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Freestanding wooden swing seat in a garden, painted bright white and surrounded by green foliage
Sunday is Father's Day and, yes, despite what your dad (or spouse) says, he probably does want a gift. Time to shop!

First piece of advice: skip the big box stores unless you're utterly desperate. Check out their websites and you'll see what I mean. Lowes has a pretty good Father's Day gift-finder page. You can search products based on the type of dad you have. (Lawn dads, wood-working dads, etc.) However, it's hardly inspiring stuff. Example: their suggestion for the dad who has everything? A gift card.

The Home Depot does a little better with its online gift center, but the suggestions are uniformly dull... or just plain stupid. I mean, do you know anyone who would buy dad a $699 pressure washer for Father's Day? Oh, but it's not just Home Depot and Lowes pitching dumb Father's Day gift ideas. Amazon: come on!

Please, oh please, give us ideas we can actually use. Well, here are some of my own ideas for Father's Day gifts. All of my suggestions are budget-friendly and suitable for yardiac dads -- dads who are into gardening, landscaping, and yard maintenance. Yes, it's too late to have these items shipped, but you can find similar items in local stores.


Ever considered giving native plants as gifts? Any dad who's into naturalistic gardens and/or conservation would welcome a new native plant to his yard. PlantNative can help you locate local native plant nurseries and identify native plants suitable for your area.

How about a fruit tree? Again, it may be too late to order online, but you can get ideas from websites like the terrific Aaron's Nursery. For the dad who's interested in dabbling in fruit growing, I'd suggest you start him off with a blueberry plant, since they're relatively easy to grow and pest-resistant.

Believe it or not, shrubs can make good gifts if you stick with dwarf varieties. Many of these grow only a couple of feet tall, with a similar spread. Dad can pop one in front of other foundation shrubs without worrying that it will take over the yard. My personal favorite: Dwarf Loropetalum "Purple Pixie." The deep burgundy leaves provide a nice visual contrast to standard green foliage, plus it's so small no pruning is necessary.


Dad probably already has a pruning tool... or two or three of them. But does he have a telescoping pruning device? I mean a real long-handled tool with a ton of reach for those up-high branches and vines? I, myself, would love to own the Fiskars Telescoping Pruning Stik® 12-foot Tree Pruner ($92.20). This sucker boasts a rotating head, 1-1/4-inch cutting capacity, and it weighs less than five pounds. Only downside is the price.

The Wedgie Planting Tool ($14.99) makes a nice gift for container gardening dads. Brightly colored so you can find it fast, it's handy for getting new plants into soil without making a mess. Just stab it into the soil, wiggle back and forth, and you have an instant planting hole.

Easy Gripper Spigot Handle ($7.99 on sale, regularly $12.95). This clever gadget screws onto stubborn spigots that stick or are in tight, hard-to-reach spots. It provides the extra leverage you need to get the water on and off quickly. Clever and affordable.


Speaking of water... check out the Water-Wise Timer ($21.95). This cool black and yellow gadget won a Green Thumb Award a couple of years back. Attach it to a regular hose and set the timer for anything up to three hours. The timer will cycle the water supply on and off. Like a drip irrigation system, this timer spreads the watering session out over a long period of time, allowing thirsty soil plenty of time to absorb all the moisture it can hold.

LL Bean Barn and Shed Thermometer ($39). At only nine inches in diameter it's not that big, so don't attach it too far away from the window. Still, I like the decidedly masculine unfinished metal design.

Faux Stone Decorative Columns (prices vary). For the yard enthusiast on a budget: these faux stone columns are installed over the top of a regular, treated 4x4 post. One or two installed at your driveway are guaranteed to increase your home's curb appeal. Not for everyone (being fake and all), but clever!


For a humorous take on the weather, check out the Redneck's Weather Forecaster ($12.98), a Jeff (Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?) Foxworthy product. This totally impractical "forecaster" is purely for laughs: it's a rope suspended from a yard sign, accompanied by an interpretive chart. For example: "If the rope is wet...rain. If the rope is moving...windy." And so on. Haw haw.

Yard art is a personal favorite, and if your dad is into stuff that's colorful and whimsical he might like something like this: GeekyBeek and NerdyNeck metal yard birds (prices vary). Choose from vibrant peacocks, ducks, flamingos and more. Totally useless, but fun.

Happy Father's Day!


  • Andy

    Heh, being a yard Dad myself, I can relate to some of these. And if you're going telescoping pruning shears, consider a polesaw. A nice one from Sears is cheaper, has good reach, can lop smaller limbs and saw bigger ones (well, with some patience).

    But, if most those Dad's are like me (and, from those that I know, they are)... well, once we know we want something, we tend to just go get it and get to work. I admit, that can make gifts challenging. So, here's some thoughts (and the family doesn't read this, so I'm not seeding anything out here):

    tools - ideas for unique items can be found in places like Garrett Wade and Lee Valley. Dad has bulb planters? But, does he have a Japanese gardening knife? If he's into learning new ways to do things, that might be appreciated. Lots of items of that sort, practical yet unique, and not all will break the bank. Look around.

    plants - not usually thought of for men, but the gift of flowers can be appreciated. I order from ProFlowers for my own Dad every year. His extensive garden includes at least 100 yd^2 of daylillies alone, so a selection of flowers he doesn't normally see is certainly appreciated.

    expression - find that sidewalk chalk made in a earlier post and put a giant greeting on the driveway with the kids. If you mess up, well, there's always that $699 pressure washer.

    decor -Wind chimes, a fountain (purchased resin, or diy concrete), or that L.L. Bean thermometer are all good choices. Or that stepping stone from another post (or a series of them for a walkway!)

    hammock - if Dad doesn't have a hammock, he needs a hammock. A good hammock can be had for decent money. If he has a hammock, how about some hammock time?

    back to work

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