Saunter around a substantialy large garden centre or DIY superstore in spring and you are going to be confronted by a huge assortment of gardening tools and equipment. You can actually be excused for thinking that the variety of various kinds of gardening tools must 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 100 tools for the enthusiastic gardener, and Victorian catalogues offered a huge selection of different types of hoes, forks, spades etc.
The basic armoury has declined, but the average cost and complexity have greatly improved. There is also a large quantity of different brands of each item, and that means you need to choose with great care. A widely known name on the handle is certainly a safeguard, however it may also mean a higher price. With tools you usually get what you pay for (but not always), so it is wise avoiding low-priced offers of unknown origin for tools which you intend to use regularly. Stainless-steel certainly looks attractive, but ordinary steel is a lot cheaper and is quite satisfactory if looked after properly.
Your first job is to consider which kind of tool or tools you propose to buy. Obtaining the right equipment for gardening will always make the task a lot easier. For the elderly and the handicapped choosing wisely is even more important, it sometimes means the difference between having the ability to do a task or not.
Now you know what to look for, you should select an appropriate example from your supplier. By all means be guided by the maker's name, the shopkeeper's advice and the manufacturer's advertisement, but for a lot of tools it will be necessary for you to ensure the item suits the user. With spades, forks, hoes, secateurs and so forth you must see that both the weight and balance are correct. A spade which is 'right' for a powerful youth would be quite wrong for a small elderly lady or gentleman.
For the keen gardener with money to spare, by far the most difficult task is to determine just how many tools to buy. Below is a general basic list for a small garden, but the exact list that would be right for you is something that only you yourself can determine. Nonetheless, any item on the basic list below which you do not 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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