DIY Frequently Asked Questions

Lawn and Garden Terms


  • Used to burrow into soft ground to create holes for setting posts, footings or for planting trees or shrubs.
  • Some models have an adjustable yoke that can be locked into position or changed to drill different sized holes.
  • Operates by turning in a downward motion.
  • Has a T handle for easier turning.
  • Common sizes are 6”, 8” and 10”.

Post Hole Digger

  • Used to dig into the ground to create holes for setting posts, footings or for planting trees or shrubs in all soil types.
  • The user plunges the tool into the ground with the handles together. The user then pulls the handles apart which brings the blades together to remove the soil.
  • Heavy-duty models have sharp steel blades riveted to a heavy steel frame.
  • Light-duty models are made with blade and handle socket rolled from one piece of metal.
  • Typical spread point ranges from 5-1/2” to 6-1/4”.

Sod Lifter

  • Blade is beveled for cutting in both directions.
  • Used for loosening and lifting sod.
  • Removes sod at the root level and saves it for transplanting.

Straight Edge Rake

  • Used to pull leaves and debris toward the user.
  • Also used to gather up heavy trash such as sticks and stones.

Sweep Rake

  • Used like a broom to pull leaves and debris past the user.
  • Fan-shaped.
  • May have a straight or round leading edge.

Shrub Rake

  • Used to rake around small plants and shrubs.
  • The flexible tines may have a straight or rounded edge.

Landscape Rake

  • Has a wide head braced with brackets attached to the handle.
  • Used for spreading dirt, gravel and sand.

Unsupported Gloves

  • Good for applications requiring dexterity and mild chemical resistance, or disposable gloves.
  • Thin gauges offer a better sense of touch while a heavy gauge offers more protection.
  • May be constructed of latex, nitrile, neoprene, vinyl, polyethylene or blends.
  • Some styles are lined.

Level Head Garden Rake

  • Has a level head set close to the handle.
  • Used to break up and smooth soil after it has been spaded and cultivated.
  • Has sharp, curved steel teeth to pulverize dirt clods.
  • The straight back is good for leveling the soil for planting.

Flower Border

  • Encloses flower gardens or other plants.
  • Typically available in 6, 12 or 18 in. heights.
  • Made of galvanized or vinyl-coated metal or plastic.

Bow Head Garden Rake

  • Rake head is attached to the handle with a long, curved bows extending from each end of the head.
  • Handles are usually 48” to 54” long.
  • Used to break up and smooth soil after it has been spaded and cultivated.
  • Has sharp, curved steel teeth to pulverize dirt clods.
  • The straight back is good for leveling the soil for planting.


  • Sits close to the ground to separate flowerbeds from lawn areas and keep grass roots from spreading into flower and garden beds.
  • Typically constructed of polyethylene plastic, aluminum or galvanized steel with a rolled top edge.
  • Another type is a length of scalloped wood slabs joined by wire in 3 ft. sections.
  • Some types are designed to look like stone or brick but feature poly construction that won’t chip, crack or fade.

Bamboo Rake

  • Lightweight and inexpensive.
  • Used to gather light debris such as dry leaves or grass.
  • Teeth should be evenly bent for best raking results.

Plant Pot

  • Also called planters.
  • Comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, such as rectangular and round.
  • Contains plants for hanging or displaying inside or outside the house.
  • Clay pots are porous, allowing air and moisture to pass through.
  • Plastic pots are lighter and more colorful, but depend on drainage holes to relieve excess moisture.
  • Factors to consider when selecting a pot are size, drainage and construction.
  • Pots often include a saucer to catch water from the drain holes.

Thatching Rake

  • Used to remove thatch and dead grass from the lawn.
  • Pointed on one side for pulling and rounded on the other for pushing.
  • The wheeled version rolls along the ground. It digs as it is pushed forward and cleans itself of debris as it is pulled backwards.
  • The half-moon version does not have wheels. The user drags it along the ground. The pull stroke digs up the thatch, while the push stroke cleans.

Grow Light

  • Gives indoor plants light they need to grow.
  • Versatile and can be fitted into bookshelves, into hanging planters, etc.
  • In order for the plant to maintain its shape, evenly distribute the light from above.

Hand Trowel

  • Used to loosen dirt in a garden.
  • Blade is usually 3-1/4” to 3-1/2” wide.
  • Another type is a transplanting trowel that has a slimmer 2” wide blade.

Plant Hardware

  • Used in conjunction with pots or other plant containers.
  • Different types can include hooks and brackets in a wide variety of styles and finishes, including vinyl-coated and rustproof items.
  • Other features include rotating hooks or swivel brackets.

Bulb Planter

  • Used to plant or transplant flower bulbs or small plants.
  • The user twists the tool back and forth into the ground while pushing it into the ground. When desired depth is reached, remove the tool from the soil. It will pull up a core of earth with it.

Plant Stake

  • Supports and gives extra protection to young plants.
  • One popular type is the tomato cage or tower that encloses the tomato plant and contains and gives it support, especially when it is heavy with tomatoes.

Plug-Type Aerator

  • Cuts through hard soil to loosen and break up the dirt several inches below the surface so air and moisture can promote deep root growth.
  • Has coring points that puncture up to 3” deep.

Lawn Weed Control

  • Weeds are classified as grassy (such as crabgrass), broadleaf (such as dandelions and plantain), annual or perennial.
  • Weed seeds can lie dormant in the ground for several years, then grow again when conditions are right.
  • Spring is the best time to control broadleaf and grassy weeds when they are small and vulnerable. Weed killers are formulated to work best in temperatures between 60°F and 85°F.
  • Pre-emergent herbicides attack weeds before they break the surface of the soil. Apply them early in the spring. Post-emergent herbicides attack the plant after it begins to grow.
  • Selective herbicides kill certain plants but do not harm others. Non-selective herbicides will kill all vegetation they touch.
  • Do not rake or dethatch lawns after applying a pre-emergent herbicide. It will destroy the protective barrier the chemical has created.

