Protect Your Hands
Garden gloves are as essential a tool as a shovel or a rake. It may seem extravagant, but owning three pairs will make a multitude of tasks easier. (Your cuticles will thank you, too.)
Washable synthetic gloves: For general maintenance, such as deadheading, weeding in dry soil, and handling seeds. The thin fabric and snug fit allow your fingers maximum dexterity. Foxgloves (far left), $21, foxglovesinc.com.
Latex-coated cotton gloves: For dirty, wet jobs, like picking up leaves or planting shrubs, and for working with thorny plants (the latex coating is puncture-resistant). Mud Gloves (center), $10, amazon.com.
Heavy-duty leather gloves: For tough jobs, like digging holes, clearing brush, and carrying firewood. Womanswork suede pigskin gloves (left), $27, womanswork.com.
Arm protectors: Consider elasticized sleeves if you often prune brambly shrubs. Little’s Good Gloves arm protectors (similar to what's shown in background), $7 a pair, amazon.com.