A gardening tool is device/instrument/machine that’s designed for one of the many daily gardening tasks.
Some overlap in their application but we also have a good number being standalone and made specially to serve a particular purpose.
Whatever the task, the perfect tool makes things easier and even enjoyable.
Whether you are digging, removing nasty weeds, pruning your berry bushes, munching, or even harvesting, the correct tool will make you more effective and the job effortless.
Now, the thing with gardening tools is that you have a lot to choose from yet you may not need all of them.
First, they broadly belong to any of the following groups:
Gardening hand tools are manual and are among the most prominent in many gardens. They're very easy to carry and multipurpose so you’re likely to have one for each of your tasks- be it weeding, pruning, planting, or raking.
Examples are axes, sickles, forks, machetes, and more.
While hand tools are easy to carry around and useful for dozens of tasks, they quickly cause fatigues when you have big tasks. For instance, you cannot harvest a big area with a sickle and that’s where power tools come in.
These use additional power sources such as electric motors and batteries instead of being solely manual to complete tasks quickly and without necessarily tiring the user.
Their major disadvantage is that some emit harmful gases to the environment and add to the air pollution problem.
These are for gardeners who have various physical problems and body weaknesses including weak grip, carpal tunnel syndrome, back and joint pains, and such.
The tools are ergonomically designed to shield the body from common physical strains associated with gardening and are lightweight, and comfortable to use.
While seniors and the disabled do well with ergonomic tools, kids are at home off with toddler gardening kits.
Now, as I had hinted, garden tools vary in style, source of power, uses, comfort, suitability, and more.
To simplify matters, let’s look at the recommended gardening tools for every task in your yard.
Digging is crucial as it helps break up the soil and make it more habitable for your plants and flowers.
There are several ways of breaking down the soil all of which requires that you use the right tool for digging in your garden.
As you will notice, some are, by far, easier than their counterparts. Remember that the best time to dig up your soil is when the earth is frost-free and dry, mostly from October to December.
Here is a brief look at the various digging tools:
Shovels are some of the best known tools for digging various materials including soil, gravel, snow, coal, sand, and more.
Most are hand tools and comprise of a wide blade –made of steel or hardened plastics- connected to a strong medium-length handle.
What separates a digging shovel from the rest is it’s slightly up-curved sides that help in holding the materials you dig up.
Here are some popular digging shovels:
Square shovels have sharp flat tips making them superb for digging in stubborn hard-packed soils because of how easily it cuts through.
You can also use a square shovel transplant small shrubs, edging, and even trenching.
These have a rounded tip and dig softer soils better than even square shovels due to pressure passing through the tips in an improved manner.
It’s another digging type tool you could use for transplanting plants.
These have a narrower tip and will burrow deeper and cut through obstacles like a champ.
It’s one of the best shovels for tackling hard packed and rock filled soils (unless it’s too dense).
These perform many of the functions of shovels. The handle is shorter but still does well in digging holes for planting. Always sharpen your spade for the best results.
A garden fork is versatile. From breaking up soil to turning it over, it comes in very handy.
They are especially good in working fertilizer or organic matter into the soil.
These are similar to shovels with some gardeners actually christening them ‘miniature shovels’. They are great in digging smaller holes ideal for small plants in your container gardener or whenever you feel like getting down too weed your vegetable/flower garden.
Although many gardeners view it as weeding tool, the legendary hoe is a powerful option for breaking up non-compacted soil.
Well-built hoes with lasting handles should be your top priority if you do a lot of digging.
A pick mattock is also multi-talented and can be ideal for digging up thick layers of hard soil because of its incredible strength.
Additionally, mattocks of different sizes are outstanding at clearing creepy weeds and removing small root systems.
Also called a U-bar diggers, these tools can have tines as long as 10 inches attached to their U-shaped bar.
These tines will loosen the garden soil as you work the tool into and out of the earth.
A dibber is simply a sharp-pointed wooden stick used to make planting holes in the soil for your seeds or small bulbs.
They are generally easy to use and can maintain consistent hole depth. Some come with a leather loop to help with storage.
Common designs includes the T-handled, L-shaped dibber, and the trowel dibber.
If you have a large project, small handy tools will be a pain to work with and time-consuming. Instead, you should look at the powerful workhorses.
And there’s no shortage of option:
From medium-sized hole digging augers and various gasoline-powered tillers, you have choices left, right, and center.
Here is a brief overview:
Tillers are gasoline-powered , super powerful , better for larger spaces and indomitable in breaking new ground.
This has tines at the back and engine-powered wheels that carry the machine forward (and/or back-in reverse) while digging.
The tines can rotate forward or in the other direction. They are more professional and popular among commercial farms.
The tines are at the front and dig into the soil while pulling the machine along.
They’re for easier jobs.
