Must Have Gardening Tools – Learn About Common Garden Tools And Equipment

By Heather Rhoades and Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

If you’re in the market for garden tools, one stroll through the tool section of any garden center or hardware store can make your head spin. What kind of garden tools and equipment do you need, and what are the best tools for garden and lawn?

Information about Gardening Tools and Equipment

The best kinds of tools vary widely depending on a huge number of factors, ranging from your physical ability, size of your garden, type of soil and even your gardening style. For example, an urban dweller with a balcony full of containers requires very different tools than a homeowner with a huge vegetable garden or an orchard.

The best way to proceed is to start with a few essential tools that will serve you well for nearly any type of gardening. You can always expand your tool collection with more specialized tools later, especially as your garden grows. This is true for those seeking lawn equipment as well.

Must Have Gardening Tools

While there are essentially all kinds of tools to choose from, here are suggestions for a few basic tools for garden and lawn that are definite must-haves for nearly anyone who gardens and any type of garden.

Gardening gloves – Don’t even think about gardening until you have a good pair of gardening gloves whether you have a big garden area or a few containers. They needn’t be expensive, but a sturdy, comfortable pair will keep your hands clean and blister-free. Gloves will also protect your fingers from thorns, burs and slivers.

Trowel – You’ll definitely need a hand trowel for digging small holes for planting perennials, annuals or bulbs, or a host of other small digging jobs. Garden trowels also come in handy when scooping and moving soil during potting or repotting of plants.

Garden scissors – You may be surprised at just how often you depend on garden scissors for trimming small branches, harvesting herbs, deadheading plants or cutting flowers for floral arrangements. Again, these are useful tools for anyone to have on hand.

Shovel – Although general-purpose shovels are often used for digging, they are best for moving and lifting materials such as mulch, compost, soil or gravel from one area to another.

Spade – A spade is even more important than a shovel, so if your budget is limited, opt for the spade and leave the shovel for later. A good spade is useful for digging heavy soil, breaking up dirt, removing sod, breaking up roots or edging a flower bed.

Hoe – Hoes are used mostly for weeding and cultivating. There are many types of hoes on the market, including triangle hoes that are especially good for working in tight spots and scuffle hoes that slice weeds from the surface of the soil.

Garden fork – Also known as a digging fork, this tool may not be essential if you have a small, tidy yard, but a good garden fork will serve you well if you need to loosen up firmly packed or rocky soil, remove clumps of plants without losing too much soil, or if you need to mix in compost or other soil amendments.

Rake – A leaf rake is a must if you have trees on your property. A steel rake is required if you need to smooth out the soil surface or work in compost or fertilizer. Most vegetable gardeners depend on steel rakes.

Kinds of Tools for the Lawn

Even if your lawn is somewhat small, certain types of equipment are a must for providing adequate lawn care and maintenance. The two most common being the lawn mower and weed eater.

Mower– Among the most essential of all tools for the homeowner is a good quality lawn mower. Whether a traditional push mower, a self-propelled walk behind mower or a riding mower is up to you, and in many cases, this decision will be based on the size of the property. Those with large lots may want to look into the time-saving benefits of a riding mower, while those with smaller areas to maintain may be just fine with an inexpensive push mower. Options like mulchers and baggers can be great time savers as well. A quality lawn mower should be an investment in the appearance of your lawn, and a well-made mower can last for many years. There are many options to choose from, so it pays to shop around before making a decision.

Weed eater – A weed eater is another must have tool. These handy little machines can cut your workload a great deal, and if you don’t already have one, chances are you will be in the market for one at some point. Weed eaters are the perfect choice for those hard to reach places where the lawn mower will not reach. When shopping for a weed eater, it’s a good idea to consider its weight, power and cost. While a powerful weed eater may be great for making short work of weeds, it may also be quite heavy to carry around.

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