It doesn’t matter whether you’re a professional landscaper or an enthusiastic hobby gardener, working in the great outdoors requires clothing that can stand up to a whole range of conditions, temperatures, and punishment. Just like with hearing protection, arm and leg protection should be considered a necessity.
Making sure you’re sheltered from the sun, protected from the cold, and still capable of moving around freely can make all the difference between a carefree afternoon of lawn maintenance and a sweaty, frustrating nightmare that has you vowing never to fire up the mower again.
Lawn care and gardening also call for clothing that can deal with a fair amount of rough and tumble – thorns, straggling branches, dirt, stones, and grass all come together to stretch, test and muddy the material of your shirt and pants. You need material that can repel stains and wash easily.
Finally, you want to be able to move and stretch, without compromising on the toughness of your material. Combining durability with flexibility is often a difficult but vital test that all respectable workwear brands have to pass when making clothes to suit these conditions.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of the frontrunners of the industry, and breaking down some of their best and most affordable clothing items for lawn lovers across the country.
Dickies have a hard-earned reputation for producing affordable, no-nonsense working clothes for everyday professionals as well as home hobby enthusiasts. This iconic brand started out as a small, Texas-based bib overall maker before growing into an internationally recognisable and widely loved staple of the clothing industry.
Dickies offer simple, functional clothes that can stand-up to the rigors of the outdoors, without adding anything too flashy into the mix. Their FLEX Cooling Regular Fit Utility Shorts ($34.99) are a great, budget-friendly option perfect for high temperature gardening, with an active waist to keep things flexible and comfy. Multi-use zipper pockets also make these more ergonomic than other basic cargo shorts.
If you’re looking for a durable, rip-proof top, their Duratech Ranger Ripstop Shirt ($49.99) shirt is made from tough, tear-proof fabric which also repels water. The roll tab sleeves fold up neatly and securely for when you need to get your hands dirty, and it even comes with a zipper security pocket to help keep valuables or small tools safely on your person.
Another heavy-weight of the workwear scene, Carhartt started expanding beyond just the manufacture of workshop and industrial clothing in the 1990s. Now, this popular brand produce a range of casual as well as work-oriented clothes, but much of their gear is perfect for gardening in all weathers.
For pure durability, their Double-front Washed Duck Work Pants ($59.99) are hard to beat. Double layered knees with openings that can be used both for cleaning out dirt and for inserting knee pads if desired are some of the toughest in the business, great for rooting around in the flower bed. These pants are also roomy and boast plenty of space, with multiple pockets and a hammer loop to hang extra gardening tools on.
Carhartt also design the classic K87 Pocket T-shirt ($11.99 – $24.99), an iconic, down-to-earth tee that’s great for summer lawn mowing sessions or days in the backyard. It’s been loved by workers for decades due to its affordability and simple, functional design. It also comes in a whole host of colors to suit a range of tastes.
At first glance, Red Cap appear to have a similar history to Dickies. Starting out more than 100 years ago as an overall bib manufacturer, they’ve now expanded into one of the most recognisable producers of solid, durable workwear, and continue to be the go-to-brand for many a keen gardener or workshop hobbyist.
Their Pro Airflow Workshirts ($36.49 – $43.49) are a popular choice for anyone looking for a hard-wearing but cool shirt, capable of standing up to heat and rough use. Their moisture wicking material helps keep you fresh, whilst their Touchtex™ fabric helps to retain color even with regular washing. The shirts come in short and long sleeve options for UV protection, and for a few dollars extra you can upgrade to MIMIX™ ripstop fabric, with extra stretch and mobility.
The MIMIX™ Utility Pants ($46.99 – $50.99) are another great option for lawn maintenance. Made from the same material as the workshirts, these pants are a great combination of tough and stretchy, allowing you to flex, move and work with ease, whilst not having to worry about fragile material that can easily tear.
For gardeners and lawn lovers who want durability as well as functionality, Duluth Trading Co. offer an attractive range of clothing. Some of their toughest products aren’t necessarily designed with hot weather in mind, but when it comes to hard-wearing, rugged designs that stand up to regular use, they’re tough to beat.
The Flex Firehose Work Pants ($55) have all the features and durability you would expect from a high-end pair of utility pants, all at an impressive price. Their FendOff Finish® treatment makes it more difficult for water and stains to dig in, whilst the fabric itself has been redesigned to be just as tough as the company’s classic work pants, whilst being even lighter than their original Fire Hose canvas.
These pants also have 3% spandex woven in, allowing for maximum mobility and stretch. As you’d expect from top-tier work clothing, these pants come with a whole range of extra deep pockets and secure flaps. Triple stitched seams and reinforced gussets make these some of the toughest pants on the market.
And for those who like to keep their gardening tools with them, the Dirt Work Vest ($79.50) is a handy, sleeveless addition to your landscaping outfit. Elastic straps by the pockets allow you to hang items such as trowels or hand-forks with ease. Built-in ‘spillways’ in the pockets make it easy to empty them of dirt at the end of a hard day in the vegetable patch. You’ll be pleased with this feature, because there are 12 pockets in total, so plenty of places for dirt to hide! If you’re worried about getting too hot, the back of the vest is made from mesh material, helping to improve breathability during the warmer months.
Scruffs are in fact a UK company who are better known for designing products for tradespeople, such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. However, their sturdy, no-nonsense, and thoroughly affordable designs are increasingly marking them out as a go-to brand for keen gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts, not just builders and construction workers.
Their popular, flagship Trade Shorts ($40) come with heavy duty fabric, tool loops, and plenty of cargo pockets. They stand up great to a hard day weeding, mowing, or tending to the lawn, and are designed to be washed and used again and again. Since they’re manufactured with professional workers in mind, and trusted by thousands, a pair of these should easily last you decades of yard work.
Keeping cool is also possible with Scruffs’ Trade Active Polo ($40), spun from lightweight, fast drying polyester with breathable mesh panels that help keep you cool even while you’re moving around. There’s also plenty of sleeve space to ensure you don’t feel too tightly bound. These, as well as other Scruffs products, are widely available through Amazon and other online retailers.