Homes - Gardens

Top 10 garden tools

By
Lorraine Flanigan

Roll up your sleeves and dig in - to your garden, that is - with our guide to your top 10 essential garden tools.

Behind the doors of an ace gardener's tool shed lie the secrets to a beautiful garden. Here are 10 tools you'll need to cultivate a better garden.

1 Trowel Without a trowel, no perennials would be planted, no containers potted and no bulbs buried in the ground. The strongest trowels are made of steel and the lightest are made of cast aluminum. Handles are fashioned of wood or easy-grip plastic. Those designed with handle and blade all in one piece offer greater durability.

2 Watering can Whether for spot-watering wilting plants or fertilizing containers of annuals, a watering can is a garden essential. Generally, those with a longer spout are better balanced. Easy-care, lightweight plastic watering cans work just as well as the more attractive brass and copper ones.

3 Transplanting spade With its long, narrow blade, a transplanting spade gets into tight spots in the garden, reducing the likelihood of damage to nearby plants. It's also more suitable than traditional spades to dig holes deep enough to accommodate plant roots.

4 Fork A garden fork is indispensable for safely lifting out the roots of an established perennial, dividing overgrown plants or harvesting root vegetables. Stainless steel blades are the strongest.

5 Utility bag Sooner or later, you'll need to weed. As you move through the garden, discard weeds and garden debris into a lightweight bag or basket that's easy to pull alongside you. Collapsible pop-up styles are popular, as well as fold-down polypropylene bags.

6 Pruners Keep overgrown shrubs and trees within bounds with a good pair of secateurs or pruners. The by-pass types are better buys than the anvil pruners because they make cleaner cuts. Look for secateurs with a swivel handle – they're easier on the wrist.

7 Shears or scissors What's a garden without bouquets of flowers? Use chichi shears or scissors or pick up a dozen at the dollar store – all work just as well for cutting the stems of perennials or removing dead flowerheads.

8 Soaker hose Sprinklers water lawns – soaker hoses irrigate gardens. Placed at ground level, this perforated hose trickles water into the soil, slowly delivering moisture to the root zone – just where plants need it.

9 Wheelbarrow or garden cart Wheelbarrows make light work of trucking through the garden with heavy sacks of soil or unwieldy bags of peat moss. Whether you choose a conventional wheelbarrow, a garden cart, buggy or wagon, it's sure to take a beating in the garden so buy one of good quality.

10 Edger Place the finishing touches on your garden with an edger. This moon-shape hand tool slices into the ground to create a clean, sharp edge between flowerbeds and lawn.

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