Tackling the outdoors with Ryobi

I received a free Ryobi 40V Blower from Ryobi and a trip to Ryobi headquarters in exchange for writing a review.  

For the first five years of our marriage, Nicholas and I didn't have a yard - at least not one we had to maintain. So, when we left our 3rd floor walk up in D.C. for the landscaped wonderland of Paducah, we had some learning to do. 

We also had a big but UGLY backyard (front yard is another story for another day). Seriously. This is what it looked like.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a cinderblock planter. Eat your heart out.

I knew enough to know I needed help. One of our former neighbors in D.C. is a GENIUS landscape designer and she helped us design the most amazing concrete deck that worked with what we already had. 

That's how we got to this!

Now we had an awesome deck (and no more cinderblock planter!) and a whole lot of mulch but not much else! For a couple of years, we attempted to landscape on our own without much success. A few ferns here. A hydrangea-I-almost-killed there. Not much else.

Then, an INSANELY generous family friend came and landscaped our yard WHILE WE WERE ON VACATION. Seriously, we left for the beach and it was like HGTV came while we were gone and transformed the entire space! If I'm being honest, I still really can't believe it.

Seriously! Have you ever?!?

As luck would have it, a few short weeks later I went to Chicago for BlogHer and met the delightful team from Ryobi. I was already familiar with the brand because I had seen their one-battery-fits-all display at Home Depot and had exclaimed OUT LOUD "That is awesome!"

I told them my story and told them I was inspired (and duty-bound!) to take good care of my new yard but I didn't really know where to start. They took pity on me and said they'd be in touch.

In March, they invited me to "Ryobi University" at their headquarters in South Carolina. For two whirlwind days, I joined a bunch of other bloggers in touring their headquarters (I even got to see my first 3D printer!) and learning all about their products. Newsflash: Playing with power tools is fun!

I really fell in love with the 40V line because you know what? If 18V is good, 40V is better! When Ryobi asked which tool we wanted to try out first, we went with the 40V blower and here's why.

The first lesson I've learned in yard maintenance is THE TREES ARE AGAINST US and we have A LOT of them. We have trees that drop leaves in the spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Don't believe me? Take a gander at the magnolia circa last week.


GAH! See why we went with the blower!?!

And let me tell you. This beauty doesn't disappoint. It's got a serious power to clean up the yard but a variable speed trigger so I can slow it down to blow out the garage which collects leaves like they are Beanie Babies and it's 1997.

So, we're on our way. We can keep our beautifully landscaped beds clean and prevent our yard from being overrun with leaves. 

Next up? Going beyond mowing...