Spike-Type Aerator

  • Cuts through hard soil to loosen and break up the dirt several inches below the surface so air and moisture can promote deep root growth.
  • Has spiked wheels that allow scrap-free transport across hard surfaces.

Lawn Insect Control

  • Controls a variety of insects that destroy healthy lawn turf.
  • The active ingredient in some pesticides will remain active for months, eliminating the need for multiple applications.
  • Some products can be sprayed on while others are incorporated into a fertilizer in granular form.
  • Insects attacking lawns can be all shapes, colors and sizes, but they generally fall into two categories: surface-active (above ground) and soil active (below ground).
  • Examples of surface-active bugs are webworms, cutworms, army worms andchinch bugs.
  • Sod webworms damage lawns throughout the entire growing season by eating grass blades. Small moths flying in zigzag patterns across the lawn are a good indication these bugs are present.
  • Chinch bugs damage lawns when temperatures rise above 80°F. They attack grass stems and suck out plant juices. Lawns usually have to be reseeded.
  • Grubs are an example of soil active insects. They feed on grass roots, killing the grass in patches. White grubs become active when the soil warms up and they destroy lawns from late spring to early fall.
  • Many insects do not pose problems to lawns. Before you decide to use a pesticide, determine that the number of pests and potential damage and environmental impact justify the use of a pesticide.


Spading Fork

  • Used to dig and aerate soil.
  • Has straight tines.

Lawn Disease Control

  • Controls fungus-related diseases that destroy healthy lawn turf.
  • Fungi adheres to the plant, steals food from and/or deposits toxic substances in the cells of the plant.
  • Some types of disease controls are granular chemicals while others are liquids.
  • Homeowners who use a mixture of grasses have a better chance of their lawn surviving a disease as most diseases attack one specific type of grass.
  • Common types of lawn fungi are snow mold, leaf spot and dollar spot.
  • Snow Mold attacks grass any time from late fall to early spring. Grass turns a reddish color or tan to gray. It can destroy small areas or complete lawns.
  • Leaf Spot results in brown or black spots on leaves and can occur through a wet, cool fall, winter and spring season. Thinning of the lawn may not be noticeable, but leaf activity is quite pronounced.
  • Dollar Spot starts in mid-spring and/or when weather is moist and cool. Damaged spots are a bleached straw color. A cobweb-like growth is a sign the fungus is active.


  • Breaks up clods left by spading or aerating.
  • Has one, three or four sharp curved tines or prongs.
  • A rotary cultivator with sharp spurs is best for heavier work.

Household Pesticides

  • Kill or repel pests that could come inside the home.
  • Improper application can have harmful effects on families and pets.
  • One popular type is the spray or fogger. These penetrate the cracks and crevices inside the house where insects nest. Users will need to leave the house for a period of time while the chemical works.
  • When using foggers, read the warning labels regarding use around open flames. The pilot lights on gas furnaces and appliances will ignite the insecticide if it reaches a high enough concentration in the home.
  • Pest repellents keep insects and rodents from entering the home. Common examples are sprays that repel dogs and wild animals from gardens and flowerbeds, or spray-on mosquito repellents that can be used on skin or clothing.
  • Pest traps will kill or confine rodents or insects. Common examples are the mousetrap and the roach trap. Traps incorporate some type of bait.
  • Poisons are ingested directly into the pest. Keep in mind they can also be harmful to household pets or small children.
  • Be sure to read the pesticide package carefully and follow all instructions.

Garden Hoe

  • Prepares soil for planting.
  • Also used for weeding.
  • Typical blade width is 6”.

Sphagnum Peat Moss

  • Adds body to sandy soil to help with water retention and also loosens and aerates densely packed soil with high clay content.
  • Consists of the remains of a spongy type of northern moss called sphagnum.
  • Reduces leaching of soil nutrients.
  • Adds organic material to soil.
  • Available in compressed bales from 6 cu. ft. down to 1 cu. ft.
  • Also available in smaller packages for use in flowerpots and in planter boxes that must be soaked before using.

Push Hoe

  • Also called a floral hoe.
  • Used for weeding, cultivating and aerating.
  • Pushed rather than pulled into the ground.
  • Blade slides just below the surface to cut weeds.
  • Handle is attached to the rear of the blade at a shallow angle.

Reed-Sedge Peat

  • Also known as Michigan-type peat.
  • Has similar characteristics and soil benefits to Sphangnum Peat Moss.
  • Includes the remains of a variety of swamp plants such as sedge grasses and reeds.
  • A velvety dark brown product that does not need extensive soaking.
  • Available in 25- and 50-lb. bags as well as smaller quantities.
  • Not a plant food. Fertilizers must still be added.

Weeding Hoe

  • Has a pointed blade for lifting out weeds.
  • May be single or double pronged.


  • A brown or black organic substance consisting of decayed vegetable matter that provides nutrients for plants and improves the water retention of soil.

Scuffle Hoe

  • Cuts with both edges of its sharp, steel blade and works in both the push and pull motions.
  • Blade shifts back and forth to keep the angle right in either direction.

Compost Bin

  • A bin used to make compost.
  • Comes in a variety of sizes and shapes. Should use at least a 27 cu. ft. in size to ensure it retains enough heat to spur the compost development.
  • Compost is the process of converting waste material into a type of synthetic manure.
  • Compost may contain leaves, grass clippings, prunings, straw, spoiled hay, coffee grounds, eggshells, paper and wood ash that decompose through bacterial action.
  • Due to its fertilizing value, compost can be spread on the lawn in the fall or on the garden at any time during the growing season.

Mortar Hoe

  • Used to mix mortar, concrete, plaster and spackling.
  • Can have plain or perforated blades.
  • Handles can be 48” to 66” long.

