Stroll around a substantialy large garden centre or DIY superstore in spring and you will be confronted by a huge assortment of gardening tools and equipment. You can actually be excused for thinking that the quantity of various kinds of gardening tools must have increased in recent times - 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 dedicated gardener, and Victorian catalogues offered a huge selection of different sorts of hoes, forks, spades etc.
The fundamental armoury has declined, but the average cost and complexity have greatly increased. However, there is also a sizable number of different brands of every item, this means you have to choose with great care. A widely known name on the handle can be a safeguard, however it could also mean a higher cost. With tools you usually get what you pay for (but not always), so it is wise to avoid low-priced offers of unknown source for tools that you intend to use constantly. Stainless-steel certainly looks appealing, but ordinary steel is a lot cheaper and is quite satisfactory if maintained properly.
Your first job is to determine which kind of tool or tools you propose to buy. Having the right equipment for gardening will always make the job 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 what to look for, you should 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 advertisement, but for a lot of tools it will be necessary for you to ensure that the item suits the user. With spades, forks, hoes, secateurs and so forth you should see that both the weight and balance are suitable. A spade which is 'right' for a strong youth would be quite wrong for a small elderly lady or gentleman.
For the keen landscape gardener with money to spare, probably the most difficult task will be to determine just the number of 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 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 Home Improvement contractors within the companies operating in the UK.
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