Snow shoveling isn’t fun, but it’s often unavoidable. It’s not a great idea to even let the most meager snowfall to go unshoveled in your driveway because it will later melt and refreeze. The resulting sheet of ice becomes a slipping hazard. And while, yes, you can apply ice-melt products to it after the fact it’s always best to let the pros handle this for you! Call Paradise Landscape & Hardscape for all of your snow removal needs. In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you out:
1. Snow Shoveling Preparations: Safety, Comfort, Efficiency
As for any yard maintenance job, priority #1 in snow shoveling is safety, followed closely by comfort and efficiency. Consider doing the following before you even step outside:
- Stretch your muscles to prevent injury
- Dress in layers to stay warm
- Take breaks: Continuous snow shoveling can be hazardous to the health of those in not-such-great shape
- “Wax” your shovel blade to make it slippery, thereby preventing snow from sticking to it.
2. Staying Safe
Once you step outside and start wielding your shovel, remember the following:
- Bend your knees and lift with your legs
- As you lift the snow, keep the shovel blade close to you, to reduce back strain
- Switch off between snow shoveling right-handed and left-handed, so that you’re working different muscles
- Change your grip on the hand holding the bar
- When the snowfall is heavy (1 foot in depth, let’s say), don’t try to clean right down to the ground with a single scoop. Instead, skim the top 6 inches off, then scoop up the bottom 6 inches. Otherwise, you could be hurting yourself by lifting too much.
3. Snow Shoveling Tip for Those Who Park in the Driveway
Save yourself some time and trouble by clearing a path to the driver’s door of your car first. Once inside, start your car and turn on the defrosting mechanisms (front and back). Crank the heat full-blast, even though only cold air will come out initially (it will have a chance to warm up while you’re snow shoveling). By defrosting your windows, you make it easier to clear snow (and ice) off them. By clearing a path to your car first, you avoid trampling down snow on the way. Trampled snow has to be removed later, anyway, and it’s tougher to remove than unpacked snow.
4. Have a Plan Before You Start Snow Shoveling
Leave 2 areas for last:
Don’t shovel the snow around the car just yet. More snow will accumulate there when you clean the car, so you might as well wait till then to clean up around the perimeter of the car.
Hold off on snow shoveling (with any degree of thoroughness) where your driveway meets the street. As plows go by, they’ll be barricading that area with more snow. Save this area till you’re ready to pull out with your car (or till after you’ve rested up).
5. Snow Shoveling the Same Material Twice Doesn’t Make Sense
When you’re snow shoveling, don’t create huge piles right along the edge of your driveway. For one thing, some of the chunks will end up tumbling down back into your driveway, meaning you have to remove them twice. Instead, heave each shovel-full a decent distance away from your driveway. Before you start making piles, take into account what areas should be left open. For example, don’t dump the white stuff in front of the door of an outbuilding, especially if you plan on clearing a path to it later (why move the same material twice?)
6. What to Ponder While You’re Snow Shoveling
As you’re wielding your shovel around, do you find that some shrubs you’ve planted are in your way? If a shrub you’ve planted close to the driveway becomes a nuisance in winter when you’re snow shoveling, now’s the time to make a note to transplant it in spring.
Likewise, what better time to size up your winter landscape than during the mindless task of snow shoveling? Do you have enough evergreen shrubs in your yard to create winter interest? Call Paradise Landscape & Hardscape!
7. Snow Shoveling Tip: The Icy “Mulch”?
Since snow is a great insulator (sort of a “mulch,” if you will), why not direct some of your tosses into a planting bed?
- Keep your tosses low: Shrub branches brittle with the winter cold can easily snap off
- Keep the snow from nearest the road away from your plants: It may be laden with road salt
Some plants are more salt-tolerant than others, but there’s no sense in taking a chance.
8. Don’t Forget Your Shrubs While Snow Shoveling
While on the subject of plants, keep an eye out for shrub branches that are groaning under the burden of excessive snow. To prevent such branches from snapping, gently brush the snow off them.
9. Create a Windbreak When Snow Shoveling
Along the same lines, a big snowfall can be turned into a nice windbreak, if you aim your tosses properly. This windbreak does double-duty, since it also protects some shrubs on the house-side of the fence from wind damage.
10. Would It Be Better to Use a Snowblower?
The best solution is to call Paradise Landscape & Hardscape and consider the following objections:
- You may not receive enough snowfall in your area to warrant the investment
- Likewise, if you have a small driveway, a snowblower may not be worth the bother
- Snowblowers take up storage space year-round
- Snowblowers are noisy and require maintenance and fuel