Organic Mulch

  • A ground cover that protects ground temperature, reduces evaporation, prevents erosion, controls weeds, attracts earthworms and enriches the soil.
  • Good mulch should allow water to pass through it quickly but not be easily washed away by the rain.
  • Keeps soil surface as much as 10° cooler than exposed soil.
  • Thick applications of mulch will stop weeds, but it will need to be refreshed every year.
  • Types include bark, pine nuggets, cypress, hardwood, peat moss and pine mulch.

Rubber Hose

  • Reinforced with tire cord fiber.
  • Resists weathering, cracking and kinks.
  • Heaviest and most durable of hoses.
  • Use with full-flow couplings.
  • Can be used with hot water.

Rubber Mulch

  • Made from non-toxic, environmentally friendly, recycled materials that can be used indoors or outdoors.
  • Like organic mulch, it inhibits weed growth while retaining soil moisture.
  • Natural shape allows airflow into the ground.
  • Looks like organic mulch but doesn’t rot, dissolve into the ground, wash away from rain or loose its color as easily as regular mulch.
  • Available in a variety of colors.

Rubber-Vinyl Hose

  • Combines the strength and durability of rubber with the lightness of vinyl.
  • Easiest hose to use.
  • Reinforced with tire cord fiber.
  • The type with an expanded or foamed cover is easy to handle and has better kink resistance.
  • The type with an extruded or non-foamed cover had good flexibility and has better abrasion resistance.

Single-Bit Axe

  • Most popular style of axe, the single-bit axe is used to fell, trim or prune trees, to split or cut wood.
  • The easiest and safest axe for inexperienced woodcutters to use because it only has one cutting edge.
  • The other end of the head, the poll, forms a hammer for driving wooden or plastic stakes. It should never be used to strike splitting wedges, steel posts, stone or any hard object.
  • Handles for single-bit axes are curved to help increase leverage. Axe handles are made of hickory and range from 20″ to 36″ long. The most common is 36″.
  • Common head patterns include Michigan, Dayton, Kentucky, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Landscape Stones

  • Low-maintenance mulch that retains its look and does not decompose or erode.
  • Types include lava rocks, marble chips, limestone chips, river pebbles and brick nuggets.
  • Apply them 1” to 4” deep.
  • Lava rocks are lightweight and are more likely to be washed away by the rain.

Vinyl Hose

  • Most common type of hose and functions for most applications.
  • Reasonably priced.
  • The most common size garden hose sold is 5/8” and 50’.
  • The two-ply type is typically used as a promotional item and is susceptible to sun damage and deteriorates more rapidly than a rubber hose. It is lightweight and tends to kink easily.
  • The non-reinforced vinyl type is adequate for “open service” only, which means it is suitable for use with rotary or oscillating sprinklers, but is not recommended for use with any accessory featuring an integrated shut-off valve.

Double-Bit Axe

  • Performs the same function as single-bit axe, but has two cutting edges—one on each end of the head.
  • Generally used by professional lumbermen.
  • Double-bit axes have straight handles because the handle must be symmetrical with the double-edge head.
  • Common head patterns include Western, Michigan, Swamping and Reversible.

Landscape Fabric

  • A type of ground cover used to prevent weeds from growing while allowing moisture to penetrate.
  • User cuts holes in fabric to enable plants to grow.
  • Usually covered with mulch or decorative stone when used in landscaped areas.
  • Can be used on newly seeded lawns to prevent seeds from blowing or washing away and to spur germination.
  • Can be organic or synthetic, woven or unwoven.
  • Available in various colors.
  • Sizes range from 3’ to 6’ wide to 15’ and 50’ long.

Flat Hose

  • Lies flat until water pressure rounds it into a 5/8” hose.
  • Stores more easily and compactly than a conventional hose.
  • Must be completely extended before water will pass through and completely drained before storing.
  • Because it is drained after use, it is less susceptible to freezing and cracking and will not wear on edges.
  • Weight is one-third that of a conventional hose but delivers same amount of water.
  • One type is made with a polyurethane liner and a tightly woven polyester jacket. The liner is bonded to the jacket to reduce kinking and leaking. Another type has a construction similar to a conventional, reinforced vinyl hose.

Carpenter’s Hatchet

  • Also called a half hatchet.
  • For general use of felling and trimming trees or notching wood.
  • Other popular hatchet models include Hunter’s Hatchets, Broad Hatchets, and Camping Hatchets.

All-Purpose Potting Soil

  • Designed for gardeners who want to add ingredients to customize their mix with plant food.

Soaker Hose

  • Uses thousands of tiny holes to allow water to seep out slowly over its entire length.
  • Saves water compared to sprinklers.
  • May be made of canvas, vinyl, plastic or rubber.
  • Can be run on top of the ground, under mulch or buried.
  • If buried, wrap the end of the hose in plastic to prevent dirt clogging it.
  • Generally, vinyl and rubber hoses are the most durable because they do not decay when buried.

Shingling Hatchet

  • Generally used for installing wood shakes and shingles made of wood, fiberglass and composition.
  • Some models have a replaceable adjustable gauge that helps installer determine the exposed length of a shingle.
  • Many models also include nail slots and draw knives built into the head.
  • Handles can be made of hickory, fiberglass, tubular steel or solid steel.

Professional Potting Soil

  • Features additives such as sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite, composted bark finds and a wetting agent.

Coil Hose

  • Shaped like a coil or a spring, this hose rebounds gently after each use for convenient storage.
  • Withstands sun and rain and has solid brass or nylon fittings for drip-free connections.
  • Usually made of nylon or polyurethane and is available in a variety of colors.


