Whether you are an experienced gardener or someone who is just beginning to get their outdoor grounds in shape, there are some garden tools you need to get the job done right. Having quality tools can make gardening easier and save you money. You are better off investing in good tools that last rather than having to replace poor quality ones repeatedly. With quality garden tools, you can take on almost any job in your outdoor areas.
Choosing good quality garden tools takes a little bit of insight. We all know the feeling of walking into the garden department of a home improvement store and seeing rows of garden tools. There are lots of choices to make. Which tools are essential? What is the right size and style? What constitutes too cheap or too expensive? Is it easier to let the weeds take over?
It is not as complicated as it sounds. While the rows of tools can be overwhelming, most people only require a few good tools that will get used regularly. Ten tools can be the foundation of your gardening arsenal and stay in the tool shed, ready to go when you need them. Keeping them well maintained and easy to get at means your gardening adventures will be easy to do and look great when you are finished. Good maintenance means they will stay in shape season to season.
How to Choose Quality Garden Tools
Before we look at some of the tools you should have for gardening, here are some tips for how to buy them:
- Try before you buy. If you can try a product out or at least hold it and see how it feels, that will help you decide what works for you. Think about how much the product weighs, the size of the handle and grip, the balance when you hold it, and if it’s made well.
- Try to find products that are light and have wide handles as they are easier to hold. Make sure the grip fits in your hand well. The grip is especially important if you have small hands.
- Make sure the tool is made from a material that is right for the job you are going to be doing. Stainless steel tools are great for easy digging and are simple to clean off. If you need strong tools, then solid forged steel is going to be the strongest. These will also be light and last longer as well. If you choose plastic, carbon fiber, or aluminum materials for your tools, then they will be the ones that are the lightest and easy to use. Choosing the right ones means knowing what will work best for you and your gardening projects.
- Choosing a brand is not always easy. There are many on the market, and depending on materials will last longer than others. Buying quality doesn’t necessarily mean buying the longest lasting. You will have to assess the quality, material, and price to decide which brand makes sense for you and that tool. You should look for tools that come with spare parts, servicing, and good manufactures guarantee if you pay for a higher-end brand of product.
- If you are buying power gardening tools such as hedge and grass trimmers, you will want to choose between the battery, electric, or gas depending on the tool and proximity to outlets. Make sure the tools aren’t too heavy as they won’t get used if they are going to limit your movement and use.
- Think about purchasing tools with interchangeable heads. You may love a certain type of handle, and if you can find tools, like a rake, broom, trowel, and fork, that you can switch on and off, you keep the handle and switch the heads out as needed. While these types of tools are more expensive to purchase, they tend to be of higher quality and sometimes offer long handles to go with them as well.
- Handle length is important when gardening, so make sure you choose the length that works well for the job. You don’t want to stoop over for long periods, and keeping your back straight helps avoid pain the next morning. Finding handles that support good posture can aid in avoiding tired muscles along with reducing stresses and strains.
Choosing the Right Gardening Tools
While a shovel sounds like a simple tool, it’s one of the most important to have if you plan to be in the garden a lot. Whether you call it a spade or a shovel, this should be one of the first tools you purchase for getting your gardening done. Just remember that a spade tends to have a flatter edge that will cut and dig the bigger parts of your gardening project. A shovel is going to be a little more versatile with a more rounded edge. Either should be sharp enough to cut through sod as well as being able to scoop and move dirt, mulch, and any other gardening material as needed.
Choosing a quality shovel means looking for the handle length that works for you. Your height will play into this. The top of the shovel needs to have a flat edge that is useful when you are digging. You want to be able to stop on it to make pushing it down easier and stronger. Stainless steel blades are great as they will not bend or rust.
Along with your shovel or spade, finding the right trowel is a must. Trowels can be used for many tasks in gardening, especially when digging up soil around plants and putting new ones in the ground. They are easy to use and can be perfect when you need to be both precise and gentle.
