In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook gives advice on shovels.
1. For long-term durability, choose a shovel with a fiberglass handle.
2. Use a pointed shovel to dig holes and a square-blade shovel to move material.
3. When digging holes, step on top edge of the shovel to drive the blade into the ground. Pry back on the handle to break loose the soil.
4. If the ground is too hard to dig with shovel use a grub hoe, which has a wide blade for cutting roots and a sharpened pick for loosening soil.
5. Pry up large rocks and boulders with a long iron bar.
6. Start digging a hole in the center and work out toward the finished diameter.