  • Aluminum is the most popular type of guttering and used on most homes today.
  • Galvanized guttering is sturdy, but is unpainted and requires some type of finish. This type must also be cleaned regularly if it is to last.
  • Vinyl guttering is easy to install and is manufactured specifically with the do-it-yourselfer in mind.
  • Plastic guttering is the least expensive option but not very durable.
  • Prolonged cold and hot weather can cause plastic guttering to be damaged.
  • K-style is the most popular, while a half-round style is also available.
  • Popular sizes of gutters are 4”, 5” and 6”. Larger sizes may be available.
  • Available in a variety of colors.
  • Uses a variety of fittings and connectors.
  • Continuous guttering is popular and avoids joints in the gutter, but is usually installed by a professional.

Premium Potting Soil

  • Includes perlite and vermiculite, which aid in water drainage and aeration.
  • Features a wetting agent that provides more uniform water distribution in the soil.
  • Some mixes contain fertilizer in either water-soluble or slow-release granular form.

Hose Hanger

  • Provides compact and efficient hose storage.
  • Mounts easily to the side of a house or garage.
  • Hose is simply draped over hanger brackets for easy storage.


  • Attaches to the gutter to carry water down the side of the house.
  • Rainfall capacity of a guttering system is largely dependent on the size and number of downspouts rather than strictly gutter size.
  • Downspouts are usually rectangular in shape and come in 10’ lengths.
  • Popular sizes of downspouts are 2”x3”, 3”x4” and 4”x5”.

Natural Organic Fertilizer

  • One of three common types of fertilizer, the other two are inorganic and synthetic organic.
  • Does not dissolve in water.
  • Converted to usable forms by microorganisms in the soil.
  • Helps to create proper physical growing conditions, but can add disease or weeds to the lawn.
  • Usually does not contain a complete mix of the essential nutrients, making it necessary to apply additional types of fertilizer.
  • Less concentrated than synthetic fertilizer.
  • Slow-acting release.

Hose Reel

  • Provides compact and efficient hose storage.
  • Uses a rotary action to unroll and roll hose.
  • Some models can be mounted on the house or garage, others ride on a caddy or cart.
  • Usually incorporates a leader hose that attaches directly to the water supply.
  • Some models feature storage trays for accessories.
  • Typical capacity is 150’ for 5/8” hose. A large capacity reel basket holds 400’ for 5/8” hose.
  • Some feature a screw-sliding guide mechanism for keeping the hose neatly wrapped on the reel.


  • Diverts the direction of the downspout by 45 degrees.
  • A square elbow is available in two different styles.
  • A square shoe style elbow is used at the bottom of the downspout to help divert water away from the house.

Inorganic Fertilizer

  • Dissolves in water to become readily available to plants.
  • Contains ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate.
  • Causes fast growth for a few weeks, but can also cause foliage burn if improperly applied.
  • May contain some synthetic organics, too.

Pistol Nozzle

  • Gun-type hose spray accessory constructed of metal or plastic.
  • Many have adjustable spray patterns from a fine mist to a solid stream to full flow by squeezing the handle or by turning an adjusting screw or using a multi-position clip.
  • Some models have a dial control for different spray patterns.

Synthetic Organic Fertilizer

  • Contains ureafoam and methylene urea.
  • Provides a combination of slow and fast release of nitrogen, combining the best of the other two kinds of fertilizer, inorganic and organic.
  • Easier to use than organic fertilizers because they are typically packaged for use with a specific application and are less bulky.

Straight Nozzle

  • Usually constructed of brass, diecast zinc or plastic.
  • Better models use an o-ring to seal off the waterflow, protect the inside adjustment threads and allow for smoother and easier spray adjustment.

Dry Fertilizer

  • Combines nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
  • With some types, there is a danger of burning the lawn if applied too heavily or not watered immediately.
  • Spreads with a lawn spreader.

Hose Mender

  • Used to mend or connect hose.
  • Metal clincher couplings have metal cleats around a brass insert.
  • Can be used on rubber or plastic hoses. To install, push the hose over the insert and pound down the cleats with a hammer or crimp with pliers to hold the hose.
  • For plastic hoses, use a compression fitting with a threaded collar as it is less likely to puncture the outer covering.
  • Plastic menders include a barbed tubular insert and clam shell-shaped clamps used on either plastic or rubber hose.

Liquid Fertilizer

  • Spreads with a hose that attaches to a container holding the fertilizer. Other types may be used on plants and mixed in a watering can.
  • Fertilizer is in a concentrated form that is diluted with the water from the hose.
  • Nutrients are immediately available to the plants, which makes this the fastest response fertilizer.
  • May require user to fertilizer more frequently, since fertilizer is absorbed quickly.
  • Fertilizer must be spread evenly to avoid burning.

Lawn Fencing

  • Offers homeowners inexpensive protection for shrubs, trees and flowerbeds.
  • Vinyl-coated fence withstands harsh weather and does not need painting or other maintenance. Available in green or white.
  • Plastic fence is available in a 2” square mesh design and a 1” diamond mesh.
  • Available in white and green. Will not rot, rust or corrode and has no sharp edges.
  • Galvanized fence is available in 2”x4” mesh.
  • Typical fence stands 36” to 48” high.

Hose Connector

  • Used to link garden hose and watering devices to the home water source, to connect sections of hose and to provide linkage for sprinkling devices.
  • Usually made of plastic or brass.
  • Some have a built-in shutoff valve.
  • A Y connector is another type that attaches to the water supply to control two hoses at the same time.

Pelletized Fertilizer

  • In the form of semi-rigid pellets or capsules.
  • This type does not ensure a steady release of nutrients unless slow-release sources are included in the pellets.

Wire Fencing

  • Wires are welded together.
  • Can be taken down, rerolled and reused.
  • Stronger than woven fencing.
  • Used for fencing off children’s play areas, for protecting shrubs and young trees and for storing leaves for mulch.
  • Available as galvanized or vinyl-coated in heavy 14-gauge 2”x1” or 12-1/2-gauge 4”x2” mesh.
  • Typically sold in 50’ rolls, 36” or 48” high.


Gutter Leaf Guard

  • Placed over the top of the gutter.
  • Used to keep leaves out of the gutter while letting rainwater in.
  • A variety of styles are available from different manufacturers.

