What Basic Garden Tools do I Need?

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If you are just starting out in the garden you might be asking yourself, which basic garden tools do I need? There are so many tools to choose from and so many brands you will be right to be confused. However, you don’t actually need that many garden tools or to spend a fortune filling up your shed with tools you probably won’t use.

The basic garden tools you will need, fall under three main categories of gardening these are: Tidying, watering and planting. Any jobs you do in the garden will probably come within these categories and the basic tools you will need are: 

  • Secateurs/pruners.
  • Rake or cordless blower.
  • Trowel.
  • Hosepipe or watering can.

Of course, it all depends on how big your garden is but you can tailor the tools suggested, to suit the size of your garden. For example, you might not need a powerful cordless blower if you only have a small back yard, when a basic, low voltage model would suffice.

Tools for Keeping the Garden Tidy

There is a huge range of tools for keeping the garden tidy but you will probably only need a couple so don’t go on a spending spree. Save your money for plants and nice additions to your garden.

Choosing Secateurs

A good pair of secateurs is a must in the garden. Beginner gardeners often fear snipping and pruning in case they kill the plants or do some damage. Don’t worry most plants thrive on a good prune!

Consider buying cordless secateurs, these powered pruners will save you needing to buy loppers. You can use the secateurs as you would use manual pruners but if you need to get through something thick, the power kicks in and effortlessly snips the branch clean off, with very little effort from you. Great if you suffer from limited mobility in the wrist or can’t find the strength to chomp through thick stems.

What is a Good Garden Rake?

One of the most used garden tools in the perfect garden is a plastic garden rake and none of the gardeners here would be without one. A strong carbon plastic fan rake is exceptionally versatile for raking lawns, gravel and paths. The rakes do not mark hard surfaces as metal rakes will but are strong enough to cope with moving debris or lightly levelling soil, great for removing moss from small lawns too.

Cordless Garden Blowers

These cordless machines are great tools and arguably the most useful tool in the garden. Saving you time and effort sweeping debris after you have finished working and shepherding up leaves in the autumn ready to bag up.

There is no need to buy an expensive model. An 18 volt device is sufficient for a small garden or back yard. You will need a slightly more powerful model (36 volts) for a medium size garden

Choosing Cordless Garden Tools

Battery technology has changed the way we use garden tools. No longer do you have to worry about selecting a tool from the shed and finding the battery is flat. Lithium-Ion batteries retain their charge for months and can charge in less than an hour.

The batteries are the expensive part of cordless tools. However, many brands offer tools that have interchangeable batteries so you could, for example, own a garden blower, hedge trimmer and grass strimmer but only have to buy one battery which could be a considerable saving. Some good tools are the Flymo C Link system and the Bosch Power For All System.

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How to Water the Garden

Watering is one of the hardest jobs in the garden to get right and is often one of the biggest causes of plant failure. Water too often and you could flush all the important nutrients out of the soil. Water too little and the plant’s vital roots and capillaries may never recover.

Don’t let this put you off gardening though. As long as the soil or compost drains well and you make sure you get enough water down to the roots, you will have a perfect garden. Remember to feed once a week in the spring and summer,

There is no getting out of watering pots if it rains either! Pots rarely receive enough water when it rains. A good rule of thumb when watering pots, if there is an inch of water on top of the compost the water will travel down 9 inches.

What Should you Water the Garden with?

Using a watering can, can be very time consuming even if you only have a couple of plants in pots. There are some amazingly compact hose pipes that roll up into a small cartridge and these are invaluable even if you have a tiny garden. Using a hosepipe has the advantage of being able to add a liquid feeder too. This means you will get enough water into the pot and can feed the plants at the same time.

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Hand Trowels

Please invest in a good garden trowel. They are great for planting and weeding, this versatile tool will be used often if you have small borders that need tending too. It is possible to plant up to a 2.5 litre pot with a good trowel, so no need to buy and store a spade unless you are planting larger plants.

Extra Garden Tools you Might Need

So, that’s the three basic categories covered but what if you want to go a bit further and have a bowling green lawn or plant some larger, more mature plants. Of course, you will need some heftier tools but don’t go mad. Buy the basics first and as your garden grows and matures, so will you tool shed.

When it comes to garden forks and spades Invest in good quality garden tools that will last you a lifetime. They need to put up with a lot, which cheaper models just won’t stand up to. There is a place for budget tools if you don’t plan to use them that often or too rigorously.

Tool Tidys and Sheds

Now you have a few basic tools and started using them, you will need somewhere to keep them that is not in the house! There are some great little sheds and tool tidys available, even for the smallest of gardens. Just remember, sheds are a magnet to thieves, so ensure you secure your tool shed/tidy properly. Read my post on Garden and Shed Security

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What Lawn Tools do I Need?

There are a few essential lawn tools that you may need to buy if you want that “Bowling green lawn” look but don’t worry, they needn’t break the bank. A lawnmower is the most obvious and this is where you should spend the bulk of your budget.

Take a serious look at cordless lawn mowers, they have come on in leaps and bounds in the last few of years. With no starting problems, cables or fuel to cope with, cordless lawnmowers really are just press and go. If you like lines on your lawn, then select a mower with a rear roller or even a cylinder mower for a super fine cut. However, if it’s just a nice even cut on a lawn that may suffer from excess traffic from children or pets, then rotary wheeled models are the best choice.

Lawn care is the key to a good lawn and using a scarifier to remove dead grass and moss once a year can pay dividends. If you have a lawn that is under 250sqm (Length x width=sqm) a basic electric scarifier/lawn rake will be perfectly adequate.

Feeding and watering the lawn is the last important job to do. Lawn feeders come in all manner of shapes and sizes. Handheld feeders are usually the easiest to store and will cover a large area evenly and quickly. There is little to go wrong with them so they won’t let you down at the beginning of the season.

Watering the lawn is essential in hot weather if you want to keep it green. Buy a decent sprinkler! preferably a 360° rotating sprinkler. There are “fan” models but to cover any distance, the water is projected high and either waters your neighbours garden or misses areas unnecessarily.

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