Tools of the trade

Here are a few tools which will help make your garden maintenance a little easier:

Watering the garden

A simple watering can will be enough to keep very small gardens with minimal or drought resistant plants sufficiently watered. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes a day, when there hasn’t been rain, to water anything in a pot or basket.

However, if you have a larger garden, lots of plants in pots or plants which don’t like being without water for very long, then you may want to consider investing in an irrigation system. These normally fit onto the hosepipe and generally work with thin tubes to carry water to drippers implanted in your pots or borders. You can even get timers so that you don’t have to worry about remembering to turn them on and off. Work out what components you need before you buy an automated system – the starter kits are useful but are unlikely to have exactly what you need. You can also run a sprinkler off the timer in order to water a larger area or to water a lawn in drought conditions.

If you are going to be using weedkillers or other chemicals in the garden then you should have a separate watering can for this purpose. Keep it well labelled (with permanent marker or tippex) and out of reach of children and animals.

Cutting hedges

Hedge trimmers are now commonplace and are an excellent way of trimming hedges with minimal effort. For small gardens choose a mains electric powered trimmer, although a petrol driven one may be more practical for larger expanses of hedging. You can also hire them, which may be cost effective if you’re only trimming your hedge once a year. If you have only a small amount of hedge (eg box hedging) then there are good battery powered trimmers available which will suit this purpose.

Consider the length of the blade when purchasing your hedge trimmer. You may wish to get one which is the same length as your hedge width in order to reduce cutting time, but consider that the longer the blade the heavier the trimmer will be.

Mowing the lawn

If you are retaining your lawn then you will need something to mow it with. Hover mowers are a low cost, light and easy to use solution. However, rotary mowers and cylinder mowers are equally effective (and come with rollers to get that striped lawn effect). Remember to get one which collects the clippings as you go, to save you the job of raking them up.

To reduce the effort as much as possible you could invest in an automated or ‘robot’ lawn mower. While quite expensive, good quality ones will do a good job of cutting your grass without you lifting a finger.

A strimmer will also be needed if you are keeping edges to the lawn which the mower can’t mow over. Strimmers have a nylon line which spins and cuts the grass right up to the edges. Strim before you mow then hopefully the mower will pick up most of the clippings and save you having to collect them manually.


It’s always wise to invest in a good pair of secateurs and loppers (the latter only if you have shrubs or trees requiring pruning). While you may not be using them often, it will make pruning a lot quicker and easier if they work smoothly and efficiently. When buying secateurs, make sure that they are comfortable and easy to use; left handed ones are available. Loppers should have a geared action, if possible, to make the job easier.