The other option is a pull behind tiller usually towed by a tractor or an all-terrain vehicle (ATV).You can also use pull-behinds to till tough-to-reach places.
The auger is very much like a large corkscrew and can dig very deep quickly saving you bucket loads of time and effort while allowing you to do in a day. Whether you are digging to plant trees and shrubs, erect signs, or even putting in fences, an auger makes light work of the job and can be fun to work with.
Like other gardening tools, Augers exist in a variety of configurations…
You may not need to go for a power auger if you’re just making a few holes and manual augers will do just fine.
These digging augers are operated by one or two people and are for small jobs.
Human-powered post hole diggers have a unit that you twist into the ground just like a typical cork screw, loosening the soil, and ripping apart roots.
Most often, handheld earth augers are used for tasks like digging planting holes for small trees/shrubs, and similarly-sized holes.
They are lightweight, super portable, and inexpensive.
Motorized augers tend to be more expensive and are either run by electricity or gasoline and are more suited for harder soils.
Accessing an AC outlet can be insanely difficult when installing fences out in the open so electric post hole diggers work best around worksites and around your home.
Needless to say, gas-powered units will be your go-to choice for digging holes for fence posts in open fields and forest trails.
Manufacturers also make heavy-duty PTO operated auger systems units that you use with tractors.
Because they are fixed on the loader end of your tractor, they generate more downward pressure and easily conquer tougher hole drilling conditions.
Their hydraulics and positioning also give you greater control.
Overall, these types of augers hold up the longest.
A post hole digger is another alternative when digging narrow holes for installing fence and sign posts.
Also called post hole pincers, these tools essentially comprise of two shovels joined by a hinge and are jabbed into the soil breaking through until fully buried.
At this point, you pull the handles apart closing the tool and grabbing chunks of loosened soil.
Post hole diggers are also fantastic in digging up individual holes for planting bulbs.
Rock-laden soils have some advantages, for example, great drainage but present a major challenge when digging, unless of course you’re armed with the right tools.
Here are some essential tools for digging in rocky soil that you could add to your garden tool set.
These tools are a must-have if your soil is densely rocky or filled with tree roots. They use their broad hoe-like blades to pulverize the small rocks and disturb soil clods.
A pickaxe can, however, be tiring if you are digging up a bigger space but there are strategies you can employ to make the task easier.
For instance, a friend can be breaking up the adamant rocks as you come in behind digging out the debris with a shovel.
The best news is that pickaxes are pretty affordable.
This is typically a long-bladed shovel and comes with a rounded tip so in terms of looks, you can easily mistake if for trench shovels.
Its secret is the foot rest:
Using it, you can apply more leg power until you pierce straight down into rocks. At the same time, the rubber handle will be absorbing recoil so it’s very much easy to work with.
Also, a heavy duty metal sharpshooter is outstanding for digging in heavy clayey soils notably during dry conditions.
Other areas you can meet the sharpshooter flaunting its prowess is on mines, trenching or chopping through roots
Sharpshooters vary in weight with the heavier models targeted at solid rocks and the light weight types serving on not-to- dense areas perfectly.
If you are ready to splurge out on a no-nonsense rocks destroyer, then a jackhammer could suffice.
Well, the prices are a bit steep but jack hammers are super awesome even with solid rocks.
You can choose gasoline engine jackhammers or electric ones depending on the density of the rocks around the yard.
A jack hammer can mess you as it messes the rocks. The vibration and sounds can be severe and even cause headaches so you need to be armed to the teeth with protection.
Wear quality earplugs and be sure you are handling the tool properly to avoid a serious injury.
You can rent this rock drilling monster as you save for a future purchase.
A digging bar is so simple yet so gifted.
You dig detailed post holes, loosen or break up hard or heavily compacted materials including soil, rocks, ice, concrete, and even use it as a lever to move big boulders from the yard!
This leverage makes a digging bar the weapon of choice for breaking up limestone and other stones lying beneath your backyard soil.
It just short of the amazing powers of jackhammers and will prove much easier to use. Digging bars are also often used where a pickaxe won’t work possibly due to space issues.
A handsome gift from our Japanese brothers, the HoriHori knife brand has a tapered stainless-steel blade.
The blade has a straight and a serrated edge and a molded composite handle backed up by an extra-wide hand guard.
This design makes it a pro in digging into tough rocky soils, the forte of sharpshooters.
Additionally, the construction also helps it saw through sod and woody roots.
Overall, the tool can be useful for planting, weeding, cutting, dividing, and slicing. In fact, for some gardeners, the HoriHori knife is a perfect miniature hand axe.
The knife is super lightweight and ergonomic so it’s perfect even when faced with marathon gardening days.
Variations in Hori Hori Knives
There are both stainless and carbon steel types.
