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Lawn Care

Essential Gardening Tool Set

Garden Tool Set
Garden Tool Set

Just as it is with most hobbies, the selection of proper gardening tools are very important to a successful outcome. This is especially true in gardening. Digging, raking, pruning, watering, and numerous other tasks are much easier, provided you have the right tools for the job.

First, and foremost, get a good pair of gardening gloves. I learned the hard way, the importance of gloves. Working at home around landscape timbers I jammed a long splinter into my finger, dirt and all. Bacteria in the soil caused a nasty infection, which took a long time to clear up.

Protecting the hands is especially important here in the desert with all of our barbed and thorny plants. A thick pair of leather gloves may be hot in the summer but their the only ones that will prevent thorns from penetrating through to your hands. Quality gloves aren’t cheap, but the protection they provide is well work the expense. And for pruning jobs, a pair of safety goggles is a must for protecting the eyes from dangerous thorns projecting from stems and branches.

When considering gardening tools, compare their design, the materials they are made from, and the way they are built. All these factors affect their ease of use and how well they last. For instance, fiberglass handles are stronger than wood. This may be important if you put a lot of strain on the tool. Garden Shovel, rakes, and hoes are also stronger if the working end of the tool is riveted onto the handle.

When choosing shovels, make sure that the garden shovel is designed for the use intended. Round-point shovels are best for digging. Flat-point shovels are best for cutting and scooping. Narrow shovels are best for trenching. And scoop-type shovels are best for moving large amounts of mulch and manure. A spade shovel and long handled shovel is also very helpful for gardening. If you have only one shovel, make it one with a round-point and long hand. You can dig, cut, and move smaller amounts of soil, stone and mulch with this type. The long handled shovel is easier on the back when it comes to digging. Some shovels even have a handle end, making them easier to hold. So, make sure to to include the specific shovels in your gardening tool set.

Hand pruners and garden loppers also come in many forms. Always select a bypass type of pruning tool. These have a scissors cutting action that cleanly cuts without damaging plant tissue, providing the blade is kept sharp. Do not use anvil-type pruners. Long handled pruners act by pushing the cutting blade against a flat anvil-like surface. In the process, plant tissue is crushed, rather than cleanly cut and healing is difficult. There are also ratchet pruners, pruning scissors, pruning saw, pruning shears and specific tree pruning tools which can be very helpful for gardeners.

Gardeners should possess a long handled pruners, long handled loppers, and a folding hand saw. The garden pruners can be used to cut stems up to one-quarter inch in diameter. Long handled loppers, or long handled pruners, are used on branches up to one-half inch in diameter. And a folding hand saw will effectively cut larger limbs. Bow saws are not recommended. Their blades have a tendency to twist and turn, making precision cutting difficult.

Raking gravel and things out of gravel is a major chore here in the desert. A good quality rake can make the job much easier. I like the adjustable rakes. These have a lever on the handle that can be released to allow the tines to slide up or down. In so doing, the distance between the tines can be varied from close to far apart. You can adjust the tine spacing to accommodate the job your doing. Thin but strong, rounded tines are also much more durable than the older flat metal tine type rakes.

Because gardening is considered one of the most popular hobbies, new products are always being offered. But many tried and true tools are still the best for gardening activities. Before you make your selection, find the gardening tool set that works best for the job at hand. Compare like tools for quality, durability and ease of use. Finally, get out there and enjoy the physical and mental benefits of gardening.

The Best Garden Tool Set

Water Features for Gardens

The cooling images of reflecting pools, and refreshing sounds of splashing water provide special appeal when used in desert gardens. Even small water features for gardens, such as barrel water gardens, can provide much needed psychological relief from our intense summer heat.

For gardeners, their’s something a little to sterile about plain fountains and pools. But add plants, and a water feature becomes a new and interesting form of gardening. Add fish, and a water garden becomes a miniature biological ecosystem.

Water gardens have become increasingly popular over the past decade, so much so that supplies and plants are now widely available. Many local garden centers, fountain shops and home supply stores stock pumps, liners, and the more common water plants. Their are also an abundance of mail order sources for water garden supplies, many with Internet sites.

The easiest way to create a water garden is to make one from a lined wooden half barrel, or a lined in-ground pool. Advances made in pool construction materials make it both inexpensive and easy for the gardener to install a water garden pool. Today, most pool liners are constructed of polyethylene, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or butyl rubber. These flexible liners can be used to create almost any pond shape.

Chelsea Physic Garden
Chelsea Physic Garden

How To Choose A Riding Lawn Mower

If you have a larger garden and you would prefer to spend your weekends relaxing and enjoying your outdoor space instead of the interminable grind of pushing your mower up and down for hours on end, then consider purchasing a riding lawn mower or lawn tractor. With such choice out there, the features and accessories to decide upon may seem intimidating but ask yourself these few simple questions and you will narrow down your options to the right type of mower for the job within minutes. You’ll be sipping your iced tea on your sun lounger, admiring with satisfaction your beautifully manicured lawn before you know it.

How large is your lawn?

Over half an acre and you could go for a riding mower with a cutting width of around 25-32 inches. A large lawn tractor with its more powerful engine and wider cutting width of between 32-50 inches is more suitable for areas of one acre or more. However, there are other considerations to take into account such as whether you have any gates to get through or whether you require a high level of maneuverability.

Do you have lots of landscaping or obstacles on your lawn?

A zero turn mower turns where it stands, giving much greater maneuverability, although the steering might take a bit more getting used to. If your lawn slopes as well, an all terrain mower is better designed to cope with this and also with rougher ground.

What do you want to do with the grass clippings?

Lawn Mower
Riding Lawn Mower

Mulching your clippings is environmentally friendly. The blades chop the clippings until they are very small, eventually spraying them back onto the lawn. This avoids the need for disposal of the clippings and also acts as a compost for the lawn, removing the need for fertilizer. An alternative option is a rear collection feature for a more formal finish.

What kind of transmission do you prefer?

Most common is the manual transmission but there is also a hydro-static transmission, which is more expensive but easier to use and can give you greater torque. Less common and most expensive is electric transmission.

What accessories are right for you?

Consider this carefully as accessories can bump up the price alarmingly. These accessories can add massively usable functionality to your ride-on mower but remember you have to buy and store them when not in use. Options include:

  • Tow-behind aerators
  • Trailers
  • Leaf blowers
  • Rollers
  • Scarifiers
  • Spreaders
  • Waterers
What is your budget?

You can pay no more than around $1000 for the most basic models or more than $6,000 for top brand top of the range lawn tractors. In some cases, depending on brand and features, you could even pay up to $15,000. Consider your needs balanced with affordability before you splash the cash. A large number of riding mowers and lawn tractors come in at around the $3,000 to $4,500 mark, which seems more reasonable for the average Joe.

Other considerations

Other points you might want to think about could include where you are going to store the machinery and fueling the mower. Finally, on the subject of emissions, if you want to be environmentally friendly, go for a mower with low emissions. In fact, if you live in a place like California, only certain mowers can be used in order to comply with strict laws on levels of emissions.

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