Garden Tools for Women

You may have to set aside a bit of pride, but searching out gardening tools that make work easier on the hands, the back and the knees is definitely worth it. Some are sold as "disability tools" but don't let that put you off. Tools that fit a woman's smaller frame are easier to use and you can always prove your fitness by working longer.

Digging

Go for the lightest shovels and digging forks you can find, possibly of poorer quality, but better that they break than you strain your back. You might find that a shovel with a smaller blade than usual is helpful. There are also transplanting shovels with deep, narrow blades that can make digging easier. Long handles give you better leverage while standing and are worth the bit of extra weight. Use a fork for breaking up hard ground; you can put your weight on it and drive the tines in deeply with less effort than with a shovel.

Weeding and Transplanting

Again, go for lightweight tools. A spare kitchen knife does a great job of weeding as well as planting small starts. A trowel is useful for plants in 4-inch pots, but use a small shovel to plant larger ones. If you don't want to get up and down much, look for a child's shovel, useful as long as the ground is loosened first.

Pruning

Here you want quality and sharpness. Don't skimp on hand pruners. Get the best you can afford, bypass (like scissors) not anvil (blade coming straight onto a piece of metal.) Hold them in your hand before you buy, checking to make sure they fit well. For loppers, try the ratchet kind that give you leverage in pruning off larger branches. If you're having trouble decided between two types, get the lighter one, since your arms will tire quickly when holding them up. A pruning saw is essential for taking off larger branches. Look for the lightweight ones sold in the camping section of the hardware store.

Carrying

Some people prefer wheelbarrows, some prefer garden carts. What matters most is that you can push it without bending over too much. Also consider doing what the professionals do, spreading out a tarp, filling it with weeds or branches and then dragging it off. Less weight and easier to haul.

Keywords: women's garden tools, ergonomic garden tools, lightweight garden tools

About this Author

Over the past 30 years, Mara Grey has sold plants in nurseries, designed gardens and volunteered as a Master Gardener. She is the author of "The Lazy Gardener" and "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Flower Gardening" and has a Bachelor of Science in botany.