Tools Of The Landscaping Art

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Battery-Powered Tools March 21, 2010

Filed under: Hand Tools — stevesned @ 5:08 pm

For the ultimate in portability and function, landscapers and – well heck – everyone alive who weilds any tool at all should welcome this stunning pass in electronics. These days, if I have to fix a fence or cut and repair a pipe in some narrow little trench, with a pipe sunk 2 feet below the surface of the ground, there are new, exciting and very easy ways to find a remedy. I can now pack up a battery-powered circular saw or Sawzall or drill or just exactly anything in the power tool realm these days, snap a battery on and be working productively in seconds flat. It used to be, I was  relegated to knuckle-busting hand tools owing to the remoteness from electrical outlets and the need for 300′ of extension cords in inclement weather.

A nice long Sawzall blade can cut through a pipe in a second or two while using only one hand. The tops of fences, the trimming of fence panels, trellises, Gazebo parts and the likes can be done with a lightweight, portable circular saw in those same seconds flat. Indeed, this technological advance achieves better work in less time, saving absolutely everyone – from client to businessman – a lot of time and money.

I must have owned 5-6 of these packages in my time. Naturally, we’re speaking of a guy who operates loud machines with bad visibility, so we’re talking about smashing even the best of tools owing to visibility problems and haste. Other folks value these items with their lives owing to their incredible utility. Just because I am a slob does not mean anyone else is. The value of these machines is absolutely irreplaceable.


The Landscape Rake January 6, 2010

Filed under: Hand Tools — stevesned @ 5:09 pm

One of my first purchases for “tooling up” a landscaping operation is one of these shown above. Especially in environments which support the use and installations of large grass lawns, rakes like these are the business end of the “Final Grading” operation – the step that leads to actually laying down the sod. I have always typical gone for a 42″ size one – 3 and a half feet wide – because I found it met my own level of strength and ease of operation. Here, for example, is what a field prior to sodding looks like – as benefitted from its final raking with one of these big babies:

The wide swaths it addresses simply make it a far more functional plane for which evening things out and making a perfect surface with filling and cutting able to perform at the same time. The tines also actually do separate out such items as remaining roots and larger objects from the dirt itself, getting caught up when the rake is at a proper angle.

Enterprising landscapers can find any number of other uses as well, from final cleanups and scooting branches and debris into a pile to using the back straight plane for initial leveling for pavers, working on sand and base rock.

This tool is in every single landscaper’s arsenal for good reason.


What is a “Screed”? December 19, 2009

Filed under: Hand Tools — stevesned @ 1:34 am

(click any image to enlarge)

At its simplest, a screed is any mechanism used to produce a completely flat plane. The notched end of the 2 x 4 in the picture above shows us a pre-measured end which “rides” the rails of other wood pieces, permanently embedded along equally pre-measured lines, but, in this case, in two dimensions – height/level and width. By pulling the sand which is poured over the compacted base rock in the picture above, we reach a perfect plane, suitable for laying the brick pavers on top of. Here, they will be fitted into position only needing a final pass with a compactor to compress down into their final resting spots.

Here is an even better look:

Here is a look at a product from PaveTech which I have tried a few times. It works just fine and you can stand up while screeding, a never-to-be-underestimated benefit. I always personally have opted for my own constructed devices, but these are most definitely worth trying. Many people definitely prefer them.