Watering Can

  • Available in a wide variety of styles in plastic and metal construction.
  • Effective for small lawn or garden areas.
  • Most portable watering device and easy to use indoors and in tight places.

Flower Seed

  • Sold in packages or in bulk.
  • Planting times and growing instructions will vary by plant. Read package instructions carefully.

Garden Fencing

  • Designed to keep small predatory animals out of the garden.
  • A welded, galvanized fence with a large 4” square mesh at the top and a small 1” mesh extending 12” up form ground level.
  • The lower mesh can be buried several inches below ground to prevent digging under the fence.
  • Other specialty fencing is designed for use as a tomato cage, for protecting seedlings or as a flower trellis.

Stationary Sprinkler

  • Lowest cost sprinkler available.
  • Effective for small lawn or garden areas.
  • Sprays water in a fixed pattern of holes in the top of the sprinkler.
  • Size, shape and pattern of these holes, as well as water pressure, determine the area covered.
  • Available in a variety of designs and hole patterns.

Vegetable Seed

  • Sold in packages or in bulk.
  • Planting times and growing instructions will vary by plant. Read package instructions carefully.

Diamond Weave Fencing

  • Extra-strong fencing with close mesh spacing.
  • Used often in public areas because it is more expensive than ordinary fencing but lasts longer.
  • Similar in appearance to chain link fence.
  • Can be vinyl-coated or galvanized.
  • Typically available in 50’ rolls 36” or 48” high.

Extension Ladder

  • A non-self supporting type of ladder with two similar sections that are linked with internal guides on the bottom of base section and external guides on the top.
  • Sections are pulled apart to increase length.
  • Used for working in high areas and primarily for exterior applications.
  • Available in heights ranging from 16’ to 40’.
  • Smaller extension ladders are extended manually and secured with gravity spring lock brackets
  • that rest on the selected rung.
  • Larger extension ladders are extended by means of a rope and pulley running down the side of the ladder and secured with a cleat.
  • Generally available in all aluminum and fiberglass with aluminum rungs.
  • Rungs can be round or flat and are usually serrated for enhanced slip resistance.
  • Ladder shoes pivot to allow full contact with ground. Shoes can also be turned up to penetrate soft ground for extra stability.
  • Quality classifications include consumer (household), commercial (mechanic) and industrial grades.

Oscillating Sprinklers

  • Sprays multiple streams of water out of openings in a spray tube that oscillates back and forth, watering a rectangular pattern.
  • Used for watering medium to large areas.
  • Traditional designs use curved aluminum tubes.
  • Other designs use corrosion-free, molded straight tubes with jets set at progressive angles.
  • Pattern adjustments are usually full sweep, left, right or center.
  • Place more water at the end of the spray pattern than in the middle.
  • Some models have built-in timers for automatic shutoff.


  • Fast-growing seed, frequently used by itself or in mixtures.
  • Available as an annual or perennial. The annual quickly germinates for temporary lawns.
  • Good for slopes because of its quick germination.
  • Perennial ryegrass is ideal for lawns in the cool-climate, northern half of the U.S.

Vinyl Fencing

  • Easy to install.
  • Sturdy enough to withstand the elements and requires little maintenance.
  • Fence posts can be made to slip over existing 4”x 4” posts. Boards and rails allow standard size limber to be inserted into them for added strength.
  • Available in a variety of post and rail, picket and privacy design styles.

Impulse Sprinklers

  • Also called pulsating sprinkler.
  • Will discharge more water in a given period and cover a greater area than other sprinklers.
  • A spring-loaded arm provides a strong spray that is close to the ground, making it more wind resistant.
  • A large orifice prevents clogging.
  • A baffle plate controls the height of the stream to allow sprinkling under low tree branches.
  • A diffuser pin adjusts water stream from full jet to fine mist.
  • Also offers part- or full-circle operation.

Kentucky Bluegrass

  • Forms a good sod when grown alone and thrives when included in a mixture.
  • Slow to germinate and become established.
  • Does not tolerate dense shade.
  • Responds well to fertilization and high mowing.
  • Grows well in lawns in the cool-climate, Northern half of the U.S., except in areas with mild winters, such as the maritime Pacific Northwest.

Chain Link Fencing

  • Durable, trouble-free fencing that offers safety and security.
  • Another type is plastic chain link fence, available in a variety of colors, including white, orange and green.
  • Installation is difficult, so recommend a how-to booklet available from manufacturers.
  • Install using a fence stretcher.

Rotary Sprinkler

  • Delivers water from the tips of two or three spray arms that spin like a pinwheel.
  • Spray arms may have fixed or adjustable tips.
  • For watering small- to medium-sized areas.

Gate Hardware

  • A variety of latches, pulls, hinges and locking bolts are designed specifically for use on gates.
  • Types of latches include sliding bolt locks, magnetic, thumb action or padlock.
  • Hinges are usually reversible for use on left or right-swinging gates.
  • They come in tee, strap and hook-and-strap configurations.
  • Anti-sag kits are available that eliminate gate sag.
  • Usually constructed of heavy-gauge steel or with a tough polymer housing that is rust-free.
  • Ornamental hardware is often finished in black. Other types may be zinc-coated.


  • Good for shady areas.
  • Has finer blades than Kentucky bluegrass.
  • Usually the dominant seed found in mixes for shade.
  • Red fescue is well adapted to drought soils in both shady and sunny areas.
  • Tall fescue is coarse, but good for areas that need tough grass.

Traveling Sprinkler

  • Self-propelled sprinkler designed to cover large, irregular areas, some as large as 20,00 square feet.
  • One style is the wind-up type. It follows a cord laid out by a user, has two speeds and large hose capacities.
  • Another style is the tractor type. It drags the hose behind as it follows the hose pattern. Better units are heavier, allowing a larger range, and have two speeds.
  • Better models also have a shut-off valve.
  • Delivers water by two arms similar to a rotary sprinkler. Adjusting these arms can change width of coverage.

