Garden hoses are an indispensable, if troublesome, garden accessory. They seem to inexplicably develop kinks and knots overnight while lying in the garden. Regardless of the type you buy, give them proper care to prolong their useful life. Don't leave hoses lying in the sun or where they might be run over by the car. Wind them up after each use. Drain them and store them in a shed or garage over the winter.
Garden hoses are generally made of either natural rubber or a synthetic product, such as vinyl or plastic. They come in 1/2-inch, 5/8-inch, 3/4-inch and 1-inch diameters, and range in length from 25 feet to 100 feet long. Hoses also vary in their thickness. The more expensive and more durable hoses typically have multiple layers, and some include a mesh layer in between layers of rubber or vinyl. In general, rubber hoses are more durable and are easier to wind up, although they cost more.
If you use your garden hoses for regularly watering large expanses of lawn or vegetable gardens, then a high-quality rubber hose is a must. These hoses last longer, are easier to store and have fewer kinks than their plastic or vinyl counterparts. If, on the other hand, you use your hose to occasionally water a few pots of plants, an inexpensive vinyl hose may suffice.
When choosing a hose, keep in mind that vinyl hoses are hard and don't roll up easily. They also crack in cold weather and are more likely to develop leaks. Regardless of the type of hose you buy, narrow hoses tend to have lower water pressure than wide hoses. Long hoses have lower water pressure than short ones.
If you have a large yard or are an avid gardener, invest in good tools, including quality hoses. Choose a 3/4-inch rubber hose with brass couplings. Invest in some good nozzles and perhaps a sprayer for applying fertiliser. Buy a 25-foot vinyl hose for occasional garden use.
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