Believe it or not, we weren't born yard professionals. For a little over a decade now, we consider ourselves Orlando landscape and hardscape design experts, with real chops when it comes to irrigation installation and sod. Before that, we were students. We learned about all of the different types of sod that can thrive here in Central Florida, as well as all of the varieties that cannot. We mastered landscape design by studying design principles, and immersing ourselves in all of the different elements of a beautiful yard. It wasn't easy, but it was worth.
When you set out to master anything, it may seem daunting at first. How am I going to read all these books? How do I know if this is going to work?
The secret to following through, is taking your quest step-by-step, and day-by-day. So for anyone interested in mastering landscapes, here is step one.
Learning the Tools of Landscape Design
Whether you are a big shot landscape designer, or simply a weekend warrior, at some point or another you will have to become very familiar with your tools. Here a couple of the fundamental tools that might want to pick up if you are thinking of learning the trade.
There are a million types of shovels out there, but the two most important are the spade shovel, and the scoop shovel. The spade shovel comes to a pointed tip, which helps you to break earth, and dig deeper. The scoop shovel has a wide mouth, and holds a large volume of whatever you are moving. Think of it like this: spade shovel for digging, scoop shovel for distributing.
Like shovels, there are also many types of rakes out there. The chances are that when you are starting out in taking on landscape projects, you will have to spread some dirt. You will want what is called a bow rake for jobs like this. Bow rakes are sturdy, sharp rakes that won't bend under the weight of your pull. Leave rakes on the other hand are more flimsy, so as to not destroy your lawn, pavers, or driver when using them.
While many people seem to think that hoes are for moving soil, and chopping earth, the truth is that the hoe is meant for a much gentler action: weeding. Gardeners use hoes regularly to efficiently scrape weeds out of their soil beds and gardens. Here is a good video on proper hoe usage.
Pretty much built for destruction, the axes and sledgehammers of the world will help you to break down old trees, break up unwanted rock and hardscapes. Sledgehammers are also important for hammering stakes, and other structural elements that you might need to drive.
Cultivators are very important tools for areas that need to be nutrient rich, like vegetable gardens or flower beds. The cultivator will help you to mix your fertilizer, compost, and soil until it is properly blended, giving your plants a good chance at blossoming.
Shears come in all shapes and sizes. Some are meant for trimming trees, while others are designed for cutting delicate flowers. You may just want to pick up one of each, however if that isn't in your budget, you can always find a versatile mid-spectrum pair.
When it comes to hauling dirt, plants, trees, gravel, or anything else, wheelbarrows are the name of the game. Wheelbarrows also come in many different shapes and sizes these days, many of which are designed to help you lift efficiently, without hurting your back. Two-wheeled wheelbarrows have also become popular, adding a bit of stability to your load.
I know what you're saying: Gloves aren't tools! That may be so, but for the purposes of this article we felt it necessary to include them. Working with gloves on is safer, and better for your stamina. When starting out in landscape labor, before your hands become callus, gloves will help to prevent blisters and cuts.
Bonus: Hand Versions of the Tools
Many of the tools mentioned above also come in hand varieties for smaller tasks, such as potting plants. You wouldn't dig a tree hole with a hand shovel, just as you probably wouldn't plant tulip bulbs with a spade shovel. Picking up a couple hand garden tools isn't a bad idea if you are serious about your landscape.
For anything landscape, hardscape, sod, or irrigation related, call Ground Source at (407) 378-5366. No matter where you are in Central Florida, we are here to help.