These are lighter thanks to the use of carbon steel and come with wood handles. They cost slightly more but they oftentimes prove to be very worthy investments.
Yes, you guessed it-These models are mainly made of stainless steel and come with plastic handles. They are less expensive and are very reliable..
A garden knife passes off as simply a blade plus a handle and you can easily dismiss as a nonstarter for rocky soils.
But its strength lies in this simplicity given it’s many and myriad uses.
As a yard owner, I always carry a soil knife every time I’m out in the garden- that’s how much it can mean.
Now, knifes are countless with each having its own winners. However, some stand out and deserve a mention in any discussion of garden tools.
We already talked about the wonderful Hori hori so let’s skim over a few other rock star knives and their uses:
Laying sod can be a hugely satisfying experience. You feel super proud getting a new, freshly laid green lawn in less time.
Though it can be an intimidating investment, the value and time savings fully compensate and make every cent very worthy.
Laying sod correctly is going to be important if you’re going to have that proud look and that’s where sod cutting knives come in.
These knives help you cut it to fit around delicate corners, random obstacles, and/ or to accommodate curves.
While some landscapers prefer double-purpose knives, a specialized sod-cutting knife will leave your lawn looking a cut above the rest.
Here is a low-down on some of the exquisite sod cutting knives.
These have, as the name suggests, serrated edges with some resembling pruning saws and are marvelous for cutting sod.
The blades in some are slightly curved and either have a folding (easier to store) or a fixed handle.
The serrated edges cut the sod with ease and help you fit it smartly to shape.
You can also use a sharp hook knife to trim the sod to fit around an obstruction.
These have short blades and have a slightly curved hook-like end.
The blades are still made of tough steel and tend to have a smooth inside edge.
This design makes them quite versatile making them the ultimate cutting tool for almost every other material.
The hook makes them easier to slice into sod rolls and pull them forward, severing as desired.
This is another heavily versatile garden knife and comes with the usual high-grade stainless-steel dished blade making it a prime tool for a huge variety of tasks.
It may have a sharpened edge, a serrated edge, and an additional notch for cutting twines.
On top, the comfort-grip handle can be used as a tamp when sowing seeds.
From opening bags of soil or mulch to slicing through sod, the two alternate edges can do it all.
To keep it cutting smoothly, sharpen the blade using a fine grinding stone or a file.
Despite the emergence of clippers and high-tech shears, the good old pruning knife is holding on strong in the garden.
Hook-shaped and featuring a robust, sharp blade and a cozy handle, the contemporary pruning knife easily cuts delicate branches, fairly thick stems, and helps keep flower bushes in check as well as removing suckers.
Like other knives, keep the pruning knife sharp, squeaky clean, and folded away safely when not using it.
A Professional harvesting knife will help you harvest your fruits at the end of a long growing season and could be another welcome addition to your fledgling gardener’s arsenal.
Most harvesters tend to be sharp, easy to use, light, and crucially, durable.
Thing with harvesting knives is that they belong to so many categories and you will want to work with the tool that best suits your crop.
That’s because those designed for harvesting mushrooms many not work for vegetables, grapes, or for any other plant for that matter.
Convenient and flexible, a pocket-knife is very useful tool to carry with you as you head to the garden on whatever mission.
You may need to trim a protruding branch, harvest some vegetables, or dig out some crawling insect.
You may also want to tear through a knotted twine or cut off a flower stem…their uses are gazillions.
Cultivators are lighter and more affordable than the larger and more powerful garden tillers.
They excel in the stirring soil before planting and are classified as secondary tillage machines.
That means you can’t use them for tougher tasks like breaking virgin ground and will in most cases come after tillers.
Wheelbarrows or garden carts are must-haves for many gardeners, homeowners, and DIY landscapers.
A wheelbarrow is an absolute ever-present. From hauling around dirt, rocks, plants, and every one of your garden detritus, the wheelbarrow will never lack uses.
On the same note, major renovations or construction works around your yard would be next to impossible without a wheelbarrow.
Now, there is a big list of possibilities when we come to these transport workhorses: You can go for the one wheel or two wheels.
In addition, there’s an assortment of vibrant, fun colors.
A single wheel prime advantage is its greater maneuverability in tight spots or tricky terrain with their often tubed/tubeless tire providing a superb pivoting point to turn while moving big loads in their tubs.
The puncture-proof design offers more peace of mind and is perfect for navigating not only sharp thorns but also jagged stones.
Most are solidly build and withstand daily wear and tear admirably thanks to steel pans commonly galvanized with a strong protective layer.
The front tipping bar also makes it easy to unload.
Sizes vary as do the eye-catching colors with some of the models.
Something else: Those with plastic pan are lighter though may not last as long as their metallic peers.
However, some are nowadays coming with high-density corrosion-proof poly trays and fare much better.
