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Garden work made easier and healthier

11-Mar-2020

Easy transport is important: The Waterwheel XL with wheels can be moved as easily as a trolley bag. – Photo: Fiskars

Easy transport is important: The Waterwheel XL with wheels can be moved as easily as a trolley bag. – Photo: Fiskars

Lawn mowing, weeding and digging – garden work is not exactly easy on the back and joints. The new generation of garden tools are about to change all that.

At the 19th IVG Garden Media Day in February 2020 in Cologne, Klaus Peter Teipel (klaus peter teipel research & consulting) once again highlighted the current developments in the gardening sector. While much of the interest in recent years has revolved around battery technologies and smart gardening, other things are now getting more attention. According to Teipel, health and ergonomics are among the trend topics of garden year 2020.

When most people hear the word ergonomics, they tend to think of workplace design. Whether office or shop floor, the objective is to optimise processes and equipment so that people can perform their work with as little fatigue or potential damage to their health as possible. This principle is increasingly being applied to gardening hobbyists. Most consumers want tools for domestic use that are user-friendly, easy to handle and make light work of gardening. Ergonomics is therefore becoming a valuable selling point and playing an increasingly important role in the design of lawn and garden equipment.

The PowerGear pruning shears can be operated with little physical effort because the gear mechanism triples the cutting power. – Photo: Fiskars

The PowerGear pruning shears can be operated with little physical effort because the gear mechanism triples the cutting power. – Photo: Fiskars

What makes gardening equipment ergonomic? And how are they different from conventional tools? Here are some essential aspects:

  • Handling the equipment in an anatomically correct and physiological way in an upright posture is essential. The shaft should therefore be adjustable to the person’s height. Pruning shears or gutter cleaners with telescopic handles also eliminate the need for stretching or stooping, whether higher up or at ground level.
  • In the case of manual gardening tools, special attention is given to the handle design. This ensures improved, safe handling while alleviating stress to the shoulders and joints.
  • An ergonomically shaped curved handle also makes the work more enjoyable and back-friendlier because it provides the ideal leverage for the movement patterns.
  • Another important aspect is weight. The more lightweight a garden tool is, the easier it is to work with. This has led to the growing popularity of handles made from materials like aluminium for spades and other tools. For women in particular, tool weight is often a critical factor when making a purchasing decision.
  • Many gardening tools, such as pruning shears, are also often designed specifically for left and right-handed users or can be adjusted for safe and easy operation.
  • Motorised and electric lawn and garden equipment is simple to manoeuver and operate. Additional smart functions also make many tasks easier. Hedge cutters with an angled cutting head for example, make it easy to trim hedge tops as well as groundcover from a standing position.
  • Lawn and garden equipment should be easy and comfortable to move not only during use but also when transporting and stowing it away.

Some manufacturers today are even going a step further – not only do they want their tools to be safe as well as back and joint friendly, they are also offering classic garden tools as fitness equipment. Their innovative features and design can help improve physical health.

More thought is also being given to the requirements for senior-friendly tools. This is in response to surveys showing that many hobby gardeners are in the 70-and-over group. Smaller manufacturers in particular are now also developing and producing special equipment for people with physical limitations who enjoy gardening.

Especially for small areas: The HandyMower Li-18/20 lawn mower can be moved as easily as a vacuum cleaner in the living room. – Photo: Gardena

Especially for small areas: The HandyMower Li-18/20 lawn mower can be moved as easily as a vacuum cleaner in the living room. – Photo: Gardena

At this year’s IVG Garden Media Day, we took a look at some exhibitors and asked to what extent ergonomics plays a role in their current product offerings.

One of the products featured by Fiskars in Cologne was the Waterwheel XL with wheels. The automatic hose reel system is presented as a new era in garden irrigation. From an ergonomic point of view, it is interesting because the smooth surface of the wheels and extendable handle make it very easy to transport. You simply pull the drum behind you like a trolley bag. The PowerGear pruning shears can also be operated with little physical effort because the gear mechanism triples the cutting power. The ergonomic rotating handle for right-handed users facilitate the natural movement of the hand. The Finnish manufacturer has developed the PowerGear X telescopic cutting giraffe for pruning trees and shrubs. Thanks to the extension handle and accessories, hobby gardeners can work up high while keeping both feet on the ground.

Swiss spray equipment specialist Birchmeier also focuses on ergonomics when it comes to its backpack sprayers. The specially shaped tank is perfectly adapted to the human body and also has a very low weight when empty. The entire pumping unit of the RPD 15 backpack sprayer, including the pressure vessel, is integrated into the pump lever. For the operator, this means a lot less effort when spraying. Since the pump lever can be attached on both sides, the unit is ideal for both right- and left-handed users.

The new Gardena HandyMower Li-18/20 is light, compact and easy to manoeuver. The mini lawnmower was developed especially for small city gardens and front gardens. It uses an 18-volt battery and should be as easy and effortless as vacuuming your living room according to the manufacturer. The new 2in1 EnergyCut manual hedge clippers have a patented two-stage gear system. The cutting mode can be switched from “quick cut” for thin branches to “power cut” for denser wood at the push of a button. This delivers up to two and a half times more cutting power. All The Gardena hedge clippers are characterised by ErgoTec handles.

2in1 EnergyCut: All Gardena hedge clippers are characterised by ErgoTec handles. – Photo: Gardena
The specially shaped tank body of the RPD 15 backpack sprayer is perfectly adapted to the human body. – Photo: Birchmeier

2in1 EnergyCut: All Gardena hedge clippers are characterised by ErgoTec handles. – Photo: Gardena

The specially shaped tank body of the RPD 15 backpack sprayer is perfectly adapted to the human body. – Photo: Birchmeier

The new products from Gardena, Fiskars and Birchmeier can also be seen at the upcoming international garden trade fair spoga+gafa from 6 to 8 September in Cologne.

You can find more information about garden creation & care here.
Author: Roland Moers

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