My grandfather used to tell me: “One can recognize a  good gardener by looking at his tools”. The gardener’s tools and equipment must be chosen according to what is grown. One will not buy the same tools for a vegetable garden or for a pleasure garden, even though some accessories are multi-purpose. The size of the plot of land to cultivate is also an important selection criterion when purchasing your equipment. It is, for example, useless to buy a large riding lawn mower for a lawn that is barely the size of a handkerchief!

There are three main types of garden tools, the first of which includes a gardener’s essential instruments, namely hand tools. The second category encompasses small power tools, which really facilitate gardening work and the third one consists of large pieces of equipment that have heat engines and that are intended for large plots of land.

Hand tools

The essential garden hand tools, regardless of the type of garden you have, are the rake, the spade, the hoe, the dibble and the gardener’s line. Add a watering can, put everything in a wheelbarrow and you are ready to garden! Other small but very useful accessories are a pair of gloves and pruning shears which are a must for those who want to maintain roses, spray which is handy to moisten potted plants or seedlings, not to mention a hoe for flower beds and a branch cutter for shrubs. All of this equipment is easily bought in hardware stores and gardening. When making a purchase, check the quality of the tools and avoid taking tools that do not appear sturdy. It is better to pay a higher price to avoid unpleasant surprises. Some very low-end tools twist on first use, others will start to rust after a few days or the paint will be gone after a week of use. To last, all of these tools must be carefully maintained, that is cleaned and dried after each use before being stored in a dry place, such as a garden shed or storage room.

Heat engine equipment

Before considering the purchase of a lawn mower or tiller, you have to be sure that it will be needed. If your garden is less than 24 yd² (20 m²), the tiller is not essential. A heat engine lawnmower is suitable for a lawn over 600 yd² (500 m²), and a plot of land over 1200 yd² (1000 m²) requires the use of a tractor or riding lawn mower. As with hand tools, focus on quality, but also make sure that the material is under guarantee and that the after sales service is efficient. In any case seek advice from vendors, compare the prices and services of various stores and take advantage of special offers or discounts. In general, major brand tools are reliable and guaranteed. However, be careful in regard to unknown brands and sub brands. If you only need to use heavy equipment occasionally, leasing is a good, cheap and convenient solution.

Electrical equipment

The advantages of electrical equipment are the silence, cleanliness and light weight. The disadvantages are the lack of power (rarely above 1800 w for a lawn mower) and the electrical cord can reduce the range of use. For battery powered equipment, this disadvantage is not present however the ratio between power and battery life is often very poor. As an example the battery life of a lawn mower is about an hour. Note that the battery powered device industry is evolving. Significant progress has been made in recent years, especially in the field of batteries themselves where the improvements are the most significant. There now exist wireless lawnmowers that are almost as efficient as those that have an electrical cord. An electric lawn mower is perfect for a small lawn of less than 600 yd² (500 m²) and the resulting silence will only improve neighbourly relations! Another electrical equipment that is much appreciated by gardeners is the electric hedge trimmer, which is suitable for small hedges.

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Published in Gardening equipment by Alexander on 06 Sep 2011