If you are looking for a reliable wheelbarrow to help dump debris from your small garden or the growing vegetable patch, a smaller, lighter type could be more convenient provided it’s an all-rounder.
The two wheels often give a more solid foundation, important when dragging heavy loads around. As you would expect, two-wheeler’s construction is more robust and is adept at handling challenging yard and even commercial jobs.
The high end brands’ tubs are typically made with seamless, super-heavy gauge steel and further reinforced with a couple of front braces.
These, combined with the added bracing near their front wheels gives the wheelbarrow’s frame capability to hold up strong against repeated abuse in projects involving rough materials like rocks.
Some, like the Polar Trailer have bigger capacities.
Here are some questions to ask when looking at wheelbarrows.
Manufacturers have a tendency to list a barrow’s load capacity in kilograms especially for the heavy-duty wheelbarrows. For an average gardener, you may notice litre capacity being more dominant as the barrow may often be used for lighter materials.
Overall, while the biggest wheelbarrow may be more tempting, it’s not always the best bet.
Think about its cost (they aren’t that cheap) not to forget that the largest barrows are generally heavier and cumbersome to push around.
From my own experience, the standard 85L barrow fits most uses even for a large garden.
That being said, if your yard is petite or if you just want to clear out the vegetable patch, a smaller sized model would just do fine.
Similarly, you can go for larger capacity pans if you have lots of lugging to do.
Let’s talk about the materials:
Plastic wheelbarrows are light, affordable, and easier to maneuver making them superb for garden waste.
But you and I know that they don’t last that long.
Steel-panned are great for carting heavy building materials around and last for years on end.
Their problem is reduced maneuverability.
Still, if will be moving over stony and/or jagged ground, puncture-proof wheels will give you an edge.
Additionally, barrows with steel chassis and built-in front wheel supports are more resilient.
Needless to say, Garden carts could also be an essential part of your everyday routine.
Here is the thing:
If you love being efficient in whatever chores you are up to, loading all the necessary garden tools and supplies in the garden cart then hauling them with you as you go to the your yard saves time than lugging each tool one-by-one.
Overall, carts are much bigger (The Gorrila 4-wheeler has a 600 lbs. limit) and that’s where they beat wheelbarrows for bigger jobs.
You can call them 4-wheeled wheelbarrows, trailers, or just carts. The thing is they give you more choice.
For instance, you can choose to pull it around by hand or attach it, for example, to the back of your vehicle if you have extremely heavy cargo.
Even the hand-pushed ones like the Big 4 heavy-duty Wheeler are better than the conventional one or two-wheel wheelbarrows since you only push without lifting it (while pushing).
This reduces stress on your back, shoulders, arms, and legs.
My 4-wheeler has 4 pneumatic wheels plus a nifty tipping action and I have used for the last 3 years without straining.
However, considering they have more wheels, these do not move around tricky corners as well as the traditional one-wheel barrows.
Garden carts can be grouped into four leading categories. Here is a brief description of each:
Flatbeds are just that: flat and have no sides. These garden carts are for carrying bulky and large items.
Tree stumps, large trees, growing media…you name it.
These have 4 vertical sides that help them contain whatever is loaded in the cart. In most cases, the sides can be removed for easier access and cleaning.
Most yard owners use utility wagons to transport cuttings, compost, soil, and fertilizer among other items.
And you can even carry odd-shaped loads such as large plants and bags of soil now that their sides can be removed.
Close cousins of utility wagons, these have a superior dumping ability.
This unique talent to dump carried load means you can use them for almost everything.
Wood chips, fertilizer, and garden soils are just examples.
Heavy-duty dump carts also help lug big debris in earth-moving projects.
These have collapsible metallic frames meaning they help you save storage space during off season. The sides are either made of fabric or cloth to allow them to fold.
If you live in constrained space, them a folding garden cart could be the real deal.
They however have one big weakness:
You have to contend with a reduced carrying capacity.
A word of advice:
The best cart will depend on your gardening needs.
Now, the question is between garden carts and wheelbarrows, what should you pick..
Here we go.
While the two primarily perform the same functions, each has its pros and cons.
Wheelbarrows have 1 - 2 front wheels and sloping sides and you walk behind making them easier to handle and maneuver.
The wheelbarrow is especially awesome for hauling loose materials which needs to be dumped including weeds, compost, soil, or gravel.
In comparison, garden carts tend to have straight sides and flat bottoms and are to be pulled. Because of the more legs, they are far much stable and excel with larger loads including firewood, stones, and more.
Smaller garden carts are very useful for toting flats of plants and other tools. Certain models even feature a cover and double up as a comfortable place to sit and catch your breath.
Whether to use a cart or wheelbarrow for your yard chores depends on so many things.
What will you be hauling, who else will being using this, what other tools do you have and so on and so forth.
