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Tips For Making Garden Tools Last a Lifetime

The best gardeners keep and maintain their gardening tools with great care. One of the least talked about secrets to a fulfilling garden are the tools needed to foster a healthy and beautiful garden. The following are a few tips for keeping your valuable garden tools damage free and working in your garden for many, many years.

Garden Hoses and Hose Reels

The garden hose is one of the most valuable and most used tools in the yard and garden. The serious gardener will own a sturdy and flexible garden hose – one that can be would up after use on a garden hose reel. To prevent cracking, the garden hose should be drained in the fall, wound on the reel and stored inside during the winter.

Shears, Blades and Cutting Tools

Every gardener needs the proper tools to cut and trim plants, bushes and flowers. Plan on thoroughly cleaning your electric cutting tools at least every season, preferably twice per year. All hand held shears and cutting tools should be well lubricated to prevent rust – an element that can be the mortal enemy of garden tools. Store garden equipment on hooks away from direct sunlight and the elements. It may not be necessary to store them inside during the winter, but be certain that they stay dry and away from children when not being used.

Hoes, Shovels and Rakes

These types of tools are bulkier and harder to store than simple hand tools or hoses. After each use, spray each tool with a high pressure hose to remove dirt, then dry them and store them upright onto hooks. Most tools made within the last few years are made of a carbon coating or stainless steel and should not rust easily. A light coat of oil in the fall however will keep these metal tools free from rust for many years.

Tool Shed

Many home improvement stores now sell ready-made sheds for storing manual and electric garden tools. It is a good idea to store all of your tools in the same dry place, and these types of sheds fit the bill perfectly. The most important aspect of the shed is simply keeping it organized. There is nothing worse than opening a shed in the spring, only to have tools falling every which way due to lack of organization and proper planning.  Instead, organize tools by size and by function. This simple tip will save you alot of frustration.  It will also save you time and money since you won’t be replacing broken tools frequently.

A good collection of garden and yard tools can be an expensive proposition. With a little care and forethought, you should be able to maintain your garden tools for a lifetime of use.

For more information on garden hoses, garden hose reels and gardening in general, visit http://www.garden-hose-guide.com

How to choose your garden furniture and make it last

Garden furniture is now a fashion item as the patio and garden increasingly become an additional functional space to the home.

Before you buy any garden furniture it is strongly recommended that you do some research. Doing so will greatly increase your chances of buying garden furniture that is right for you and will last you a long time. Following are some important tips you need to consider before you buy.

Firstly decide whether you want stackable or foldaway furniture that will be put away in the shed or garage in winter or if you want permanent solid garden furniture that remains in situ all year round. If you want your garden furniture to be a permanent part of your garden for esthetic reasons then it is recommended that you go for heavy furniture made from hardwood, aluminum or wrought iron with rust proofing. It is well worth spending the money on the heavier more durable materials as this will be much more cost effective in the long run.

Choosing the right type of material and construction is paramount. Decide what kind of material for your garden furniture would best compliment your patio or garden. Select a material that will stay in balance with your garden.

Wood is the best all round as it is lightweight, esthetically pleasing and comfortable but requires some maintenance. Choose a tropical hardwood which is high in natural oil content like teak, iroko or courbaril. These woods are weather resistant and can be left outside throughout the year.

Make sure that mortice and tenon joints are used for your teak garden furniture and not bolts which corrode. If any metal fittings are used in the construction make sure they are made from brass, stainless steel or aluminum which are corrosion resistant.

Make sure the construction is only premium grade teak for our garden furniture, so any knots, cracks and other defects are eliminated before the timber is used to build the furniture. Additionally, Make sure your teak garden furniture is kiln dried to optimise moisture content and ensure shape is maintained and cracks are eliminated.

Teak garden furniture that is assembled using epoxy based glues tend to have the best performance and durability of all the types of joints as the epoxy resin used will not be affected by rain or frost.

If your teak garden furniture becomes dirty it is easy to clean with warm soapy water and a scrubbing brush which will enable you to restore the beautiful silver grey weathered look. If required a pressure hose can be used at 60-80 bar [900-1200psi] at a distance of no less than 30cm.

Once your teak garden furniture has weathered the colour will be enhanced by an annual scrub. A small amount of bleach added to the water will suppress any algae growth.

Any stains and grease spots can be immediately removed by washing down using a light detergent then rinsing off with clean water as soon as they occur. However, this is not essential as nature will take its course over time.

In dry weather small cracks will appear in the end of the grain timbers. This is natural and no action needs to be taken as when the moisture in the atmosphere increases the timber will return to its original condition.

It is not necessary to use teak oil or varnish as these will not extend the life of your garden furniture and are purely cosmetic. However, if you wish to preserve the as new appearance of your teak garden furniture the application of teak oil when the furniture is new will give a more lustre finish than leaving untouched. Please ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions as usually this is a three stage process. Make sure the timber is completely dry when you apply the teak oil, otherwise the furniture will blacken.

Wrought iron garden furniture generally looks the best as it is usually hand crafted to give a unique look. The disadvantages of wrought iron furniture is that it is not as comfortable as wood and heavier to move around. Additionally, iron rusts so wrought iron garden furniture has to be especially coated to prevent it from rusting so make sure the supplier gives you at least a one year warranty against rust.

Finally, if you can, it is recommended that you invest in a cover for your garden furniture. Covers now come in all shapes and sizes and are well worth the money as they add years to the life of your garden furniture. Simply place the cover on your garden furniture every evening or when it rains, you will see the benefits in the long term.

Angus Charlton is managing director of Arboreta Garden Furniture Store ( http://www.arboreta.co.uk ). He is a keen gardener who has developed a garden furniture business that resources from sustainable rainforests and contributes to the art of Feng Shui for gardens.