- By Peter Walsh
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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: