Lawn & Yard Care
By Marty Ross
A good hose is an important—and hard-working—garden tool, but choosing the best one can be confusing. At a garden shop, you’ll find dozens of hoses of different lengths, made of a variety of materials and with different diameters. To choose the best hose for you and garden, dig into the details that you may not have considered before. Let’s take a closer look at the qualities that will make a big difference:
Up To the Task
A good hose is strong enough to stand up to frequent use. If you’ve ever had a hose crack, split or become brittle, you know how frustrating it can be. Take note of what your hose is made of—it’s a good indicator of how easy it will be to use and how long it will last. Gilmour’s Flexogen hoses aren’t just tubes of plastic — they are constructed in eight layers, starting with an abrasion-resistant outer layer, which also resists damage caused by exposure to ultra violet (UV) light. Inner layers of foam and nylon give Flexogen hoses the flexibility to bend as you move around your yard or garden.
Another key feature you may not have thought about is the end of your hose. Even with minimal use, lighter-weight couplings may bend even if you step on them accidentally. The slightest damage to the coupling can make it difficult to attach hoses to spigots, nozzles and sprinklers. Make sure your hose has a heavy-duty brass coupling to withstand dings and drops. No one drives over the end of a hose on purpose, but if you should drive over one of the brass fittings of the hose, it will be fine.
The Long and Short of It
Length is another key feature to consider. There’s no need to buy a 100-foot hose if your yard is tiny, but a hose that’s too short will frustrate you every time you use it. Pace off the distance between each of your outdoor spigots and the edges of your property. It’s better to buy a hose that’s a little longer than you think you need, so you can walk around either side of a tree in the garden, or walk the hose down the front walk and around to the lawn rather than drag it through flower beds.
Gilmour’s Heavy Duty Flexogen hoses come in four lengths, from 25 feet up to 100 feet. If you need an even longer hose, simply buy two hoses and join them with Quick Connectors.
Save the Day—and the Hose
When a hose meets a lawnmower, the lawnmower usually wins. But don’t throw a damaged hose away—a good hose is worth fixing, and all you need is a hose-mending kit. You don’t need any fancy tools. With Gilmour’s Compression Mender, you simply cut the hose on either side of the break with scissors to eliminate ragged edges. Then insert each new end through one of the threaded collars and slide them like sleeves onto the mender. Slide the collars back into the middle and tighten. It only takes a few seconds.
Weathering the Seasons
Good hoses will stand up to all kinds of weather, but you can help by taking extra care of them in winter. Be sure to drain and store them in a frost-free place. Leaving a hose outdoors all season can cause major damage to its structure if water in the hose freezes and expands.
In the fall, place your hose on an elevated surface (such as a picnic table) near the spigot. Fill it with water. Then disconnect the hose at the spigot and let the hose end drop to the ground. The difference in elevation will create a natural siphon, and the hose will empty itself. Or simply stretch the hose out on the lawn, pick up one end and then pull the hose towards you hand over hand, so the water drains out the far end. You can also walk along it, draining it as you go.
Getting the Hang of It
When your hose is drained, put it away out of the weather. Storing a coiled hose on a long nail may cause permanent kinks. Instead, invest in a hose hanger. You’ll be able to coil the hose neatly out of the way on the hanger until spring weather draws you out into the garden again.
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