Trowel Project

In the world of gardening and yard work, there exists a fine line between what a trowel can do and when a shovel is needed. I set out to take the best of what a trowel can do, and upgrade its failings to give it more versatility. Through observational studies, I determined the primary areas for improvement primarily revolved around increasing efficiencies and reducing redundant work.

Goals and Results are…


  • Goal: Increased dirt retention.   Result: Added a ledge to forward lip to hold dirt when at vertical as the trowel pulls back from the hole you dug.

  • Goal: Better shape for penetration to hard dirt.   Result: More dramatic arrow shape.

  • Goal: Increased tactile properties for handle.   Result: Flared the spade head away from the handle, gave a tapered effect to allow for a fuller grip, and chamfered the top to be softer for your palm when pushing down on trowel.

  • Goal: Support two handed digging.   Result: Extended the handle to support both hands comfortably.

  • Goal: Add cues for digging.   Results: Added markings for depth cues, and showed meaningful text can be added as reminders.

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Philip Simmons

San Jose, CA 2018