Home ownership has long been the American Dream. But being master of your own abode also means you can't call the super when something needs fi. Sometimes, you gotta roll up your sleeves and tackle the repair yourself. Fortunately, the homeowner's tool box has gotten exciting, with manufacturers offering capable tools that were previously too costly for the non-professional's arsenal. Here are some common home improvement situations you'll likely come across, plus a few key tools to have on hand. Landscaping and Yard Work The good news is that you don't need different tools for light landscaping. A reciprocating saw can be used to cut branches a few inches in diameter, and cordless console like the Ridgid X4 will take you to the end of your yard and back unplugged. Take down encroaching branches, cut bushes at their base, or trim errant saplings. (Don't forget eye protection.) The reciprocating saw will be much safer and easier to maintain than a chainsaw. Hanging Window Treatments, Shelving, and ArtThese tasks require some of the classics, like a good tape measure and a level. You might use a hammer for simple hangings, but more likely you'll want a drill or driver. Hanging on masonry, like a brick wall, requires something more than a standard drill, but since you don't always need the hammering action, the cordless Ridgid GEN5X Hammer Drill/Driver and Impact Driver combo kit will cover your bases. The hammer drill has a selector for driving (driving screws), drilling (making holes), and hammer drilling. Its bundled impact driver has the added benefit of driving screws quickly and efficiently with less chance of stripping them than a regular drill/driver. 1. First, mark your fastener locations on the wall. (Use a level to make sure holes are properly aligned.) For your fasteners, grab some wall anchors, like sleeve anchors. Pre-drill holes to fit these anchors.2. Load a masonry drill bit into your hammer drill. These drill bits are specifically designed for the tough task of drilling concrete and similar surfaces. Drill holes deep enough to hold the wall anchors, but not so deep that you damage anything on the other side. Always wear eye protection when drilling, and a respirator or face mask is also a good idea.3. Slide the wall anchors into the holes. Place screws through your shelf brackets and thread the screws into the anchors. (A hand screwdriver should work fine.) Fi Drawers The day will come when you encounter drawers that are worn out, whether it's kitchen drawers, roll-out shelves, a garbage pullout, or furniture drawers. The culprit is often the drawer slides, which is the track system for the drawer. If they are broken or just low quality, you can buy new slides and install them yourself. Use this as an opportunity to upgrade to soft-close drawers.1. Remove the drawer and measure the existing slides to figure out what size you need. Drawer slides can be side mount, center mount, or undermount slides. (It is easiest to replace with the same type that is currently installed.) If using side-mount or undermount slides, you will need two slides, one for the left and one for the right.2. Each drawer slide has two main components—a track that gets attached to the inside of the cabinet, and an extender that gets attached to the drawer and slides along the track. Use your driver to unscrew the existing slides from both the drawer and the cabinet.3. Mark the fastener locations for the new slides, both in the cabinet and on the drawer. Make sure all your slides are aligned. It will save you from the agony of a crooked drawer.4. Use your driver and screw the slides onto the cabinet interior and onto the drawer. If everything is aligned, the drawer should fit into the new track without a problem.Patching DrywallThis relatively simple task goes a long way to restoring a home's aesthetic. The process for repairing drywall depends on the size of the hole, but for all the patching methods, a taping knife or joint knife is a good tool to have.Small holes and scrapes can be filled in with spackle, which will dry relatively quickly. Use a taping knife to spread the spackle flat. Once dry, sand it down so that it's smooth and even with the rest of the wall.For fist-sized holes, buy a patch kit that includes a mesh screen. Position over the hole, using the screen's adhesive sides to secure it. Use the taping knife to spread joint compound over the screen. Sand the area once the compound dries.With large holes, you'll need to cut out the damaged portion of the wall and replace it with a fresh piece of drywall.1. A drywall knife can be used to cut the wall, but if you are cutting a larger section, you may want to use a reciprocating saw. Make rectangular cuts so the new insert is easy to size and fit into position. 2. After cutting out the damaged portion, attach some wood on the inside of the opening in the wall. Pieces of wood cut into 1x3" pieces work well for this. Cut them so that there's a few inches of length above and below the opening. Space the wood 12" to 16" apart for holes wider than 12". (For smaller holes, a single piece in the center or pieces on the left and right sides of the opening should be sufficient.)3. Position the wood on the backside of the opening, and secure it by screwing in through the drywall a few inches above and below the opening. 4. Cut the new drywall insert to fit in the opening, and screw it into the wood. Cover the outline of the opening with joint tape (a type of mesh tape). It will add strength along the edges and help prevent cracking. Then, cover the new insert and the joint taped edges with joint compound. Replacing Deck BoardsSome warping or rot in older deck boards is common. But instead of replacing the entire thing, it's more economical to replace only the bad section. Power saws will make this task easier. 1. First, mark the locations of your cuts to remove bad section of wood. Make sure you are removing a section of board that spans at least two floor joists (the parallel beams upon which the decking rests). The rows of nails that attach the deck boards to the joists provide a good indication of where the joists lie. Cut just inside of the joists so as not to cut into the joist itself.2. Drill a large-diameter hole to create a starting point for your reciprocating saw. Use saw to cut out the bad section.3. Remove nails (with a nail puller) or screws (using your driver) holding the bad section of board to the joists. Pull up the bad section of decking.4. Create extensions of the joists at either end of the cut out section to support the new deck board. You can use the same piece of wood as the new deck board and cut two 4-5" sections. For each extender, position it vertically next to the existing joist and flush with its top. Then screw it into the joist securely. The new deck board will lie on top of these extenders.5. Cut the new deck board to the correct length and lie it in the open slot. Attach it to each joist (or extender) with two nails or deck screws. Paint or finish the new board as desired to match the existing deck.For optimal safety, consult an expert before attempting home repairs involving power tools.