Right tools can ease yard work

If you are working in your landscape and it's easy, you're doing it wrong.

Luckily, there are ways of doing things in your landscape that makes it a little easier. Two sets of tools - one for your front yard and one for your backyard - definitely make gardening easier.

Think of those times you're working in the backyard and there's a task you'd take care of, except the correct tool is around front in the garage. You had good intentions, but the deed goes undone.

At my house, you'll find a basket of tools just inside the back door and a few tools on my antique hall-tree inside the front door.

Take inventory of the garden tools you own. When you're acquiring the second set, purchase the best tools available, and try to discover new helping hands.

Will you be digging an area for a pathway or transplanting a peony? Use the correct shovel and the jobs will be easier. For the path, you'll want a long-handled digging shovel; for the peony, an English garden spade. Shovels and spades have different heads and handles. Visit www.amleonard.com to see differences between them.

I believe if I can change your landscape, I can change your life. Felco products (www.felcostore.com) are equally arrogant, saying, "Felco pruners will change your life." Their pruners have a lifetime warranty, are safer to use than cheap pruners and make healthier plant cuts.

Looking for the perfect tools for deadheading a flower and pruning off a 2-inch branch? Use Felco's No. 2 pruner for the first job and a Felco folding saw for the branch.

Along with pruners, purchase a leather holster with a metal clip. The holster attaches to blue jeans or running shorts equally well. Yes, you'll look like a nerd with pruners holstered at your waist. But what do you care when it makes gardening easier?

One last tool that makes the short list is a garden tub. Choose an 8-gallon plastic or galvanized metal round wash tub - it will be useful for stashing the miscellaneous debris you'll be clipping with your new Felco pruners. Depending on the clippings, they can be easily transported to your compost pile or to the street for pickup day.

When you're digging holes, shovel the dirt into the tub. That way, the surrounding mulch will not have to be cleaned. If you're planting a few annuals, the tub is great for transporting a hand trowel, the new flowers and fertilizer.

I was asked to give a lecture about tools many years ago. It began in the dictionary. The first definition for "tool" in my dictionary is "weapon," and I like that.

Stone Mountain resident Tara Dillard designs, installs and writes about gardens. E-mail her at taradillard@agardenview.biz or visit www.agardenview.biz.