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4 Essential Garden Tools Redesigned for Your Comfort

Stylish and lightweight, these tools make gardening a bed of roses


Essential garden tool set.
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These may be the last garden hand tools you ever buy. Designed by the makers of precision knives that may be in your kitchen drawer, they come with a "forever" guarantee. Full-tang construction means the stainless steel blades run through the length of the rubberized plastic Comfort Grip handles, so they won't dislodge. Measurements on the trowel and transplanting trowel blades help you gauge depth and spacing — you can plant bulbs and seeds without reaching for a ruler. The set includes a weeder, a cultivator and the two trowels. $165 plus local sales tax; the tools are also sold separately; cutco.com. 

Arthritis-friendly garden pruner
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This bypass pruner with ratchet action makes trimming faster and easier, slicing through smaller branches of trees and shrubs rather than crushing them like an anvil pruner. Add a handle that fits the contours of your palm, no-rust coated blades sharp enough to cut a 3/4-inch branch, and an Ease of Use Commendation from the Arthritis Foundation (arthritis.org), and the result is a must-have tool for every gardener. $29.99, The Home Depot (homedepot.com). 

Stylish kneeling tool for gardening
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Let’s face it: Although weeding and planting flowers are best done on your knees, you're likely to feel it the next day. This "kneeler" from Lee Valley, a trusted retailer of gardening and household products, helps keep thoses aches to a minimum. Flip it over and the kneeling pad becomes a stool. Fold it flat and it hangs neatly on the wall of your garage or storage shed. And the handy tool holder means you don't have to reach far for your trowel or pruners. $59.50, leevalley.com. 

Ergonomic shovel
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Every gardener needs a shovel for planting trees and shrubs. The circle handle on the Radius Pro-Lite model allows you to grip it with both hands in a neutral position where you feel more comfortable as it matches the curve of your palm. The large, extended footstep lets you push the stainless steel blade into the soil with less slippage so you get more power with every thrust. At just 4.5 pounds and 46.3-inches from the tip of the stainless steel blade to the top of the handle, it’s a good all-purpose shovel for most people. $29.99, radiusgarden.com for a dealer near you.

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Gardeners: Rejoice — May is finally here. It's time to prepare your green thumb and also rethink your approach to gardening to make it more comfortable for you. 

The right equipment — tools with ergonomic and contemporary designs — can minimize pain and turn a chore into a pleasure. It will also benefit your garden: After all, you're more likely to work in the yard if your tools make the job easier.

 
Old-fashioned gardening tools were heavy, man-sized and far from user-friendly. It was one size fits all, no matter your gender or age. Thick wooden handles on shovels and rakes caused calluses and blisters that stung for days. Metal blades rusted over time and eventually needed to be replaced. Inexpensive tools were even worse: They rarely lasted longer than a season or two, and forget trying to fix them if they fell apart.
 
Fortunately, manufacturers have learned that gardeners want tools that last longer, feel better in their hands and are kinder to their bodies. Cushioned grips firmly attached to stainless steel blades are now the norm; they allow you to plant your favorite flowers or weed your garden beds without injuring your hands. The latest tools are also lighter in weight, yet super-strong: Some are made with new plastic resins that wear like iron. A simple rinse with a garden hose will keep them clean, and they resist bending and breaking, so you can count on them to perform well for many years.
 
Although there's a seemingly endless array of options, for most jobs you need just a few basic tools. This includes a versatile shovel to plant trees and shrubs, a long-handled rake to tidy up leaves and debris, sharp pruning shears to trim bushes and cut out dead wood, and smaller hand tools, like a trowel and a cultivator, to dig holes and plant flowers or loosen soil so you can pull up weeds.

When planting or weeding, you have to get close to the glory of the earth. These lighter weight, easier-to-maneuver tools make all this crouching as comfortable as possible. A thickly cushioned kneeling pad will help prevent aches and pains, especially when it comes to the knees.
 

Here are some basic tools you need to plant and maintain a gorgeous garden — all of them redesigned with your comfort in mind: 

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