From there, you can start asking the normal questions: load capacity, pricing, material construction, and size.
If the tasks are lighter, pick an affordable wheelbarrow. Harder and taxing hauling duties are better off with a heavy-duty garden cart.
In short, sometimes the decision may come down to personal preferences so you find many gardeners working with both.
Lawn edging and trimming takes the aesthetic appeal of your garden to the next level.
In edging, you create a clear demarcation between your turf and the driveway, patio, walkway, or street by using an appropriate tool to create a crisp edge.
Edging involves making a vertical cut and will bring other benefits such as reduced weed infestations and preventing mulch from entering grass areas.
The tool of choice is mostly a lawn edger.
Lawn edgers are important for day to day lawn care. You use an edger to separate the lawn from paved surfaces neatly and conveniently.
You also don’t want your lawn to spread to walkways, asphalt paths, concrete sidewalks etc. Again your edger will help you make those distinct cuts smartly- you know, almost like the barber does to your overgrown hair.
Gardener can choose from any of these edgers based on their needs:
These are hand operated and the choices tend to be between the traditional half-moon edger or a rotary edger.
Also called a stick, the half-moon edger has blade which resembles a half-moon.
It’s the curved edge of the half-moon like blade that does the edging.
It’s recommended that you step on it harder to achieve more depth if need be.
Also called an edging iron, this have a blade that looks pretty much like the spokes found on cowboy boots.
You can basically wheel it along the edges of the lawn to complete the job.
Using a rotary edger on overgrown lawn or weeds is quite demanding so they are best used for maintenance edging.
Certainly, traditional manual edgers suit small gardening jobs.
These are more popular in homes and among professionals because of their enhanced efficiency when handling larger lawns.
Okay, they may not be as mighty as gasoline powered edgers but they nevertheless deliver a very competent performance whenever engaged.
Electric edgers are either corded or cordless…
You operate it while plugged in from a socket. You will need a longer cord to reach wider.
Users should be careful as cords tend to get on their way.
Like the name suggest, these lack a cord so you can edge as far as you want without worrying about a socket.
In general, most gardeners cannot exchange the convenience of cordless edgers with anything else.
You should, however, check to ensure that you get one with a lasting battery.
These are super powerful and very versatile and will give your lawn the look that leaves the neighbors salivating.
They can cover staggering areas within less time and with a commendable efficiency than most electric edgers.
The leading gas-powered models offer varying edging depths and magnificent bevel capabilities.
Gas edgers can be either 2 or 4-cycle engines..
2-cycle engines require that you mix of oil and gas in specified proportions when fueling. Proper mixing is essential for longevity and consistent top-notch performances.
They are often more compact and lighter.
These engines use pure gas for combustion while they obtain lubrication from the separate oil reservoir
In general, 4-stroke edgers burn better and are rated more environmental-friendly. In addition, they have a better fuel economy.
This is the model of choice when faced with gigantic lawns.
There’s a sprinkle of other useful edging tools each with some unique strengths.
Let’s skim over them:
These are gas-powered and hand driven so they are awesome when edging tight spaces.
The portability, performance, and power make them a favorite for those looking for super crisp edges between sidewalks and the turf.
These have deep reaching spinning blades and will remove weeds and wildly-growing grass in no time.
They also give you more flexibility and a better performance in big applications.
Though not very famous, there are gardeners who use edging shears to edge lawns all the time.
Just like scissors, edging shears have two levers working opposite around a defined central pivot. You apply force on either handle by pushing each against the other for the blades to cut the grass.
In general, some are too short and cause nagging back pain in addition to straining the neck.
Some models have light aluminum handles topped with rubber grips and are more comfortable to use.
Others have telescopic handles so you don’t have to bend when using them as you can adjust each handle to suit your arms.
Trimming crowns your mowing tasks by adding a charming manicured touch to the lawn and is another less glamorous but vital lawn maintenance task.
Trimming gives your grass a stylish horizontal cut and apart from the cosmetic benefits, trimming helps remove growth inhabiting weeds in hard to reach areas like around mailboxes and shrubs.
The number one tool for trimming is a lawn trimmer…
A lot of people confuse lawn trimmers with lawn edgers yet the two are intended for different purposes despite their close connection.
Instead of blades like modern-day edgers, lawn trimmers have a nylon line. The string can spin high speed and cut through any turf that’s on the way whether around tree trunks, fence poles, steep inclines, under hedges, the edges, and more.
Their general design uses flexible monofilament fiber and helps them trim practically around all areas that your lawn mower never reaches, or spots with grass so thick or tall to challenge your mower.
These tools also much away at weeds and have also earned the nicknames “need wackers” or “weed eaters”.