Floral Snip

  • For pruning, shaping and maintaining houseplants.
  • Usually operates with a scissor action.

Bermuda Grass

  • Spreads by fast-growing surface runners during warm periods.
  • Becomes brown and dormant from first frost until late spring.
  • Not recommended for northern areas.

Sprinkler Timer

  • Attaches to a hose to control sprinkling.
  • Can be either electronic or mechanical.
  • User sets timer for the number of inches of water needed and turns off the sprinkler when the pre-set amount is reached.
  • Some timers can be pre-set to operate for a certain amount of time, regardless of the amount of water discharged.

Landscape Snip

  • Used in the garden or as a household tool.
  • Can cut through many types of material.
  • Has a serrated blade.

Centipede Grass

  • Good in moderate shade and infertile soil.
  • Has few insect or disease problems.
  • A good lawn for hot areas.

Backflow Protector

  • An anti-siphoning device.
  • Prevents reverse flow of water and contaminants back into plumbing pipes through unprotected hoses.
  • Can be plastic or brass.
  • Fits between the threaded faucet and hose.
  • Most plumbing codes require that non-removable breakers be used.
  • Drain in winter to avoid freezing.

Hedge Shear

  • Used to shape ornamental shrubs and clip soft, young growth.
  • Blades are typically 8” to 10” long.
  • Some types have a serrated edge.
  • Some types have notched positions for bulk cuts.
  • Do not use in place of lopping shears or hand shears.

St. Augustine Grass

  • Recommended for Florida and Gulf Coast areas.
  • A coarse, tough grass that requires a power mower but little other maintenance.

Bypass Pruning Shears

  • Has a hook and blade cutting mechanism.
  • Preferred by most professionals because they cut close to the stem and are ideal for cut flowers.
  • Usually used for stems less than 3/4″ in diameter.

Underground Sprinkler

  • Offers timed and pre-measured watering without hoses running through the yard.
  • A basic kit includes pipe and control tubing, valve assembly, sprinklers and electric control center.
  • The safest and most convenient type is the automatic pop-up sprinkler. It can have adjustable spray, bubbler and fixed spray heads for specific watering tasks.
  • Offers water savings as the sprinkler heads apply water at the rate of a gentle rain.
  • Reduces water loss from erosive run-off. System is freeze-proof and can be winterized quickly.
  • Sprinkler heads are mounted flush with the ground and out of the way of mowing equipment and children.
  • Control center runs from any 110V outlet.

Cooking Grate

cooking grate

Cooking grates are used in grills. This is what the food is placed on so that it doesn’t fall into the fire/burners. Some grills have multiple shelving options for food that needs to be close to or away from the heat.

Zoysia Grass

  • Planted by plugs.
  • Adapted to sunny areas in warmer parts of the Midwest.
  • Surface runners make a dense mat, which reduces weeds and crabgrass.
  • Turns brown slowly in mid-fall and remains dormant until mid-spring.

Anvil Pruning Shears

  • Has a straight edge blade that cuts against a soft metal anvil.
  • Good for cutting dead wood.
  • Lighter than bypass pruning shears and easier to sharpen.
  • Usually used for stems less than 3/4” in diameter.

Drip Irrigation System

  • Placed close to plant roots to water slowly and evenly.
  • Installed on top of the soil.
  • The key fitting is the emitter or dripper head. It has a small orifice and fits on the end of the hose.
  • Systems are easy to install and come with all of the necessary accessories such as hose adapters, couplings, emitters, spikes and clamps.

Weed Trimmer

  • Used for trimming weeds where lawn mowers cannot reach.
  • Comes in electric and gas-powered versions.
  • Some gasoline models have a two-cycle engine, which uses a blend of two-cycle oil and gasoline in the gas tank. Gasoline models with a four-cycle engine do not require mixed gasoline.
  • D-handles are usually adjustable and allow for left- or right-handed use.
  • A strong monofilament nylon line serves as the cutting blade. Cutting path is typically 17”.
  • Straight shaft trimmers allow for easy trimming under shrubs and branches. Curved shaft trimmers are easier for trimming along sidewalks, etc.
  • Some models have a head that can twist and convert the tool into an edger.

Lopping Shears

  • Has long handles and tempered steel blades.
  • Used to cut through heavy underbrush and branches up to 3” thick.
  • Available in anvil or bypass styles.

Lawn Cart

  • Also called a utility cart.
  • Carries bulky material such as mulch, shrubs or fertilizer around the yard.
  • Can be made of metal, poly plastic or wood and has two wheels.
  • Has a V or hopper-shaped bottom and a front spout for easy dumping.
  • Typical capacity is 3 to 4 cu. ft.
  • Features may include deep tool trays to keep tools organized and tool clips on the side for hanging garden tools.

Draw-Cut Trimmer

  • Good for a variety of cutting applications.
  • Has one stationary lower blade and one moving upper blade.
  • Operates by an up and down squeeze of the handle.
  • Blades are typically tempered steel.


Tree Pruner

  • Pruning shears or a pruning saw is attached to a long pole that will accept extensions or operates with a telescoping action.
  • Some models have a rope and pulley configuration where the user pulls the rope to instigate the cutting action.
  • Typical pole length is 6 to 12 feet, but some reach up to 20’.
  • Used for high work or where a ladder cannot be used.

Hedge Trimmer

  • Typically comes in electric or cordless models.
  • Uses two, double-sided reciprocating blades to trim shrubs and hedges. Some models may have single-sided blades.
  • Better models have vibration reduction features that ease the strain on the user.
  • Blade lengths can range from 20” to 30”.
  • Other features include two large ergonomic handles, a blade guard, a throttle starting lock that prevents accidental engagement of the blade and start/stop controls on the handle.

