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Plenty of homeowners adore the idea of a gorgeous lawn and garden—only let's face it, actually creating and maintaining them is dirty, back-breaking work. But guess what? There are a host of tools out there that'll make your job a whole lot easier—and many aren't all that expensive or high-tech, either. Here are a few under $30 to consider buying, so you can spend the bulk of your summer chilling in your hammock and admiring your well-kept grounds.
Intruder water blaster
Deer and other grazing visitors are among the biggest menaces to your expensive shrubbery, but who can keep watch 24/7? Here comes the Aspectek Animal Water Blaster (Amazon.com, $32.99) to the rescue. Just hook up this battery-powered water blaster to a hose, and a built-in motion sensor picks up any movement within a 43-foot radius—then shoots a blast of water at any intruders.
Reviewer Jaclyn Gallegos found it to be an innovative—and entertaining—solution to a common problem.
"I am a dog lover; however, my neighbors' dogs always use my yard for their potty breaks. It's like, no matter what I do, the dogs always come and mark the same territory," she says. But after her husband set up this water blaster, she says, it "scared the poor dogs away. I felt horrible ... but I did chuckle watching them flee. No more poo patrol. Totally affordable and works as described."
Melon and squash cradle
Growing perfect melons and squash was once a true labor of love, since you had to rotate them to avoid rotten spots from forming where they sit on the ground ... but no more. These clever cradles (Burpee, $24.99 for set of six) elevate your favorite fruits and veggies, allowing air to circulate beneath them for even ripening. Made of galvanized steel, these will serve you well, season after season.
A gardener who goes by the name Midwestgreenthumb gives the cradles high marks for supporting some pretty substantial melons: "I bought two sets of these ... and from what I have found, these are the only metal ones on the market. I wanted something that would last. Well ... they [held] my 11lb cantaloupes and 15lb watermelons just fine. I would suggest these to anyone."
Wheelbarrow water bag
Hate lugging buckets of water to the far reaches of your garden? With the help of this wheelbarrow water bag (Jet.com, $17.93) you'll never waste time and energy going back and forth to the spigot. Simply place this 20-gallon bag inside your wheelbarrow, fill it, and water away. You'll be finished in no time.
An Amazon customer explained how this durable bag came in handy: "I used the water bag at our new house. We had no water outlet by our plants, and it worked great!"
Pop-up plant accelerators
Patience might be a virtue, but it sure isn't fun—especially when you're waiting on a tasty harvest. Thanks to these pop-up accelerators (Amazon, $12.95), made of durable, reinforced greenhouse fabric, your fruit and veggies are protected from cold winds and low temperatures, which means you can get your garden growing weeks earlier than you normally would. As the weather warms up, simply unzip the mesh top and let your plants soak up the sun.
Satisfied customer M.L. Yancy shared this glowing review: "Great product, I have tomato blooms on plants and it's only early May."
Bring on the bees! These pollinator push-pops (Uncommon Goods, $18) contain wildflowers that attract specific pollen lovers—bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds—to your property. Each package contains everything you need for a 1-square-foot garden patch. So if your green beans aren't getting enough love from these winged workers, planting these pops should help lure them to your garden.
Waste-free plant waterer
Plant this porous terra-cotta pot (GrowOya, $25) in the ground, fill it with water weekly, and rest assured that your plants nearby will be perfectly watered without effort. Mimicking an ancient form of irrigation, Oya allows just enough water to seep into the surrounding soil (up to a 3-foot radius). Added bonus: You won't waste water as it evaporates or drains off.
Lynn Rye, who left her review on The Grommett, shared how putting this pot to work for her has given her an instant green thumb. "I have two containers on my patio, one with a tomato plant and one with a flowering bush," she says. "I admit, I am not the most faithful waterer, but the GrowOya makes me look like a Master Gardener. Every time I do water, I fill them up and my plants stay perfectly watered. So when our really dry spells do hit, I know my plants will stay perfectly hydrated. Great idea!"
If you detest pests taking over your lawn and garden but don't have the desire to make direct contact, you're in luck. This spider and insect catcher (Amazon.com, $17.49) will do the dirty work for you. This eco-friendly and chemical-free alternative to traditional pesticides allows you to move those critters to new quarters without harming yourself (or these creepy crawlies) in the process. So, how does it work? Simply squeeze the handle to open the bristles, then position it over your unwanted guest, release the handle to contain the bug, and reposition him to his new home by simply squeezing the handle again.