[Baltimore Sun] 10 tips for dealing with snow in your yard and driveway

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Fresh snow is beautiful. The new-fallen flakes sparkle, and the world seems wrapped in a blanket. But for homeowners, snow brings numerous challenges for keeping houses safe, sidewalks ice-free and driveways clear.

To keep snow and ice from accumulating too much and bringing everyday life to a halt, you may need to use anything from the latest technology to simple household items.

Household items you can use on snow and ice

Some unconventional uses for common household goods are excellent at removing snow and ice. You just need to look in your cupboard or garage.

Cooking spray applied to a shovel accelerates your shoveling and prevents snow from sticking to the blade.
Cat litter applied to walkways and driveways while shoveling provides extra traction to prevent slips.
Protective tarps can be laid over walkways or protect items, collecting snow and leaving a dry, safe space underneath when lifted. Make sure you don’t let too much snow accumulate or it will be too heavy to lift. Thicker tarps last longer and hold more snow.
Rubbing alcohol-based solutions can make a homemade ice melt. Drinking alcohol, such as vodka, rum or gin, can be used on a cloth to be a de-icing agent for car windshields. This is more expensive but can be helpful in a pinch.

Make sure you have the right tools

Sometimes the best tip for dealing with snow is having the right tools and equipment at your disposal.

Snow shovels are a traditional means of moving snow from walkways and driveways, and there are ergonomic ones that are easier on your back.
Roof rakes are extended rakes that gently pull snow off of your roof and eaves, relieving the weight and pressure. They also help the snow melt, keeping ice jams from forming.
Snow blowers powerfully throw snow aside in clearing driveways and other spaces. There are gas-powered and electric blowers. Electric ones are environmentally friendly but have limited run time based on battery life.
Leaf blowers can be used to blow light, fluffy snow, so keep them nearby after the autumn leaves have been collected.

Things you can put in the yard to fight the snow

While a lot of tips focus on driveways and sidewalks, there are things you can do in your yard to keep snow away too.

Snow fences are strong barriers that keep blowing snow from forming large drifts or covering up sections of your yard that you want open. Available in a variety of sizes and thicknesses, they can protect plants or keep an outdoor area clear for your pets. If you live in area known for high winds, place your support posts closer together.
Driveway markers, inserted in the ground along the sides of your driveway, are sharp stakes in bright reflective colors to show you where the edges are when you’re snow blowing, shoveling or parking a car. They keep your buried grass protected from a car or snow blower inadvertently crossing over. You can also use them where your yard meets the road to guide snowplows away from your lawn or walkway.

What you need to help beat the snow

Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Cat Litter

Made from bentonite clay, this textured cat litter is ideal for providing traction on sidewalks and driveways when shoveling or working outside. Its hypoallergenic formula is 99.9% dust-free.

Snow Joe Shovelution Snow Shovel

The D-ring handle grips are designed for better posture and limiting your need to stoop over. The blade is 20 inches wide and has an aluminum wear strip to extend the blade’s life.

Xpose Multipurpose Poly Tarp

This tarp is 5 millimeters thick and can be used to cover items from snow or to cover walkways. Built-in grommets can be stretched with rope or bungee cords. The tarps come in multiple colors and sizes.

Ego Power+ Cordless Snow Blower

This snow blower has a push-button start and variable speed control. Its brushless motor runs on two powerful 56-volt batteries. The blower has a 21-inch swath and throws snow up to 35 feet.

Husqvarna Handheld Gas Blower

Great for more than just blowing leaves, this blower reaches speeds up to 170 mph and can easily blow light snow from walkways and driveways. The blowing tube is adjustable, and the blower has cruise control.

Pam Original No-Stick Cooking Spray

This popular cooking spray has been used for generations to keep food from sticking to pots and pans. It can also be used on your shovel to keep snow moving and prevent wet snow from sticking to the blade.

Solimo Rubbing Alcohol

This common antiseptic also works great as a de-icing agent. It is the central ingredient for homemade ice melt and can be used as is on windows and windshields.

True Temper Telescoping Roof Rake

This push-button telescoping roof rake extends to 17 feet to remove heavy snow from your roof and prevent damage. It has an easy-grip handle, is made from lightweight aluminum and stores easily.

Tenax Safety Snow Fence

This roll of heavy duty snow fencing is 100 feet long by 4 feet high. It is made from polyethylene mesh designed to stand up to wind and is rust-resistant. It can hold up to 329 pounds without breaking.

Anley Reflective Driveway Markers

These fiberglass driveway markers are 4 feet tall and have 8 inches of reflective tape for easy visibility at night. The markers are flexible and designed to bounce back if struck by a vehicle. One end is pointed for easy insertion in the ground.

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