Well, I know that you may be tempted to use a trimmer (as long as the head can be repositioned ) for edging and ‘save’ money but you cannot compare the results- edgers are always more attractive because they are optimized for edging.
To me, the best scenario is owning both at some point because of the aforementioned reasons.
With the confusion out of our way, can I mention something about trimmers?
Suffice to say that lawn trimmers almost are equivalent to edgers in terms of their classification.
You will still find the same choices but for a couple of differences here and there.
You guessed it right- these have a longer straight shaft. In general, straight shafts is more comfortable for taller users because of the increased reach which makes it possible to trim without bending or even worse, kneeling.
These are slightly bent somewhere halfway between the spinning trimmer head and the handle. Because of this curving, they’re somewhat shorter and are favored by shorter landscapers, thanks to the shortened handle.
They are still very maneuverable and still keep their trimming head close to the ground for neat trimming.
Just like edgers, lawn trimmers can either be electric (corded or battery( cordless)), gas (2-cycle/4-cycle), or manual.
Useful Tips When Comparing String Trimmers
Pruning helps keep irregular plant and tree growth in check and is also instrumental not only in maintaining a beautiful landscape, but it’s also in promoting proper tree health and growth.
Regular pruning also keep your flower garden blooming and thriving.
So, what’s the best pruning tool for your use?
Garden shears are primarily used to cut stems and branches of various diameters and sizing. Now, for pruning purposes, you will need to choose the correct shear tool lest you damage the blade or destroy the plant.
Shears come in different models and sizes with each fitting a specific task.
These cut branches just like a knife does on the cutting board. The lower blade is flat while the upper one is kept sharp.
These are lightweight and generally, small so less straining.
Anvil shears work better on dead and dried out branches as well as thick branches.
Like the anvil shears, the upper blade is sharp and does the cutting with the blunt lower blade working like a hook to hold the branch as its being cut. This way, the branch cannot slide away.
The resemble scissors but for the curved blades.
Unlike anvil shears which are perfect for dead growth, these are commonly used to prune live branches.
They are much easier to use and give great results meaning they are great as a first pruning tool for new gardeners.
It’s also common to find both left-handed and right-handed options.
Hedge shears are the masters of trimming small hedges or challenging hedges though they can also be used on shrubs and in cutting branches up to about 2 ¼” thick.
They still resemble scissors but have long blades accompanied by long handles.
Hedge shears can make long, straight cuts through branches.
If you want, you can use hedge shears to model new growth in your hedge.
Hedge shears are however unsuitable for cutting stocky branches.
These petite shears cut vegetables and trim herbs of various sizes and types. They are an ever-present for anyone growing herbs and veggies in the garden.
The superior brands have large, heavily cushioned non-slippery grip handles and extra stainless steel blades to help them cut, chop, snip, and mince herbs and vegetables.
One of the greatest multi-purpose tools, needle-nose pruners are mostly intended for pruning light, small branches.
The blades mostly lock for safe, easier storage and come with cozy ergonomic hand grips.
They are straight forward to use and people with small hands favor them when pruning thin fruit bushes and other small plants.
Here are other variations of shears and tools that may help in your pruning and cutting tasks:
These are for your flowers. Also called floral scissors, they are excellent for removing thorns, cutting flower stems (when arranging your flowers), and deadheading fragile flowers.
Their non-slip lightweight grips usually fit comfortably into your hands and help eliminate fatigue
Some use them for snipping herbs.
Very similar to hand shears but for the thicker blades and longer handles, this tool is great for pruning nut and fruit trees plus vines.
You’ll use your two hands to cut and it gives you higher leverage without exerting too much of your energy.
Some actually have telescopic handles which extend to two metres in length to increase leverage and reach high branches.
The newest models have either a gear or a compound lever system and amplify the applied force to help the blades cut easily.
Lastly, loppers most take the anvil or bypass styles.
A pruning saw has sharp teeth similar to what you find in lumber-cutting saws with the difference being that these are purposed for trimming trees and growing shrubs.
Pruning saws come in several shapes and sizes and are even extendable so you can use them both for cutting lowly branches and high branches.
The important thing is to ensure you choose the right pruning saw for the pruning task at hand. For instance, pruning limb saws are outstanding for thick branches while you would need your saw to have a shorter blade if you are pruning branches in tight areas.
There are also electric and gas saws if you are always pruning really thick branches or if you prefer sweat-free work.
A number of pruning saws can be collapsed to make it easy for easier storage.
These are the toughest in the business and are the solution if you’re looking at trimming and cutting your trees.
Pole pruners can shape any tree and have one major advantage:
These have longer handles and can reach high up the trees meaning you don’t need to use a ladder unless you’re working on extreme tall trees.
They also come with super sharp blades but are, however, a bit complex to use and may not be the best tool for new gardeners
Nowadays you can but electric pole pruners so the options are expanding.
