Heavy Garden machinery
Tractors and attachments:
these are best hired with an operator, so that you overcome the problem of road licences and insurance. In any case, many hire firms will not hire their large pieces of machinery without an operator. A small tractor with a bulldozer, excavator or other earth-moving attachment is very useful for heavy clearance work and for loadinginto containers or trucks.
these are extremely useful for moving materials of all kinds. These motorized trucks are available as either two-wheel or four-wheel drive models. Choose a four-wheel drive model if you have rough or uneven ground. Most types are very versatile and manoeuvrable, but allow at least a 1.5 m (5 ‘) width through gates and other passages for access. For most DIY ventures a 750 kg (1 5 cwt) model should prove adequate, but it is wise to ask advice on the most suitable size for your needs. If you have a motor cultivator, you may be able to obtain a two-wheeled truck of about 250 kg (5 cwt) to hitch onto the back. One make is fitted with a pram-type handle so that it can also be pulled by hand. Another design is particularly useful as it can be either pushed or pulled by the cultivator, and is able to turn within its own length—very useful on small or awkwardly-shaped sites. Fitted with pneumatic tyres for smooth running, it also has a tipping action and the back and sides are quickly and easily removed.
Skips, bins and other containers:
if you have a great deal of rubble, refuse or other material to cart away from the site, it is often useful to be able to load it into a large container. Skips, which fit onto specially equipped lorries, are the most practicable and can be hired in most areas.
Construction and layout
Assuming that the overgrown site has now been cleared ofand top growth, unwanted trees and shrubs grubbed out by the roots, hedges cut and rubble removed, equipment of a different nature can now be used to lay out the garden.
this is used for driving stakes or posts into the ground for fencing, for supporting fruit trees and for the skeleton of fruit cages. It avoids the need for standing on steps or boxes to perform the arduous task of driving the stakes in with a sledgehammer or mallet. It consists of a length of hollow steel tubing about 10 cm (4”) in diameter, capped at one end and with handles at each side. To use it, simply slide the hollow tube over a stake, place the stake in an upright position in the place where you want it erected, and pull down on the handles, when the stake will be driven into the ground with each downward thrust.
these are basic tools which are absolutely essential both in the making of a garden and in its maintenance. When pushing a conventional barrow over soft ground, you can use a few planks to make a temporary path. One modern type of barrow, however, has a pneumatic ball of strong plastic instead of a wheel, and rides smoothly over all types of ground. Remember that plastic or fibreglass barrows (and other tools) are strong, rotproof, waterproof and need no painting, but will melt rapidly near a bonfire. Both one-wheeled and two-wheeled barrows are available; the two-wheeled types are more stable.
One make of two-wheeled barrow has a separate, detachable tool compartment.
Rollers: these are needed for the laying of concrete paths, to ensure even consolidation of the aggregate before the surface is laid. If you are laying cold tarmac paths, the roller is of even greater importance. Some modern hand rollers are made of light but tough plastic, and are weighted by filling them with water. In this way the weight can be varied from 4.5—96 kg (10-210 lb) and when you have to move them some distance, you simply remove the water and pick them up with one hand. Always clean and grease your roller after use. Most motorized rollers are much easier to move than conventional iron hand rollers, but tend to be expensive, so it is better to hire one.
Post-hole bores: these make light work of excavating holes for posts for fences and fruit cages. Two kinds are available, those mounted on tractors and smaller, independent units. With both types, the boring unit is a corkscrew-type auger, although some of the smaller ones tend to be too lightweight for the jobs they are expected to perform.
Trench diggers: the job of laying drains is greatly speeded up by using one of these. They dig out the trench by means of a continuous belt to which is attached a series of small cups or paddles. Various sizes are available, to excavate trenches from 15-30 cm (6-12”) in width. Take care to remove all major obstructions when digging trenches on rock- or rubble-strewn ground, to avoid expensive damage.
Concrete mixers: these save a great amount of time and” harrowing when it comes to laying paths or making foundations for frames or greenhouses. Remember to maintain the motor in good order, be careful to mix the sand, cement and aggregate in the correct proportions, never leave concrete in the hopper, and wash it out thoroughly after use. Concrete mixers can also be used for mixing seed and potting composts and fertilizers, so it may be worth buying one. One lightweight portable mixer does not even need a motor; you simply turn the hopper on its side and wheel it along a path or lawn, causing the hopper to revolve and mix the ingredients.