Ducks 'n a Row: Five Indispensable Garden Tools – and How to Use Them

15 November 2013

Five Indispensable Garden Tools – and How to Use Them

Looking after your garden can be a full time job – particularly with the weird weather patterns we’re now experiencing. Find out how to cut down on gardening time and maximize the beauty of your outside spaces with these five indispensable tools for the gardener.

Petrol lawn mowers
Petrol lawn mowers are quick, efficient and easy to use. A small fuel tank takes regular unleaded fuel, which powers both the engine for cutting the blades and a small drive chain for the mower’s back wheels. The drive chain can be engaged and disengaged by gripping a lever, which allows the mower to power up inclines, or maintain speed on banks. Ideal for home gardening, petrol lawn mowers can be stored in a shed or garage. Expect to empty the grass hopper several times for an average sized lawn.

Leaf blowers
Leaf blowers are not just for blowing leaves. Tidy the paths and
leaf blower
ornamental spaces in your garden after a grass cut by blowing the clippings back onto the lawn. They will rot down quickly and add to the health of the soil, and your paved areas will remain clear and beautiful. 

Leaf blowers are usually two stroke – a mixture of petrol and motor oil, which you can make yourself or buy pre-mixed. Learn to blow leaves and other matter into the areas of your garden where the wind naturally drives them and you will be able to sweep them up with ease.

Hoes are used to turn soil before planting – but they are also excellent for weeding flower beds. Use a Dutch hoe to slip weeds out of the soil, root system and all, without going down on your hands and knees. You can also use a hoe to dig out the roots of larger plans and weeds, and to mix the leaves of weeded areas with fresh soil. Over time those leaves will turn into humus, adding essential nutrients into the earth.

Hedge cutters
Hedge cutters, sometimes referred to as pole saws, are twin saw blades powered by a small two stroke motor (see above for more information on two stroke fuel). The blades are mounted on the end of a pole, and controlled using a safety trigger on the engine block. They’re suitable for trimming and shaping hedges of all sizes and ages. The blades will not cut through branches, however – for thicker branch work use a chainsaw instead of a hedge cutter. You should wear ear and eye defenders while using powered cutting tools.

chain saw, lumberjackChainsaws are used to cut branches, trees, and thick hedges (see above). The saw teeth are mounted on a metal chain, which rotates around a flexible metal blade. The power and drive of modern chainsaws is controlled automatically. On older models, the drive can be altered with a screw. Chainsaws are extremely dangerous, and should only be used by people who have been trained and certified. Wear chainsaw trousers to prevent a flying blade from cutting into your leg – a chainsaw at full throttle can easily cut your leg off – plus ear defenders and protective goggles. 
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The Author is a gardener and DIY expert. He has appeared on a number of popular gardening shows, on both television and radio, and writes gardening advice columns for horticultural society home pages and entertainment home pages. His own network of gardening blogs is often viewed by more than 500,000 people in one day.

Photo Credits:
Leaf Blower by hectorir on Flickr Creative Commons
Lumberjack by dan on Freedigital Photos

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