How to Safely Shovel Snow in Your Landscaping
While it may not be your absolute favorite outdoor activity for the winter, shoveling the snow in your driveway and landscaping is a very important part of the season.
We are going to be sharing some of our top tips and tricks for ensuring that you are safe while shoveling your property, as well as ways to make it easier on yourself.
First, let’s talk about how you should prepare yourself for shoveling snow.
How to Prepare for Shoveling Snow
To avoid injuries while shoveling, or becoming too cold from being outside, we recommend taking a few steps before you actually start the process.
First you will want to warm up. This means completing some small stretches with your arms and legs, or even walking in place for a minute or two. Doing this will help you avoid any strain while shoveling heavy amounts of snow, and should prevent you from pulling your muscles unnecessarily.
While shoveling, try and push the snow with your shovel instead of lifting it straight away. This will also help reduce stress and strain on your body. Also make sure that you bend your knees and use your legs when you can.
If you are still in the market for a new shovel, make sure you choose one that is well-built and will help you reduce the bending you do. Here is a fantastic list of shovels if you are unsure where to start.
For those of you who are concerned about lifting too much weight, consider finding a plastic shovel over using one made entirely of metal. This will make it much easier to complete the task without needing to shovel less snow.
Take breaks frequently, especially if you are dealing with wet snow. Consider setting a stopwatch for 20-30 minutes so you don’t forget to pace yourself. You could also complete the task in shifts throughout the day, so it isn’t one huge project.
If you can, try to shovel the snow quickly after it hits the ground. The longer you wait after a snowfall, the harder it will be to pick up later. Wet snow is much heavier and will cause a lot more strain on your shovel and body.
Either bring water with you to drink outside, or use your break every 20-30 minutes to go inside and drink water. This is a strenuous activity, and staying hydrated is vitally important.
Lastly, consider dressing in several warm layers when you go out to shovel snow. This will help you stay warm of course, but it will help you from getting overheated as well. As you keep shoveling and get warmer, you can remove layers as needed.
Make a Plan for Shoveling the Snow
Before you go outside to shovel, try and have a clear idea of what you are handling first, and the order that your yard/driveway/shrubs are getting cleared.
Depending on when you need to leave the house, your driveway is probably going to be a top priority. However, if you live on a busy street and are still waiting for snowplows to take care of the road, you may want to hold off on shoveling the area where the driveway meets the street. Otherwise you may have to do it over again after the road is plowed.
If you are in the middle of a snowstorm, try to plan some time to do a preliminary sweep of your yard and driveway, and then shovel again once the storm has cleared.
The snow that you shovel has to go somewhere. Make sure you aren’t piling it somewhere that will need to be cleared later, otherwise you are setting yourself up for twice as much work.
Shoveling Around Your Shrubs
If you are shoveling around your shrubs and bushes, be extra careful of the ground you are working with. There may be branches that are being held down under the weight of extra snow, or roots close to the surface to avoid.
Gently shovel the area and look out for plants hiding under the snow before tackling the whole area. Also try to (very carefully) brush the snow off the branches of your bushes to avoid extra strain. This will stop unnecessary plant damage and help you avoid some headaches when it comes to your landscaping.
Should You Use a Shovel or a Snow Blower?
So if you have the option between a shovel and a snow blower, which one should you use for the brunt of the work?
It is really going to depend on how much snow your area receives each year, and how big the area is that needs the removal. If you have a fairly small yard and driveway, and don’t get a lot of snow each year, it’s really not going to be worth it for you to buy a snow plow.
However, if you do receive quite a bit of snow and have an enormous area to deal with, it may be worth the investment. Keep in mind that they are fairly expensive and do require fuel as well. Also, even with a snow blower, you will probably still need to touch up your yard with a shovel too.
Whether you get 2 or 20 inches of snow this year, we hope shoveling it is a safe and satisfying experience. It is definitely a vital part of keeping your landscaping looking good and healthy.
What is your favorite way to remove snow around your landscaping?