long winter, chances are good your landscaping needs refreshing, and a fresh till and a new layer of mulch can make a major difference. Hitch up a rotary tiller to thoroughly incorporate compost and loosen up the soil. Look for implements, like those from John Deere that have iMatch technology and allow you to easily change from one tool to the next.

Whether you buy your mulch by the bag or the truck load, haul or spread it around your property with the help of a front-end loader implement for your tractor, or attach a utility cart to your riding lawn mower to transport large loads.

Create a new landscape
A front-end loader implement can help transplant trees or shrubs with large root bases. The implement’s strong arms can also be essential for placing ornamental rocks and boulders. And for that split-rail or other fencing project, a post-hole digger attached to your tractor can speed the job.

For bigger digging jobs, a backhoe attachment can help with excavating a small pond or water feature or installing drainage systems and utility lines. It can also be a great time- and back-saver when digging out stumps.

Grade your driveway
Winter ice, snow and heavy spring rains may have damaged your driveway, but grading gravel to smooth it or extending the space to fit more visitors will make your drive ready and accessible for warm-weather traffic. Use a rear blade or box scraper attachment to distribute, smooth and level existing or fresh gravel for a clear path. Remember that when winter weather rolls back around, the blade can serve double duty to clear the way when snow falls.

Mow like a pro
When using some implements and attachments, you have to remove the mower deck on your tractor. To avoid the cumbersome task of removing and reattaching the deck, look for models with simple solutions like John Deere’s AutoConnect mid-mount mower deck. The technology, available on 1 Family Sub-Compact Tractors and Signature Series lawn tractor mowers, lets you drive on and off the mower deck without the need for tools or elbow grease, making it easy to do more work, with less work.

Find more tips to help use your utility tractors and riding lawn equipment to their fullest potential at

Sponsored by John Deere

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