Scissor-Action Trimmer

  • Similar to a draw-cut trimmer, but has two moving blades instead of just one.
  • Operates with side-to-side pressure, like ordinary household scissors.


Planter’s Wagon

  • Carries light loads of plants.
  • Some features include a fold-down handle that converts into a seat, a side compartment for storing tools and gloves, a removable tray and the ability to convert to an upright workstation.
  • Larger-capacity carts may be able to carry heavier loads than wheelbarrows but they are less maneuverable.

Leverage-Assisted Trimmer

  • Used for a variety of lawn and garden cutting applications.
  • Uses a cam located between the handles with an off-center pivot that increases the cutting efficiency.
  • Reduces the effort required to squeeze the handles.
  • Designed for one-handed use.
  • Has a safety lock or catch to hold blades together while not in use.



  • Available in gas-powered or electric versions.
  • A wheel rolls along the ground as a guide while an adjustable blade edges sidewalks and trims around trees.
  • Some models feature padded handles and a vibration reduction system to reduce the strain on the user.
  • Other features include a skid plate to protect the blade gearbox, a debris deflector on the blade and a start/stop control on the handle.

Pruning Saw

  • Used to cut dry or green limbs from trees.
  • Used on branches thicker than 1” and other tasks too large for lopping shears.
  • Some models fold for easier storage.
  • Some models have pistol grips handles for better leverage.

Long-Handled Trimmer

  • Used for a variety of cutting applications.
  • Has long handles to relieve crouching and allows user to stand while trimming grass.
  • Some models have a swivel head for more versatility.


Trailer Cart

  • Pulls behind garden tractors and riding mowers.
  • They typically have a dumping mechanism located on the trailer towing bar or tongue. Dump by pulling a rope, releasing the body from the tongue.
  • Smaller capacity types hold 4 to 7 cu. ft.
  • Larger carts can hold from 8 to 17 cu. ft.

Chain Saw

  • Usually gasoline powered, but electric and cordless models are also available.
  • Has an endless chain of cutting teeth that moves at high engine speeds.
  • For cutting and trimming trees and shrubs.
  • Blades sizes typically range from 12” to 36” long.
  • Engines are typically two-cycle, requiring a blend of oil and gas.
  • Standard features on many models include chain brakes forincreased operator safety, a blade guard and automatic oilers.
  • Other features may include carrying cases and large, cushioned anti-vibration handles to reduce the strain on the user.

Hand Edger

  • Used for edging thick sod around walks, flowerbeds, trees and shrubs.
  • Has a long handle with a sharp, high-carbon steel blade.


Bow Saw

  • Used to cut dry or green limbs from trees.
  • Used on branches thicker than 1” and other tasks too large for lopping shears.
  • Blade tightens a tension lever.
  • Has a lightweight, tubular steel frame.


  • Light-duty models typically have a 3 to 4 cu. ft. capacity.
  • Medium-duty models typically have a 4 to 6 cu. ft. capacity.
  • A rollbar in front of the wheel contacts the ground to make dumping heavy loads easier.
  • Tray may be made of aluminum, steel or heavy plastic. Handles are either hardwood or metal.
  • Features a semi-rounded front for easy dumping.
  • Wheels may be solid rubber or pneumatic (inflatable). Inflatable tires are apt to puncture.

Leaf Blower

  • Also called blowers.
  • Uses a high-powered fan to clear the yard, driveway, deck, etc, of leaves and debris.
  • Most common model is hand-held, although some are wheeled.
  • Some models can be converted into a vacuum that collects leaves and debris into a bag.
  • Some vacuum models will turn leaves into mulch.
  • Available in gasoline and cordless models.
  • Gasoline models are typically two-cycle.

Weed Cutter

  • May also be called a swing blade or weed whip.
  • For cutting tall grass and weeds.
  • Operates with a swinging motion.
  • Has a double-edged, serrated blade for cutting on the forward and return swing.

Contractor Wheelbarrow

  • Typically has a 5 to 10 cu. ft. capacity.
  • Tray has a deep front for added capacity and extra bracing.
  • Legs and bracing are made from heavy-gauge steel.
  • Wheel is typically 16” pneumatic.
  • A wide rim bead around the trough adds reinforcement for heavy loads such as cement and bricks.
  • Some models may offer knobby tires for added traction and longer wear.

Garden Tiller

  • Used to loosen and till the ground to prepare it for planting.
  • Also used to turn under lawns that are being repaired.
  • Gasoline engine drives the wheels as well as blades called tines used to break the soil. Wheel action and tine action is controlled separately.
  • Some models have tines that operate with a counter-rotating action.
  • Others use a forward rotating action, which is more common.
  • Till paths from 14” to 20” wide, depending on the size of the tiller and 6” or 8” deep.
  • The rear-tine tiller is used for larger gardens and its weight helps get the job done with little effort from the user. The engine is usually 4 to 8 hp and up and sits in front of the tine. These tillers are heavy and large, but best for heavy-duty work.
  • The front-tine tiller works well for mid-sized areas and some confined spaces, although it can be difficult to maneuver. The engine is usually 3 to 5 hp. It is tough and affordably priced.
  • Tillers with two-cycle engines are lightweight, easy to handle, especially in tight spaces, and are easy to maintain. They are good for cultivating established flowerbeds and gardens.
  • Most tillers have forward and reverse speeds as well as depth adjustments. Some models have attachments that allow for different types of soil preparation.
  • Possible features include a bumper to protect the engine and electric start.


  • Large knife-like tool used for chopping and clearing thick brush and for heavy pruning tasks.
  • Usually has a hardwood handle with a hardened steel blade.

Broadcast Spreader

  • Also called a rotary spreader.
  • Quick, efficient way to spread seed, fertilizer, weed and pest control or ice melt.
  • Has a hopper on a metal cart. The broadcast platform turns as the wheels move across the yard.
  • Used for larger lawns.
  • Feathers the spread of seed, eliminating sharply defined edges of spread.
  • Best for use in lawns that do not have flower beds or gardens in the middle, since it spreads material in all directions.
  • Includes flow setting to adjust for all sizes of seed and granules.
  • Hopper capacity varies with model.

