Picking the right shovel for the job saves time-and can save your back as well. Here are a few shovels you'll want in your gardening lineup.
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The classic round-point shovel has a sharp, slightly curved blade that's perfect for digging holes and cutting into compacted soil. Square-point shovels, which often have turned-up edges, are best for scooping up loose material like mulch. Garden spades, which have long handles and flat, square-point blades, are tailor-made for edging and breaking up clumps.
Shovels come in a variety of lengths, and some have grips shaped like the letter “t” or “d.” Some people feel that a D-shaped grip gives more control in scooping and tossing, but that's just a personal preference.
Look for a strong connection between the handle and the blade, and make sure the step of the blade-the top edge where your foot rests-is wide enough for your foot, and turned or rolled for comfort.
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For more on outdoor tools, consider:
How To: Care for Garden Tools
9 Essential Tools for Every Gardener
10 Wheelbarrows to Lighten Your Load