Adopting the easy-to-use ratchet design, these are tailored to help you cut tough stems with less effort.
You simply insert the stem between the anvil and the blade then squeeze.
The ratchet design is usually easier because it compounds force from a few squeezes so the pruner will power through the stems and branches without straining your hands.
They also contain an extra section for chopping and trimming the branches in an easier step by step approach.
These pruners work wonderfully even for people with hand injuries or weak wrists.
Useful Pruning and Pruning Tools Tips
The best tool will depend on the type of cutting you often do.
A pitchfork is yet another tool useful in lifting and pitching or throwing loose material such as straws, hay, or leaves
It has a long handle and thick, pointed tines (also fairly long).
The number of tines range from 3 to 10 depending on purpose.
Garden fork are generally shorter and sturdier than pitchforks.
You must nurture your crops to maturity to get a return from your farm. Watering is one of the tasks at the heart of nurturing blossoming plants and maintaining lush flowerbeds and lawns.
Here are some tools you can use to water your yard and sustain a healthy looking garden.
The best watering can should be easier to handle and caring for plants. An easy-to-grip handle is comfortable while a large filling hole helps you to quickly refill it.
There are even cans whose handles are curved from the front to the bottom making them easier to tilt.
Watering cans with nozzles create a fine spray and are gentler on seedlings.
Again larger cans are more convenient provided you can lift them when full.
On construction, rubber generally withstands the weather better than the rest though you can take other as long as they are supported by a mesh layer.
A quality garden hose will help transport irrigation water quickly and smoothly.
If your budget allows, choose a coiled model because of the better storage space economics and easier transportation.
Choices are countless and you’ll need to consider your unique irrigation needs. From heavy duty hoses that expand to 50 feet to steel hoses, you pick what fits you.
Overall, garden hoses should withstand the daily rough treatment that is being dragged across the lawn and driveways, remain pliable so as to water hard to reach areas, and crucially, never kink.
A rake is another mainstay in the tool shed. You will need to rake rocks from the yard and remove unwanted garden debris from the spots where it shouldn’t be.
Having the right raking tool will increase your efficiency and help make this less glamorous task a bit enjoyable.
Rakes exist in various types:
Very common, leaf rakes are lightweight and shaped like fans with flat, typically springy tines fanning outward. They glide over turf digging in moving and gathering ugly fallen leaves but leave the grass unscathed.
These have shorter, stiff tines and shallower heads and generally move dense materials. I am talking about soil, gravel, and such.
These rakes are perfect for breaking up heavily compacted soil and loosening heavy garden debris.
These help in distributing mulch in a garden where plant spacing is squeezed such as around flowerbeds or between shrubs.
Those made of lightweight aluminum and a resin design is easier to use. Most have durable tines intentionally designed to flex (not break) under pressure.
If you, like me, don’t like raking, a good alternative would be the leaf blower. These make short work of fallen leaves, small twigs, and other garden debris.
And with many models combining blowing and vacuuming functions, they do an extremely impressive cleaning job.
There are a couple of choices here:
Gas powered blowers are the most mobile but are costlier than corded electric blowers.
If you own a large lawn, pick the best gas blower as it blows more powerfully than the electric handheld vacuums/leaf blowers.
These are either corded or battery-powered blowers with some of the corded electric models being powerful enough to tackle large jobs.
A cordless (battery), handheld electric blower cum vacuum is more affordable and fine for smaller gardens.
These tend to be gas-powered and are fantastic for blowing piles of leaves and other debris from large areas.
You mount it on your back and is more comfortable and easier to carry around the yard for long durations. They however tend to have higher prices.
After spending days pruning and clearing the yard, you’ll end up with huge piles of branches, leaves, twigs, and other unsightly garden detritus.
Instead of again working for more days hacking away at the unwieldy mountains of debris, a garden shredder will help you shred the garden waste into pieces and have it ready for disposal or reuse in no time.
You can select either an impact or drum shredder.
These cut various waste materials, including hard wood branches, moist cuttings, and big leaves using their sharp and fast-spinning blades.
They are very aggressive and thus extremely noisy.
These use their slow-rotating bladed wheel to trap matter against the built-in sturdy plate before shredding it into pieces.
They are quieter than their impact peers but not as effective when shredding leafy materials.
Gardening gloves guard your tender hand against elements, muck, detritus, biting insects, and helps you remain warm on a cold day out in the yard.
Because almost every gardener needs one, manufacturers have made gardening to protect against almost every other garden menace.
Some look like mountain biking gloves but handle just fine in the garden while others are fashioned out of the toughest mechanic gloves and suit heavy-duty landscaping tasks.
You may also opt for the goat-grained leather gloves which stand firm against threats when you are busy on a blister-risky task or even garden genie gloves which are outlast chemicals, thorns, and tons of irritants.