Lawn Mower

  • Usually gasoline powered. Electric and cordless models are available for smaller lawns.
  • Cuts grass with a flat blade that rotates at the speed of the engine.
  • The self-propelled type has an operator-controlled, wheel-drive engagement handle to control forward power.
  • The side-discharge type discharges grass clippings to the right side of the mowing path.
  • The rear-discharge type discharges grass clippings to the rear of the mowing path.
  • Available with an attachable lawn bag to gather lawn clippings.
  • The mulching type is designed to cut and recut grass clippings into fine particles that will fall back, unseen, into the turf.

Long Handle Round Point Shovel

  • Round-tipped blade is made of steel and is forged or hot-formed to the front strap as a single unit.
  • Has better cutting power than a square point shovel.
  • Handle may be wood, fiberglass or metal.
  • Best for digging, mulching or dirt removal.
  • The top of the blade may have a turned lip called the foot pedal.

Drop Spreader

  • Spreads precise seed and fertilizer spreading over smaller areas.
  • Dispenses material with the pull of a lever.
  • Takes longer than the broadcast spreader to complete a task, but offers more precision.
  • Typically spreads in an 18” to 22” path.
  • Includes flow settings to adjust for all sizes of seed and granules.
  • Hopper capacity varies with model.

Lawn Tractor

  • The riding mower, or lawn tractor, cuts grass, but some types can also tow garden carts.
  • Engines may be 13 to 25 hp.
  • Heavy-duty garden tractors have the additional ability to use ground-engaging implements such as tillers, plows, snow throwers, etc.
  • Some models have two or three side-by-side blades that widen the cutting path. Cutting widths can be as wide as 50”.
  • Features may include automatic transmission, cruise control, reverse cutting, adjustable deck heights, the ability to turn on a tight radius, an hours meter and a cast iron front axle.

Long Handle Square Shovel

  • Square blade is made of steel and is forged or hot-formed to the front strap as a single unit.
  • Best used for scooping and removing materials.
  • Broader blade has a higher holding capacity.
  • The top of the blade may have a turned lip called the foot pedal.

Handheld Spreader

  • A handheld version of the broadcast spreader.
  • Used to spread small amounts of fertilizer, grass seed or ice melt.
  • Since it does not have wheels, the spreader uses a hand-turned lever to spin the broadcast platform.
  • Includes flow setting to adjust for all sizes of seed and granules.
  • Hopper capacity varies with model.

D Handle Round Point Shovel

  • End of handle is shaped like the letter “D.”
  • Best for ordinary garden digging jobs.
  • Available in light and heavy weights.

Snow Blower

  • Gasoline or electric powered.
  • A single-stage blower uses a rotating, rubber tipped auger to pick up snow from driveways and sidewalks and throw it either forward or through a chute in a single motion.
  • Do not use a single-stage blower on gravel driveways, as the blower could pick up and sling stones.
  • A two-stage blower can be used on gravel and is best for large areas or deep snow. This blower operates by first picking up snow with a slow turning metal auger, then slinging it out a chute from a fast-spinning impeller. These types are usually self-propelled.
  • Desirable features include easy chute and deflector adjustment, headlights and folding handles for easy storage.
  • Choose the model based on the typical amount of snow in your area. For areas with 12” to 18” of snow, recommend a two-stage model with 7 to 9 hp. For areas with moderate accumulations, recommend a 5.5 to 8 hp machine. For a smooth surfaces and light snowfall, recommend a single-stage blower.
  • Clearing paths for two-stage blowers range from 21” to 31”.

D Handle Square Point Shovel

  • Best for removal of loose soil and handling light materials such as sand and asphalt.
  • Not for heavy digging.
  • Available in light and heavy weights.

Lawn Sweeper

  • Features a cylindrical drum outfitted with rows of bristles that use a rotary sweeping action to pick up leaves, rocks and grass clippings.
  • More efficient than raking and works better on dry and level lawns.
  • A canvas container, usually 6 to 7 cu. ft. capacity, holds collected debris.

Garden Spade

  • Has a square point blade usually about 7” wide and 12” long.
  • Has a D handle.
  • Some have a rolled shoulder on the top of the blade so the user can.

Drain Spade

  • Also called a tilling spade.
  • Used for digging ditches.
  • The top of the blade may have a turned lip called the foot pedal.
  • May have a D handle or long handle.


  • Efficient way to plant seeds in rows in a garden.
  • A blade at the front opens the soil while a dispenser drops the seed into the furrow then pushes soil over it.
  • Comes with seed plates to regulate the spacing of planted seeds.
  • Marks the spot for the next row for even spacing.

Roofing Shovel

  • The straight edge style is used for removing tar and rolled roofing.
  • The notched edge style is used for removing shingles.
  • May have a D handle or long handle.

Ditching Spade

  • For digging and clearing trenches.
  • Has a pointed square blade.
  • Best for use in heavy soil or rocky surfaces.
  • The top of the blade may have a turned lip called the foot pedal.


  • Has a deep blade for moving loose or bulky materials. Not recommended for digging.
  • Most have a D handle but some may have a long handle.
  • An aluminum scoop is light, durable and best for removing snow, grain or any loose material.
  • A heavy-gauge steel scoop is the most durable and can be used for nearly any loose material.
  • An ABS resin and poly scoop is designed for light duties such as snow.

Snow Shovel

  • One variation is the snow pusher.
  • Scoop specifically designed for removing snow.
  • Available in metal and poly blades.
  • Features include ribbed steel blades and a reinforced blade for increased durability.
  • Some have contoured handles to help user avoid back strain.


  • Has a blade at a right angle to the handle.
  • Available with long or short handles.
  • Different models are available for cultivating, planting and picking.