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Gardening With The Right Tools

Keeping your lawn green and plants perky during the dog days of summer is a challenge. But using the right tools can make the job easier.

As part of The Early Show continuing series "Simple Solutions" with Real Simple magazine, Kris Connell visits Tuesday to show the best hoses and accessories on the market.

All-Purpose Hose
Gilmour Flexogen 50-foot hose
Price: $25

Finally, a hose that won't leak or kink, thanks to special patented foam layers. When buying a quality hose, look for a six- or eight-ply hose with all brass couplings. An added bonus on the Gilmour hose: an antimicrobial treatment helps stave off mold and mildew. According to Connell, this hose should last forever; purchasing a top-quality hose insures that you only need to buy one hose in your lifetime. The Gilmour company apparently agrees that you should never need to buy another hose: this product comes with a lifetime guarantee. Hose is also available in 25- and 100-foot lengths.

Soaker Hose
Fiskars Pro-Series 75-foot hose
Price: $20

A soaker hose can make watering flowerbeds and bushes much easier. Lay the hose among your flowers or bury it just under the soil surface. Then, turn on the water and let the hose do the rest. It's full of tiny holes, which allow water to slowly trickle out and feed your plants. A soaker hose will need to be replaced from time to time. It will last longer if you bring it inside during the winter. It is also available in 100-foot lengths.

Caddy For Small Yards
Plow & Hearth Lawn Hose Caddy
Price: $30

After watering, you shouldn't leave your hose piled on the ground or behind the air conditioner. A hose holder or caddy makes your yard look tidy, and insures that the hose is ready to go the next time you need to use it. It unwinds neatly from the caddy and stays cleaner. This particular model is best for small yards because it holds only 150 feet of hose. The all-steel caddy stakes directly into the ground.

Decorative Caddy
Smith & Hawken Glazed Hose Pot
Price: $63.20

This is an elegant way to store up to 100 feet of hose, right on a patio or deck. The hose holder is a blue glazed clay pot with a wide mouth, allowing you to coil the hose inside. The hose feeds out through a hole in the side of the pot to attach to a water source. Excess water drains out through drainage holes in the bottom.

Caddy For Large Yards
Ace Hardware Steel Hose Reel
Price: $89.99

This hose organizer holds 200 feet of hose and is on rugged wheels, so you can push it wherever it needs to go. The caddy is narrow enough to fit easily through gates and a hand crank makes rolling up the hose effortless.

Nozzle
Frontgate Ultimate Hose Nozzle
Price: $39

A good nozzle on the end of your hose gives you the power to wash a car or rinse off the driveway. This super-hero of garden hose nozzles won't leak, rust or corrode. You can even run over it with your car without damaging it! You can adjust the spray pattern from a soft mist - perfect for watering plants - to a heavy-duty stream. Yes, you can buy plastic versions of a hose nozzle for just a few dollars, but those don't have the staying power or range of features available on this model.

Water Wand
Smith & Hawken Large Telescoping Wand
Price: $32

Simply snap this onto the end of your hose and you suddenly have an easy way to water hanging baskets and other hard-to-reach spots. The wand extends to 53 inches and has a rotating sprinkler head with 10 different water patterns.

Sprinkler
Brookstone 360-degree Water Sprinkler
Price: $35

When watering your entire lawn, you need a sprinkler that's going to get the job done. This new model from Brookstone can rotate in an entire circle and can cover an area as small as three feet to as large as 4,000 square feet. The sprinkler has a weighted base so it won't tip over easily, and its bright orange color insures you won't blindly run over it with the lawn mower. Real Simple's favorite feature, however, is turbine technology, which keeps the sprinkler very quiet.

Although many people don't think of Brookstone as a good place for garden supplies, the store's parent company also owns two garden catalogues/Web sites - Gardener's Eden and Hard-to-Find Tools. The company has been making garden tools for years.

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