How to Really Use a Garden Hose

Simple and handy uses for your garden hose that don't involve watering the lawn!

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Stabilize a tree
A short length of old garden hose is a good way to tie a young tree to its stake. You’ll find that the hose is flexible enough to bend when the tree does, but at the same time, it’s strong enough to keep the tree tied to its stake until it can stand on its own. Also, the hose will not damage the bark of the young tree as it grows.

Unclog a downspout
When leaves and debris clog up your rainspout and gutters, turn to your garden hose to get things flowing again. Push the hose up the spout and poke through the blockage. You don’t even have to turn the hose on, because the water in the gutters will flush out the dam.

Cover swing set chains
No parent wants to see his or her child hurt on the backyard swing set. Put a length of old hose over each chain to protect little hands from getting pinched or twisted. If you have access to one end of the chains, just slip the chain through the hose. Otherwise, slit the hose down the middle, and slip it over the swing set chains. Close the slit hose with a few wraps of duct tape.

Make a play phone
Transform your old garden hose into a fun new telephone for the kids. Cut any length of hose you desire. Stick a funnel at each end and attach it with glue or tape. Now the kids can talk for as long as they want, with no roaming charges.

Protect your handsaw and ice skate blades
Keep your handsaw blade sharp and safe by protecting it with a length of garden hose. Just cut a piece of hose to the length you need, slit it along its length, and slip it over the teeth. This is a good way to protect the blades of your ice skates on the way to the rink and your cooking knives when you pack them for a camping trip.

Make a paint can grip
You don’t want that heavy paint can to slip and spill. Plus those thin wire handles can really cut into your hand. Get a better grip by cutting a short length of hose. Slit it down the middle and encase the paint can handle.

Make a sander for curves
If you’ve got a tight concave surface to sand — a piece of cove molding, for example — grab a 10-inch (25-centimeter) length of garden hose. Split open the hose lengthwise and insert one edge of the sand-paper. Wrap it around the hose, cut it to fit, and insert the other end in the slit. Firmly close the slit with a bit of duct tape. Get stroking!