How to establish healthy gardening habits

Long-handled tools are a wise investment

Long-handled tools are a wise investment - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

While caring for your garden can be enjoyable and rewarding, it can also be bad for your health.

Side effects suffered by the green-fingered amongst us can include everything from backache to sore knees – but it needn’t be this way.

Local garden designer Jane Thomas shares her expert tips for maintaining a lovely landscape without compromising your health.

Start slowly

Warm up before beginning gardening by stretching muscles. Take plenty of breaks, drink lots.

Be sensible

Lift by bending your knees and keeping your back straight. Have a wheelbarrow or trug nearby to collect weeds and save you having to bend down. A padded kneeler will protect your knees.

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Put secateurs in a holster attached to your belt – this saves having to constantly bend down to pick them up. Use hoses on reels or an automated irrigation system in your garden. Don’t use heavy watering cans; if you do have one, only fill it halfway.

Choose your tools wisely

Get long-handled tools, such as a weed killer applicator and a trowel or fork. Some tools have extensions or telescopic arms which reduce your need to stretch. Use pruners and loppers that have a ratchet system, as this makes cutting easier and saves putting pressure on the back and shoulders. Keep the blades sharp to avoid extra strain.

Plan ahead

Consider having raised beds to reduce the need to bend down, or keep flower beds narrow so you don’t have to stretch over plants.