Pick: (top photo, center and right) For removing Bermuda grass. Use a dropping motion so that the tool does the work for you. "A very brute tool and a very delicate tool," Tan says. Railroad Clay Pick, $13.79, Ace Hardware.
Water diffusing nozzle: Eriksson uses the Dramm 1000PL Redhead water breaker. "It allows me to water plugs or seedlings with an ultra soft shower, which will not disturb delicate soil or harm tender plants." Hard to find. $2.99 at Green Arrow and Internet suppliers.
Pitching, digging and carting
Garden fork: The signature tool at Filoli. Helgoe worked as lead gardener at the Bay Area estate's 16-acre garden before moving to Los Angeles. Alex Fernandez has been Filoli's garden manager since 1994. Both chose the garden fork with a D-handle (bottom) as their No. 1 tool. "It's often mistaken for a pitchfork but the tines of a pitchfork are meant to pick things up. With a spading fork, the tines are flatter and wider to pierce and release the soil. You can turn and aerate a large amount of ground rapidly with little fatigue." From $19.83 at Lowe's, $28.96 at Home Depot; garden fork and spade from Smith & Hawken for $39; and for serious gardeners, English Spear & Jackson forks in small and medium sizes from $67.95 to $69.95 from GardenTalk catalog, (800) 822-4114, http://www.gardentalk.com .
Pitch fork: When moving mulch and turning compost, shovels cannot penetrate the bulk. The small faces and long wooden handles of the ones pictured (top and center) are the perfect weight and size for a reasonably fit back and arms. Larger versions, such as the Ames 5-Tine Compost Fork, $28.97 at Lowe's, or the 5 Tine Kodiak Manure Fork, $26.16, at Home Depot, hold more but require more lifting power.
Garden spade: Companion tool to the garden fork with a D-grip and a rectangular head. "It is excellent edging beds," says Fernandez. "It cuts evenly through turf and roots. " (See garden fork for suppliers.)
Snow shovel: Nicholas Tan of Urban Organics runs broad-lipped snow shovels over pavement to collect displaced earth and move it back into beds, then tamps down the site before planting. Try the Ames Aluminum Scoop Shovel for $29.98 at Lowe's.
Lady shovel: Four votes. Long, wood-handled with a small face and round point. "It allows me to get into small spots succinctly without making a big mess," says designer Gunter. "It's fast, precise and there is no waste of energy." Ames Kodiak version, $26.99, from Ace Hardware.
Posthole digger: For large holes in clay soil. From $17.49 at Ace Hardware.
Wheelbarrow: Don't carry what you can push, says Tan. True Temper contractor barrow, $79.95, from Home Depot with tubeless tires to avoid flats.