Caring for your yard can get to be a chore. Here are some ideas to make gardening easier and more fun and still have a stunning yard.
Gardening is great exercise, and the promise of a beautiful yard or delicious produce offers wonderful motivation. That is, unless pain starts to outweigh your enjoyment.
But don’t be too quick to hang up your gardening gloves! New ways of doing things, and even new products on the market, can help keep you digging happily in the dirt for years to come. Consider trying one or more of the following techniques, which may allow you to have more years of gardening enjoyment. Of course, you should always consult your health care provider about the types and amounts of physical activity appropriate for you.
Tips to Mark Garden Easier by Keeping it Fun
- Instead of gardening for hours on end, try breaking up chores into one-hour segments, with a 15-minute break in between. (Be realistic about your limits, too, and ask for help as needed.)
- A little light stretching before gardening, and being careful to change positions, can help reduce soreness later.
- Keep tools sharp. This lessens fatigue because sharp edges make it easier to complete tasks.
- Use the right tools. Some tools can aggravate or even cause hand, wrist or back problems. You can modify handles of your hand tools to provide a better grip by cushioning them with foam pipe insulation. Cut foam to desired length and secure with electrical or packaging tape.
- Go ergonomic. Ergonomically designed tools often mean less stretching and bending in the garden. Some have telescopic handles to extend your reach or have a vertical grip to offer forearm support. Others align the wrist with the hand and forearm, naturally decreasing wrist stress and pain. Still others, with enlarged grips, lessen the need to grasp quite so tightly. If possible, try out tools before you buy them to make sure they fit your grip and your needs.
- Use padded knee protectors or garden seats that convert into padded kneelers. Some kneelers even have handles on the side to assist with standing.
- Use soaker hoses, drip irrigation and timers, and you won’t have to haul heavy hoses around. Or use one of the many garden carts available that let you pull tools and other garden supplies easily, instead of lifting and carrying them.
- Modify your garden. A smaller garden needs less time to maintain. Raised garden beds or containers require less bending, as do vertical gardens using trellises, arches, arbors, gazebos, walls, fences and wire cages. Vertical features also add interest.
- Protect your hands with well-fitting, durable gloves. Some offer extra padding on the palm and a snug, comfy wristband.
- Conserve energy! Garden early in the morning or late in the day, when it’s cooler, to avoid tiring in the heat. Also, wear a hat to protect you from the sun.
Ann Wied is consumer horticulture educator for the UW-Extension in Waukesha County, Wisconsin.
Photography by Dusan Zidar/shutterstock.com.