Favorite Tools

Very often there are garden chores that require a bit more grit.  These are my go- to tools for specific jobs.



Dandelion weeder

A dandelion weeder is one of the most useful garden tools I have. Not only will it help you get weeds out of crevices and from between rocks I also use mine to loosen soil around plants, etc, etc.

Hula hoe or oscillating rake, scuffle hoe or flexrake

Most likely your beds will not have many weeds however if the high desert got rain at just the right time over the winter the rest of your property may have you freaking out.  Time for the hula hoe!

To learn to use it to greatest advantage check out How To’s.

Shop Vac

From gathering leaves for compost to cleaning up mulch a shop vac is very useful in the garden. If you have artificial grass as I do it is the only way to clean off fallen leaves, etc. 

Just remember to take out the filter when you are using it in the garden. 

As long as all you vaccuum up is organic it can then be easily be dumped back into your beds or compost bin.

Find it at

I love this one with wheels! And if you have a pond, one with a drain is essential!

Weed whacker or weed eater

If the weeds have grown faster than you can remove them a weed whacker is the only tool to use that will allow you to keep your sanity – and not ruin your back.

I recommend models with a rechargeable battery so that you can whack anywhere! I have been very happy with the “Worx” brand. And don’t forget to buy extra spools of line.

Power washer

Obviously there are many uses for a power washer.  If you have a pond it is a must!

Find it at

Tree Maintenance

Hedge trimmers

For trimming and shaping smaller branches on hedges or trees.

Bypass loppers

For larger branches

These can be found in varying handle lengths and some even have telescoping handles for hard to reach branches.

Pole chainsaw

If you have some very large trees that need trimming get out the big guns!  (Think Palo Verde) I call this “a chainsaw on a pole”. With a telescoping handle this will help you reach even the tallest branches.

They can be a bit unwieldy to handle but can save you from an expensive tree trimmer. Don’t forget the chainsaw oil!

Other useful tools

Sawzall or reciprocating saw

This is by far my #1 all around tool. I use this for so many jobs that I can’t even list them all. Not sure if I love this tool or my Dremel more. And I was originally deathly afraid of it.

Get landscaping blades in various lengths and there will be no stopping you on any chore.

Landscape Blades

Find it at

Best price

Wood chipper/mulcher

For super DIYers this is another handy tool.  You can chip smaller branches for mulch. You can also feed through dried plant material and leaves for your compost pile.

Beware – affordable wood chippers are not all that powerful. Stick with smaller branches or you will jam it up.

Tools I thought I had to have but hate

Leaf Blower/Vacuum

I’ll be honest – I thought I had to have one of these to clean up in the spring. My intent was to vacuum up all the fallen leaves and debris. Honestly I hate it. It is loud, hurts my back and doesn’t really do a very good job.

I have better luck sucking up all of that stuff with a shop vac.


I have had several of these and avoided using them whenever I could. 

I find that even the 10″ models are too big to get into the space I am working in. Chains slip, oil leaks and it’s all a mess to me. I will grab the sawzall every time instead.

Practical advice from a home gardener

I am Deborah Valiquet – artist and obsessive gardener. Here you will find my advice for creating a garden oasis in the high desert. I’ll share my experiences – successes and failures over the last 10+ years. 

Even if your garden isn’t in the high desert you will find lots of valuable information here. Let’s dig in!