Cheap Garden Tools With Multiple Uses

Fine Gardening – Issue 218
Gorilla Tubs from Red Gorilla

These versatile tubs can haul anything from weeds to water

Tested by Mark Dwyer

The Gorilla Tubs from Red Gorilla are made of a thick rubberized plastic. They are high quality, durable, and seem to have limitless potential. I’ve used them for many years for a whole range of tasks, including hauling tools, weeds, mulch, and harvested veggies, and mixing soil with amendments. The large, flexible handles can be squeezed together easily, which also makes it possible to use the tubs as watering cans. Gorilla Tubs come in many sizes, colors, and styles, and they are easy to clean and stack. Red Gorilla also offers tubs that are made of 100% recycled plastic. Sizes range from 12.5 ounces to 19.8 gallons.

Price: $2 to $39



CobraHead weeder and cultivator

Use this weeder to scrape roots, to plant, and to work soil

Tested by Mark Dwyer

This lightweight hand tool is a favorite of mine. The CobraHead weeder and cultivator has a comfortable handle made out of recycled materials and a narrow, curved, tempered-steel blade that works exceptionally well in tight spaces. The precision, versatility, and sturdiness of this tool extend its value to a whole range of tasks. I use it for weeding between the cracks of my flagstone patio or in gravel paths; for digging up the deep, noxious roots of quack grass; for breaking up soil; and for planting smaller plugs and bulbs. While we use this tool frequently at the garden where I work, in my home garden I also use one that I’ve had for 18 years and is still going strong.

Price: $30



garden kneeler that flips over to become a padded bench

Take the strain off your body with this two-way kneeler

Tested by Mark Dwyer

I’ve seen many gardeners become immediate fans of this garden kneeler that easily flips over to become a sturdy padded bench. Well balanced and very stable, it has an extra-thick, ¾-inch cushion that is larger than standard kneeling pads. Sturdy arms that are locked in place assist you when you are standing up from a bent-over position. These arms then become the legs of the comfortable bench when flipped. The heavy-duty, powder-coated steel frame can be folded for compact storage. While the bench supports up to 250 pounds, it only weighs 9 pounds, making it easy to transport. It’s also very simple to clean.

Price: $60


—Mark Dwyer is the garden manager for the Edgerton Hospital Healing Garden in Wisconsin, and he operates Landscape Prescriptions by MD.


Felco 600 folding saw

A saw sharp enough to cut through plants thick or thin

Tested by Courtney Olander

I purchased my Felco 600 folding saw when I took my very first pruning class. More than 10 years later, it’s still with me. Not only is it durable, but the sharp steel blade with heat-treated teeth and the lightweight, ergonomic pull design make it comfortable and painless to use. I’ve cut branches over 6 inches in diameter with no problems. After years of using this saw to cut through wood, I found that it’s also the perfect tool to cut back my ornamental grasses in the fall. It’s sharp enough to easily swipe through the bulk of the foliage one-handed while I hold the top of the grass with my other hand. The blade then folds to be put away safely. The bright red handle is a bonus. I don’t know about you, but I tend to lay my tools down in the middle of a project and forget where they are, but this one is easy to spot.

Price: $30



Nifty Grower expandable 50-foot hose

This hose will help you water your garden and design new ones

Tested by Courtney Olander

I first came across the Nifty Grower expandable 50-foot hose at the home of a client who used it on her deck to water her numerous summer containers. I noticed how she could easily pull it from pot to pot without damaging the delicate flowers cascading down the sides. The expandable polyester material makes it lightweight, kink-free, and much less clunky than a traditional rubber hose. Once my client turned the water off, the hose quickly shrank in size, allowing it to be rolled up and set aside with ease. Purchasing one for myself was a no-brainer. However, I soon found another use for it. It’s the perfect tool for when I’m planning a garden and trying to figure out the shape of hardscaping or of a new garden bed. I simply lay the hose on the ground and move it around into the desired shape, which helps me to visualize the space.

Price: $40


—Courtney Olander is a landscape designer based in Seattle.


Photos: courtesy of the contributors

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