When choosing a trowel, make sure that it is strong and has a comfortable handle. While trowels are small, you need to have the strength to get through root systems and hard soil. They should use a material that is sturdy and has a comfortable grip. Some now have ergonomic handles, too, which can help with ease of use and comfort.
Rakes are useful for garden clean-up and loosening and neatening up the soil. There are standard rakes, lawn rakes, and rakes made of various materials depending on the job. Adjustable rakes can be a big help as they do more than one job without worrying about purchasing multiple rake styles.
When looking for a rake, make sure it has strong tines. You don’t want your rake bending under pressure. Aluminum and plastic can work if you think they are hardy. Some heavy-duty rakes work with tough soil, but others are more flexible and are great for leaves and garden clean-up. Make sure to avoid materials that can rust or aren’t strong enough for heavy outdoor use. Make sure the head and handle are attached well, too.
A cultivator is like a small rake for use when you are in smaller areas of your garden. It will loosen soil and is a great tool when partnered with your trowel. It works the soil and helps clear the area so you can put in new plants or clean up around the old ones. It is much easier to use than a full-size rake or shovel. Perfect for those places that are hard to reach.
Choose a cultivator with well-curved tines and a comfortable handle. There are narrow and wide ones to choose from. Narrow is good for small spaces, and wide will be great for breaking up the soil in an easy way.
Hand pruners are essential to keeping gardens neat and healthy. There are two types: bypass and anvil. The anvil pruners are the kind that has two blades that joined in the middle. The bypass has a curved blade on top that passes next to the lower blade for a clean and complete cut. You should base your choice of pruners on the work they’ll be doing.
Bypass pruners are good if you are going to be working in a garden with old and woody stems. You need that extra strength to deal with hard-to-cut materials. Anvil is good for quick snips and clean-up. Make sure whichever you choose that they open and close easily and that the handles are comfortable. They should also have a lock on them for when they are not being used. Make sure to keep them clean and dry to avoid rust and sharpen them each year to make sure they work well.
Finding a good set of loppers can be perfect when cleaning up the garden, trees, and bushes. They have extra long handles so you reach higher areas and then offer enough leverage to cut the branches that your small pruners can’t. Many have enough power to get through thicker branches in one squeeze.
Some loppers have extendable handles that let you reach further. They should have a non-stick coating on the blades so they will cut through tough wood as well. Loppers should be kept dry and clean when not in use, and you can sharpen them as needed as well.
Snips are not the same things as pruners or loppers. Snips are detailed clippers rather than the tool that will do the tough cutting in the garden. They are perfect for cutting off deadheads, snipping flowers to take indoors, or clipping herbs for the kitchen. They have small blades that give you better control compared to regular scissors.
Find snips that have more delicate blades so you can make those specific cuts. However, they are not so small that they can’t cut through sturdy stems. Some come with a small cover for their tips so you can keep them in your pocket for easy access and use.
Having a good outdoor watering can make gardening much easier for those tough-to-reach places. Hoses are great but aren’t always practical. They can be heavy and damage plants if they get dragged through an area. Watering cans are great when you need to do gentle watering on new plants and seedlings and also when you have water from rain barrels.
The main thing to watch for when choosing a watering can is that you can carry it. Water is heavy so finding a watering can that is manageable is important. You will have the choice of galvanized metal and plastic materials. Both are durable, but extreme temperatures can affect plastic. Finding cans with a removable sprinkler head is helpful as well.
Doing the weeding is one of those garden chores that can be touched. There is no particular tool that will do it for you. However, a weeder can make it substantially easier. Finding a good weeder can help get those tough weeds dugout and from between the cracks of the cement and bricks as well. A good weeder will get through the roots while also aerating the soil and let
You want to pick a weeder that can make weeding easier. Strong blades are important, so they can get through tough stems and roots to dig up the whole weed, not just the top. They should be able to loosen the soil and make removal a breeze. Make sure the brand you buy has a good handle and that it also has a proper warranty as they will endure a lot when you are trying to clear out those tough garden areas.