No matter how ‘natural’ you want your garden to appear, it is an artificial environment. We manipulate growing conditions and select a range of plants that are rarely native to that environment, encourage their growth and discourage other plants.
. For this, we have some tools available to make this work easier. Even a ‘digging stick’ used by small scale societies makes cultivation a lot easier than using bare hands! To keep a garden of any size requires a routine commitment to lawn mowing, occasional pruning, raking and cultivation. For this, we need tools.
A tool for every job would be ideal but unnecessary but having the correct tool makes the job easier, faster and produces a better result. It is always cheapest in the long run to buy the best tools you can afford and if your budget does not allow for much, look for good, secondhand tools. For many reasons, good tools appear at auctions, car boot and garage sales and you can give them a second life. Well made tools, in themselves, are satisfying to use.
Well organised safe storage is a must
Basic tools, like spades, forks, hoes and rakes are absolutely necessary but others can be acquired according to individual necessity. A wheel barrow and mower will be unnecessary in an urban patio garden but essential in a large suburban plot. At some time or other you will need to control plant growth, so secateurs will be needed, followed by loppers and a pruning saw when you want to be more assertive. If you buy in all your plants, trays and dibbers are not necessary. You need to assess your immediate needs and make your first choices with care. Think about how much work the tools are needed to do before investing. Pruning a few roses every year does not warrant heavy duty, trade quality secateurs when a lighter pair will do the job.
Hand tools have not changed for hundreds of years. Most garden tools are based on ancient designs varied by locality and materials available. The most recent innovations have been the application of motors, examples are line trimmers, shredders as well as mowers. They certainly make work a lot easier and allow us to take on much more work than we could do in the past, without the help of a jobbing gardener. The areas of lawn we have now would not be possible to maintain single-handedly without the help of motor mowers. In many instances, modern gardens would be impossible to maintain without the help of powered tools.
Well maintained tools perform well and last longer. Always clean after use, protect by wiping with an oily rag and sharpen from time to time. If a tool is needed infrequently, especially the case with powered tools, think about hiring. Remember that large tools are expensive and take up room.