Welcome to the kickoff installment of a special weekly summertime series, “Not of the garden variety," that's all about exceptional, mostly eco-friendly outdoor living accessories and odds and ends — items for in and around the garden that you won't find in the backyards of every Tom, Dick and Harry. Just think of it as an agrarian, soil-centric companion to “All decked out,” my ongoing series from the summer of 2010 that focused primarily on beautifying, relaxing on, and debugging your deck, patio, lanai, porch, terrace, or what have you.

While future “Not of the garden variety” posts will touch on the more blissfully indolent side of outdoor living (think designer eco-hammocks and recycled pitchers to pour your post-weeding sangria in), the first few installments will be all about greenthumbed grunt work and the not-always-pretty, utilitarian items that most avid gardeners consider to be compulsory: watering cans, compost bins, gloves, stools, trugs/tool bags, and the subject of today’s post: short-handled hand tools. Below you’ll find 10 non-cheapo garden tool staples — trowels, pruners, hoes and the like — that are built to last through more than just a couple of seasons in the dirt. Most are heirloom quality, handcrafted, and certainly not of the disposable variety.

Do you have a favorite gardening tool company that produces top-notch, long-lasting products? Tell me about them in the comments section below. What specific tool is your “must-have” item?

Hand-Forged Pointed Hoe @ Terrain ($54)

Smith & Hawken Garden Fork @ Target ($9.99)

Hori Hori Garden Knife @ Duluth Trading Company ($25)

Dewit Forged Cape Cod Weeder @ Clean Air Gardening ($26.99)

Felco #2 Classic Hand Pruner @ Gempler's ($42.50)

Stainless Claw Cultivator by Burgon & Ball @ Arbor and Vine ($16.95)

Gardeners Multi-Tool by Spear & Jackson @ aHa! Modern Living ($18)

Okubo Garden Shears @ Terrain ($38)

Sneeboer Right Handed Hoe @ Restoration Hardware ($28.99)

Soboten Heirloom Transplant Trowel @ Sprout Home ($7.95)

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Not of the garden variety: Hand tools
These aren't the most glamorous gardening accoutrements, but you should seek out handcrafted, heirloom quality hand tools that will last longer than a couple of