Essential Gardening Tools
The gardening season is pretty much over for the year. Which means that it’s time to start preparing for the next season. Successful gardeners know the importance of preparation. You have to clear your garden of any weeds, prepare the soil, and plant winter-blooming plants, all before the end of the year. The other thing you need to do is make sure you have the right equipment for next season.
There are new gardening tools being released all the time. You can get online plant planners, plant sensors, and robot lawn mowers. But you might be missing a few traditional gardening tools from your arsenal. We’ve thought long and hard about the 10 best gardening tools everyone needs. Here’s what we’ve come up with.
There is nothing new about the wheelbarrow. Experts believe they were being used in China in 100AD and could even go back as far as Ancient Greece. But that doesn’t mean it’s an outdated tool. In fact, it’s an essential tool for proper garden maintenance. Some tools stand the test of time, simply because there isn’t a better way of doing the task – they got it right the first time. Of course, the wheelbarrows of today are slightly different to the ones used in Ancient China, but the idea is largely the same.
Of course, whether you need a barrow depends on the size of your garden. If you have a tiny plot of land, you might not need a large wheelbarrow and could get away with a small bucket or something similar to transport debris. But if you have a decent sized garden, you are going to need something to ship your waste around. A high-quality wheelbarrow will have a metal frame and thick rubber tires so that it can handle the rough terrain on your garden. You can get motorized wheelbarrows if you don’t think you can push a heavy metal barrow around your garden.
Here’s another absolute classic when it comes to gardening tools. For a start the dibber has one of the best names of all gardening implements – you just can’t beat the simplicity, it’s one of those words you just want to say over and over again. But what is it used for?
It’s not the most well-known gardening tool, but expert gardeners swear by it. Basically, it is used to poke holes in the ground, allowing you to plant seeds, seedlings, and bulbs. Sure, you could do this with a trowel, but you won’t be able to get the same amount of accuracy. Plus, you are going to leave a big mess when you are digging with a trowel. This really is a must-have item, especially if you are planting a lot. It will save you hours of work.
Dibbers have been around since Roman times, and they’ve barely changed since then. In the 18th and 19th centuries, farmers would use long-handled dibbers to make mass-farming easier. There are a few different types of dibber (straight dibber, T-handled dibber, trowel dibber) but they all pretty much do the same job. If you’re looking for gifts for gardeners, this could be perfect because not many people will have one.
Okay, so the lawnmower is hardly breaking new ground, but it’s by far the most modern piece of equipment in this list so far. It’s only been around since 1830! Invented by Edwin Budding in Stroud, England, the lawnmower has become an important tool for any serious gardener. There’s no point in planting beautiful flowers and trimming back the weeds if you can’t see them over the long grass. But what type of lawnmower do you need? There’re a few different types to choose from, so we’ve broken them down for you to help you achieve the perfect lawn:
Push-reel lawnmower – This is the original lawnmower. It doesn’t require electricity and therefore there’s no chance of running over the cord and getting electrocuted. You can also see the blades spinning, which stop when you stop pushing. While it’s one of the safest options, it takes a lot of hard work and is definitely not a good choice if you have a large garden.
Walk-behind lawnmower – This is basically the electric version of the push-reel lawnmower. You push it around yourself, but the blades underneath are powered by electricity. There have been concerns in the past about the safety of these, but now you can get cordless lawn mowers that remove the risk. We’d definitely recommend getting a cordless lawnmower if you are looking to buy a walk-behind lawnmower.
Ride-on lawnmower – If you have a large plot of land, you should definitely consider a ride-on lawnmower. They are powered by petrol and can cover a much greater distance, much faster. Of course, they’re more expensive than other options but will save a huge amount of time and effort.
Hover mower – These work in a similar way to walk-behind lawnmowers, except the blades, push the air downwards and create a hovering effect. This makes them much easier to push along the flat ground but makes them pretty much useless on rough terrain.
Robot lawnmower – The ultimate in hi-tech, lazy gardening. Just turn it on and let it do the whole job for you. You have to put up a boundary wire around the garden to determine where the mower will cut, but then just leave it to do to the job.
Whatever sized garden you have, big or small, you are going to need a decent digging spade. Not just any shovel will do. You need something that has sharp flat edges, so it can dig deep into the earth and cut through any roots or anything else blocking your path. Remember, your goal is not to move as much earth as possible, but to make accurate cuts into the ground. Investing in a high-quality, sharp spade will make your gardening much easier.
Finding a well-balanced digging spade can be hard. It’s easy to just to pick the first one of the shelf, but this can lead to back and wrist problems. You need something that is well-made and lightweight, so you aren’t putting yourself at risk of injury.
