Saunter around a sizable garden centre or DIY superstore in spring and you are going to be confronted by a large variety of gardening tools and equipment. You could possibly be excused for thinking that the variety of different types of gardening tools have to have increased lately - but you in fact you would be wrong. In a text book written over 300 years ago there is a list of well over one hundred tools for the enthusiastic gardener, and Victorian catalogues offered a huge selection of differing types of hoes, forks, spades etc.
The basic armoury has declined, but the average cost and complexity have greatly improved. There is also a sizable number of different brands of every item, which means you have to choose with great care. A well known name on the handle is certainly a safeguard, however it may also mean a larger price. With tools you nearly always get what you pay for (but not always), so it is wise to avoid low-priced offers of unknown origin for tools that you intend to use constantly. Stainless steel definitely looks appealing, but ordinary steel is much cheaper and is quite satisfactory if looked after properly.
Your first job is to decide which kind of tool or tools you propose to buy. Obtaining the right equipment for gardening will always make the task less difficult. For the elderly as well as the handicapped choosing wisely is even more important, it occasionally means the difference between having the ability to do a task or not.
Now you know very well what to watch for, you must select a suitable example from the supplier. By all means be guided by the maker's name, the shopkeeper's advice and the manufacturer's advertising campaign, but for many tools it is essential for you to make sure the item suits the user. With spades, forks, hoes, secateurs and so on you have to see that both the weight and balance are appropriate. A spade this is 'right' for a strong youth will be quite wrong for a small elderly lady or gentleman.
For the keen landscape gardener with money to spare, the most difficult task is to decide just what number of tools to buy. Below is a general basic list for a small garden, but the exact list which would be right for you is something that only you can decide. Nonetheless, any item on the basic list below which you fail to buy will undoubtedly increase the chore of gardening.
What people should buy.
Spade, Fork, Hoe, Rake, Trowel, Lawn Mower, Watering can. Plus, Secateurs if roses and/or shrubs are grown. Shears, if hedges are grown. Sprayer, if roses,vegetables and/or fruit is grown. Hose pipe, if the lawn is feature. Lawn edger, also for the lawn. Garden line, if vegetables are grown. Gloves, if prickly plants are grown. Wheelbarrow, if plants or manure have to be moved. Motor mower, if the lawn is over 70 sq. yards.
What people do buy.
Spade, Fork, Rake, Trowel, Mower, Secateurs.
Hoe, Watering can, Shears, Hose pipe, Fork, Mower.
Wheel barrow, Sprayer, Gardening gloves, Lawn edger, Sprinkler.
Power tools, Roller, Cloches, Lawn spreader, Long-handled pruner.
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I have been involved with the Do-It-Yourself and Gardening industry for over 30 years. So I think now is the time to spread the word a bit about Contractors within the companies operating in the UK.
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