20 Mar Make Life Easier! Our pick of gardening tools and gadgets
Gardening is one of the most rewarding hobbies I know and I consider myself priviliged to earn my living as a landscape gardener. But gardening can be hard work. Here is my pick of tools and gadgets to make gardening easier.
In the world of landscape gardening, new, labour-saving inventions come onto the market every single year. I try to make a point of visiting trade shows to see what’s new. Commercial landscaping equipment is expensive and tends to be quite niche. These gardening tools and gadgets are widely available and can be used in domestic gardens as well as by landscape gardeners.
Automatic watering – a gardening gadget that means I can have a weekend away sometimes
Even though I work in gardens all week long, I still love my own. That doesn’t mean I want to forgo summertime days out and holidays in order to be home every evening to water the plants.
This solar powered irrigator available from Harrod Horticultural attaches to a water butt (very eco-friendly). With one of these installed I’ll be able to build sandcastles long into the evening and not worry about the garden.
Speedy lawn edger
Have you ever noticed that when the edges of a lawn get a bit raggedy, the whole garden looks a bit unkempt? Ideally, lawn edges should be trimmed at least once a week in spring and early summer. But there’s no denying, it can be a tedious job.
I love the look of the lawn edger from wolf-garten tools. Simply position it and push. It has a nice long handle so shouldn’t be back breaking to use.The nice thing about wolf-garten is that you only need to buy one handle and then you can fit different tools onto it. There are some handy patio weeding tools available on this website too. I won’t need my garden kneeler to use these!
Garden Trolley As Recommended by a friend
I’ve not got one of these – yet – but I’m tempted! A friend of mine has a large (ish) garden in which she has chickens, bees, and a polytunnel. She uses her garden trolley to transport chicken food, beehive bits, plants, tools – oh everything around the garden. She tells me it’s easier to handle than a wheelbarrow and surprisingly roomy. Which means fewer trips to and from the shed (and less wear and tear on the lawn).
Apparently it also doubles up for transporting her toddler granddaughter to the village shop when there’s no pushchair available.
Digital Weather Station
As a landscape gardener my whole life revolves around the weather. None of my team really mind working outdoors in the cold or the rain, but to get the best possible results some tasks are best done when the weather is on our side. Of all the garden tools and gadgets available to buy, this is at the top of my wish list.
With a weather station that not only records weather patterns but gives a local forecast for the next few days I can plan ahead. I can start laying slabs when the cement is most likely to dry at the right speed and I can plan turfing jobs for when conditions are best for soil preparation.
How about a robotic lawnmower?
I do think it’s sad when homeowners install artificial turf because they don’t have time to mow the lawn. (It’s even more sad if they install it badly – but that’s a whole other subject!). Artificial turf has it’s uses but nonetheless I do love a good lawn. Natural grass has so many environmental benefits an oh!- the smell of new mown grass!
With a robotic lawnmower, there are fewer excuses for not having a real lawn.
These little gadgets have been around for some time now and by all accounts they’re rather good. Some can be operated via an app on a smart phone which is great for when you’re away from home.
Coloured lighting with smartphone control
I am passionate about garden lighting. Passionate. Good lighting can set the mood for al fresco dining, it can accentuate specific features and completely change the way a garden looks and is used after dark. Not to mention the security aspect of outdoor lighting.
Things have progressed fast in the world of outdoor lighting. It’s far more versatile and creative now than it’s ever been and I just love finding out about new innovations. As part of a recent garden build, we installed colour change lights that could be controlled from a smartphone app. Needless to say the homeowners 9 year old Son had a whale of a time experimenting with different light effects.
It’s always best to seek professional advice when installing garden lighting. Rain and electricity are not friends and you can easily get in a big muddle. To really get the best lighting effects, talk to a garden designer. Katie at Tapestry Design Studios knows just how to play with lighting and shadows to create just the ambience you want.
This particular gadget came to mind only the other day when I was discussing wildflower meadow management with a client. Wildflower areas need to be trimmed back annually. There’s usually too much vegetation for a lawnmower to tackle and often the area is too big to cut with shears. A cordless hedge trimmer (particularly if you can find a long handled one) does the job admirably provided the vegetation is not too sappy.
Cordless, or battery powered tools are becoming very popular with landscape professionals. Any machine driven by a petrol or a 2-stroke engine tends to vibrate. Prolonged use of vibrating tools can lead to a nasty condition called vibration white-finger which affects the muscles, nerves and blood vessels in hands and arms.
So whilst I have to remember to charge the batteries for cordless tools, I’m actually quite taken with them. I also really like the idea of NOT having to carry hedgetrimmer, strimmer or mower fuel with me in the van.
That’s my roundup for now. I am a gadget lover, I do like new things and I could probably write another 4 pages on them. But time is fleeting and I must get on. What I want to know though is – what are your favourite labour saving tools and gadgets?
Great gifts for gardeners (I know it’s not Christmas any more and this is a Christmassy blog – but Gardeners still like receiving gifts don’t they?)