Despite the enormous amount of rain Seattle gets (or maybe because of it), residents can have picture perfect landscaping by stocking up on some essential gardening tools and applying a bit of elbow grease. By choosing and maintaining the proper tools, any do-it-yourselfer can turn his or her yard from helpless to stunning, all before summer graces us with its presence.

1. Shovel
A shovel is an essential tool for any size of landscaping job. It is used for digging, moving soil, dividing perennials and transplanting. Look for a shovel that is well-made with a sturdily constructed handle to assure it will not break in hard clay or rocky soils. Shovels with either an ergonomic O-ring or D-handle will provide better user control and can be used one-handed or two-handed from the top or sides.

2. Pruning Shears
A pair of hand pruning shears is a necessary tool for a variety of trimming, pruning and shaping projects. Choose quality steel shears with one sharp straight blade and one curved blade. Textured rubber or composite handle grips will offer more comfort for long jobs.

3. Hori-Hori knife
The hori-hori, or soil knife, is a much better choice than a trowel. It is a wonderful multi-purpose digging tool used for planting flowers, vegetables or bulbs, dividing perennials and weeding. The knife’s sharp blade has a serrated edge on one side and a smooth knife-edge on the other side. Many hori-hori’s have measurements on the blade for easy soil depth readings.

4. Speedy Sharp Sharpener
In order for shovels, hori-horis and pruners to work well, they need to be sharp. Instead of using a time-consuming, old-school file, turn to the Speedy Sharp Sharpener. This pocket-sized tool can quickly turn dull blades back into new again shape. The small size works well on hand tools, easily fitting between the undersized blades. The Speedy Sharp Sharpener is made of strong carbide allowing super-sharp blades, fast and effortlessly.

5. Weed Eater
A cordless weed eater is an easy-to-use trimming tool that helps keep the yard looking clean and green. Weed eaters keep grass clipped around trees, plants and shrubbery. They also make deep, defined borders for well-manicured edging. Choosing a cordless version simplifies trimming and edging jobs since there are no extension cords or gas engines to deal with.

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Here are a few local businesses to help you get started:

Swanson Nursery
9701 15th Ave NW
Seattle WA 98117
Ph: (206) 782-2543

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daily

Ravenna Gardens
2600 N.E. University Village
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 729-7388

Hours: Mon to Sat -9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Sun: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

City People’s Garden Store
2939 E. Madison St.
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 324-0737

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Sun. 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

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Kristy Stevens-Young is a freelance writer in Seattle. Her work can be found at


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