Once you have the right spade, you need a hand-held version. The trowel is one of the most commonly used pieces of gardening equipment, and for good reason. It’s essential for accurately shoveling compost, digging seed drills, and creating space for your seed, seedlings, and bulbs. It’s also really useful for cleaning up the flower bed – for example, you might need to move animal dropping, snails, slugs, and other unwanted things. Like all gardening tools, you need to find something that is designed well and ergonomic.
Cheap, badly-made trowels have a tendency to break or bend because of their small size. So, you should invest in a trowel that is made of stainless-steel (or another high-quality material) and sharp enough to cut through the earth. Because they are so small and portable, the humble garden trowel will become your trusty assistant – you’ll end up using it more than any other piece of equipment. So, make sure you invest in something that is going to last.
Your garden secateurs (or pruners as they’re often known) will be one of the most used items in your garden shed. They’re a small and sharp scissor-like tool that can be used to cut tree stems, cut back brambles, and basically neaten up your garden. There are two main types of secateurs and you will probably need both to look after your garden effectively.
Crosscut secateurs – With these pruners, the blades cross over when they pass each other, like scissors. That means you can make precise cuts, which is perfect for cutting back plants to encourage growth.
Anvil secateurs – On anvil secateurs the top blade pushes onto a base plate, instead of crossing over. This means you can cut tougher brambles and thicker.
Make sure the secateurs you choose have an ergonomic design. Garden tasks can get repetitive and if you’re using the wrong tools, you can cause repetitive strain injuries. You will be able to tell if they are a good fit for you when you pick them up, based on the weight and hand grips.
When you’re digging up the soil in your garden, you’re going to get tired quickly. It’s heavy work, especially if the soil is wet. That’s why you need to invest in a garden hoe. They are designed to make digging up the soil that little bit easier. The hoe is another ancient gardening tool, so we’re not trying to break new ground here. In fact, the hoe is probably the oldest tool on here – the first mentions go back to 18th century BC, almost 4000 years ago.
They can be used to shape soil, remove stubborn weeds, clear soil, and generally loosen the soil before you plant. There are loads of different types of hoe, but you should be looking for a standard gardening hoe. These will be long and lightweight and have a sharp metal edge, to make digging at arm’s length easier. They go by many different names, including paddle hoe, draw hoe, chopping hoe, and planter hoe. The paddle at the end will be small and rectangular and angled at 90-degrees.
Some people think rakes are only used once a year. In Autumn, when the leaves have fallen down, you fish out the trust old rake and clear them up. Or get one of the kids from the neighborhood to do it for you. But, for the avid gardener, rakes are useful all year round.
For a start, you can use them to clear the lawn or garden. This isn’t just a matter of making things look pretty. It’s actually an essential part of preventing unwanted pests and diseases from residing in your garden. Keeping the garden clear will also help prepare the soil for planting. You need a long-handled rake with sharp teeth to drag across the soil before you plant. This will provide a better environment for seeds to germinate.
Hose or Watering Can
Gardens need water. If you don’t know that then you can’t really call yourself a gardener. Plants need water to survive and some climates don’t provide enough water for your garden to thrive. Therefore, you need a way of getting the essential moisture to them.
If you’re lucky enough to have an outside tap, then you can fit a hose. This is an easy and effective way of watering the plants. You’ll need a hose attachment that can spread the water without making it too powerful. If you hit your plants with too much water, you could damage them. Alternatively, if you don’t have a tap, you can use the trusty watering can. It’s not the most revolutionary piece of garden equipment, but it’s fit for purpose and will get the job done. Or you can install a smart sprinkler system and make your life easier.
Every gardener has one main enemy – weeds. Sure, unwanted pests can be annoying, but there is nothing more frustrating for a gardener than the constant growth of weeds. Not only do they grow faster than anything else in your garden and take up valuable space, they aggressively compete for the nutrients, water, and sunlight that could be going to your plants instead. So, you need to get rid of them. That much is obvious.
Gardening shops are full of different solutions to stop weeds from growing and some of them work, for a bit. The problem is weeds will always come back. They have an annoying habit of taking everything you can throw at them. The best way to keep them at bay is to constantly uproot them. It’s not the easiest way to handle it, but it’s definitely the most effective. Buy yourself a high-quality garden weeder, get on your hands and knees, and pull them out one by one. They are designed to get right to the bottom of the weed’s roots and pull the whole thing out. This prevents the weed from re-growing and popping its ugly head out again.