Essential Tools For Basic Yard Care
Whether planting a new garden or cleaning the yard, you need the right tools to do the job. The following lawn care essentials help you keep your yard looking beautiful all year round.
A good lawn mower is an essential piece of equipment for any home. You can choose from a wide range of mowers depending on the size of your lawn.
A garden rake is essential for removing fallen leaves and clearing twigs and debris from your yard. It also helps level and spread soil cover. This specialized garden tool has a wide head with many short metal tines fixed to the end of a long, durable handle.
Some rakes have two sides of tines on their heads to effectively remove thatch, a layer of organic matter that builds up on the lawn. When left in place, thatch blocks air and sunlight from reaching the grass blades and may cause disease.
A bow rake has 14 to 16 vertical or curved tines arranged in a fan shape offset from a long handle. It’s ideal for tamping soil, breaking up compacted dirt clods and removing roots from cultivated gardens.
A sprinkler is a garden tool that supplies water to grass and other plants. It can be a complex system of pipes installed in the ground or a simple device that hooks up to your hose. A sprinkler is part of basic yard care, supplying uniform water to prevent puddling in some spots. A sprinkler can be a valuable tool for the home gardener as it saves time and effort by providing water to the yard with a button. Look for an oscillating sprinkler with a metal or plastic tube punctured with holes that move rapidly to prevent puddling.
Garden hoses are a great way to transport water for basic yard care. They come in various lengths, but most yards only need a 25 to 50-foot hose to cover the whole garden area. Longer hoses tend to be heavy and cumbersome to move around.
They also lose water flow the longer they are. Getting several shorter hoses and connecting them when needed for a larger coverage area is recommended. The couplings (also called fittings) are made of brass, plastic or a mix of both and help to keep the hose kink-free. They come in different sizes, materials and price ranges.
Whether digging into soil, transplanting plants or pulling weeds, a hand trowel is indispensable. The lightweight tool provides the leverage needed to scoop through tough, densely packed earth and pull it away with minimal effort.
Trowels with pointed or serrated edges are ideal for digging through roots, scraping, drawing seed furrows and weeding. One special variety has a narrow blade that’s particularly useful for pulling weeds with long roots from rock gardens.
Other trowels include a flooring trowel with a wide, rectangular back for laying concrete and a gauging trowel designed to fit into corners. Look for trowels with handles made of wood or plastic, and choose a design that’s comfortable to hold in your hand.
If you have a garden or just some plants to cut and trim, gardening shears make the job easier. These long-handled tools come in various lengths and styles, including edging shears with long blades for neatly trimming grass edges and hedges.
For those with arthritic hands, ambidextrous shears let you use either hand without strain. And if you have an abundance of dry twigs or branches that need cutting, lopping shears are powerful enough to handle the task without much effort. If your shears get dull, try rubbing them with steel wool or rough sandpaper before using them again. If your shears are heavily rusted, it may be necessary to rub them with a paste wax, which helps remove rust and protect against future corrosion.
A spade is a versatile tool with specific uses for gardening and landscaping. Its flat blade and short handle make it perfect for edging and shaping garden beds, digging holes, double digging, and slicing through roots or sod.
On the other hand, shovels are designed for lifting and moving loose materials like soil, compost, gravel, sand, coal, snow, or debris. They typically have a broad scooped blade with a rounded or pointed end, making them more suited for moving large volumes of material.
Understanding the different features of these tools can help you select the best option for your lawn and landscaping needs. For example, a shovel with a gauge steel blade can better withstand heavy-duty tasks, while a fiberglass handle is lightweight and weather-resistant.
A shovel may seem basic, but it’s a key tool for scooping and moving dirt or other lightweight materials. You’ll also use it for digging small holes to plant seedlings and bulbs.
Short-handled shovels feature a narrow, rounded blade that works well for digging in flower beds and other confined areas. They also give you more leverage for pitching and throwing loads.
A root shovel cuts through tough, rooted weeds and tree roots that might otherwise snag or prevent landscaping projects. It’s also a good option for clearing leaves or debris accumulating in the lawn.
A double-handed hoe works well for breaking up compacted soil and eliminating weeds in the garden. It consists of a long handle timber or metal shaft atop a wide blade that can be angled to cultivate and destroy weeds
These gardening tools also have curved necks that permit adjustment. Some, like the swan neck hoe, boast sharp forged edges that can pull up weed crowns at the soil surface without damaging or chopping them.
Other types of garden hoes include stirrup hoes and scuffle hoes. These hoes work well for shaping growing plants, digging holes, slashing overgrown weeds, and minimizing soil disturbance when working around live plants, per Market Gardener Institute.
A pressure sprayer is a useful garden tool that gives you the power to control the amount of fertilizer and water you apply to your garden. It’s also easy to use and requires little effort. It comes with adjustable nozzles that can be adjusted depending on your needs.
Even homeowners with modest-sized yards can benefit from having good-quality lawn care tools. Good work gloves protect your hands from blisters, scrapes, thorns and cuts. A wheelbarrow helps transport soil, plants and equipment over distances short and long. For feeding and weeding, consider adding a broadcast granular spreader or a drop spreader to your collection of lawn care tools.