There are a zillion different garden tools available on the market, but they often fall short of our expectations. I think most of us eventually discover what works best for us personally, and those few tools become precious possessions. Whether one tool works for you or another has a great deal to do with your physical size and strength. Unfortunately manufacturers still produce most tools for much larger and stronger persons than am I. As a small framed older gardener, I require light tools that are easy to handle, otherwise I spend half my energy just heaving the tools around.
I now use the same 5 tools consistently. I’ve learned to buy quality for those tools far outlast their cheap cousins and as well do the job properly along the way. A well built tool taken care of will last you a very long time, if not almost forever. The following is a list of my favorite gardening tools.
I use Felco bypass pruners #6. These are made for smaller hands, perfect for women. They cut cleanly and smoothly using blades of top quality steel. With these pruners I am able to cut through branches up to 3/4 inch round with relative ease. With a sharp clean cut I reduce the chance of pest and disease problems. Another advantage is the springs and blades are replaceable at a fraction of the cost of replacing a complete new pruner.
Japanese Hedge Shears are amazing. Since they are so light, I can work with them for hours and use them for cutting down perennials, ornamental grasses and trimming and shaping evergreens and shrubs. The blades are heat treated high-carbon steel and are also replaceable. Amazingly strong yet so easy to handle.
It’s hard to beat a small Loop Hoe. Great for tight areas around plants. This hoe is only 3 inches wide so you can always see where your blade is. The thin blade slices through soil with minimum effort and stays sharp. Because you use this hoe in a near vertical position it is very easy on your back, while you use a motion similar to sweeping. I would never be able to weed my large property without his tool. Again this tool is extremely light to handle.
My adjustable fan rake is very light weight as it is made of aluminum. I can easily adjust the size of the fan to suit my task. This rake is delicate enough to rake amongst perennials and strong enough for raking grass and leaves.
These are very light weight and easy to use yet very strong. I use them for everything from dead heading to cutting stems, cutting chord, light pruning of everything even small shrubs. I usually make these snips do things they are not supposed to do but they hold up very well considering how I abuse them. They are very inexpensive and I admit to destroying at least one pair each year. Working with a scissor action, they are extremely light and easy on the wrists.
Almost forget to mention my best tool of all, my Hammock. Strung securely between two large trees it never disappoints me at the end of a hard gardening day, or any other day for that matter.