Let’s face it:
You have to occasionally bend or kneel as you passionately tend the crops or flowers.
And that can be uncomfortable and even painful. Garden seats/ kneelers are designed to provide a comfortable kneeling or sitting place and are handy companions when weeding, planting, or harvesting.
Some have strong tubular frames and double up as a garden seat and kneeler. If you stand them upright, they’re a seat and when you flip them over, they become great kneelers.
Most have supporting handles to enhance your stability and safety while others come with foam padding and much are easier on your knees.
A lawn mower will cut your grass surface to perfect size giving it the looks that will make you proud of your efforts.
The machines use revolving blades to trim the lawn to an even height and help you achieve a healthy and best looking lawn always.
You can even go a step further and create scenic stripes on your own yard effortlessly.
Most of the popular models are either battery-powered (cordless), have plug-in electric motors, or are gas-powered.
To cater for all your lawn shaving needs, these machines come in several types.
These smaller mowers require human power to glide over the surface. They are suit small residential yards and are among the cheapest.
Unlike the human-propelled push mowers, "walk-behind" lawn mowers are self-propelled and you just walk behind guiding them. A significant percentage of the largest lawn mowers – for larger residential lawns- are self-propelling and "walk-behinds".
These are also self-powering but offer more:
They are equipped such that you can ride on it to better control it. Ride-on lawn mowers are favored by gardeners who have walking problems , those who can’t push, or yard owners who often cut massive areas.
They resemble small tractors and are ideal for large lawns
A type of a riding lawn mower, a zero-turn (z-turn) is an eminent standard lawn mower whose turning radius is effectively zero.
This setup enables the mower to effortlessly spin when working on a small area or turn to cut around obstacles on your mowing path
Some are actually "stand-on" types and mow expansive gardens at high speed.
For the largest gardens and commercial mowing like in golf courses, we have the tractor pulled lawn mowers.
These are simply an attachment hoisted to a tractor and function similar to manual push mowers only that their movement is triggered by the tractor’s movement.
They are mostly installed at the back of your tractor.
The latest trend has seen robots rise to prominence in homes. Gardening hasn’t been spared and increasingly, more people are turning to robotic lawn mowers.
These cut grass pretty well autonomously (some charge automatically) but you have to define the area it’s going to mow by surrounding it with a border wire.
They tend to uses their complex shock sensing system to mow safely around obstacles, make intricate cuts with each pass, and navigate very narrow passages. You can even mow at night since they’re so quiet.
Now, while they make your work so much easy and can mow even plots as big as 5,000sq meters, the high prices remain an issue.
Aerators create breathing holes in the earth to improve growth. In compacted grounds, aeration improves natural soil drainage and revitalizes worms, beneficial microorganisms, and every other element requiring oxygen.
Even if you have a large garden, some crops do well in containers. Additionally, planting in containers makes it possible for anyone to learn gardening including children, seniors, and loved ones with limited mobility.
But you have to use the right planters and follow the correct process of planting in containers right to avoid potential problems especially if you’re using self-watering pots.
You can even practice container gardening as part of your home décor by planting in decorative urn planters.
It could also be wise to add a drainage plate to the bottom so as to guard your carpets and floors against staining and water rings when watering your planters.
Bonsai tools are unique in shape, sizes, length, and even sharpness to allow them do any job and are commonly used by gardeners who grow the popular Japan-originated Bonsai tree.
Hundreds of varying designs are available to help you care for the beautiful plant all the way.
Examples include pruning shears, concave cutters, root rakes, and Bonsai tool sets.
A soil scoop is used to scoop potting soil (when planting in planters), make seed furrows, digging, and even weeding.
Personally I find soil scoops most efficient for container planting. Here there’s not much to say but I should warn you that prices vary heavily despite little differences in performance so look around.
As usual, there are even some ergonomic soil scoops so the choice is yours.
Weeding isn’t exactly the favorite task for many gardeners (yours truly included) but is vital if you are to get a good harvest.
A number tools help remove weeds from lawns and gardens and lawns with some being doing a superb job in a short time.
This is what you do:
Choose a short handled tool -like the previously mentioned Hori Hori knife or a trowel- if you usually weed while on your knees like it is typically the case in closely planted areas and long-handled weeders- such as Dutch hoes- if you weed standing and need to cover larger areas.
Your garden needs a safe place to store fertilizers, the harvest, various tools, and basically everything else.
Here are some storage options you can ponder about:
Log cabins are could be a useful addition to your garden and can have multiple uses from storing your gardening tools, bicycles, barbecues, camping equipment, and the garden furniture in winter.
The timber house can even be a gym, a workshop, a place to host visitors, or an outdoor office.
These can look like small lean-tos or barns and can help you store your riding mower and a host of other garden tools safely.
The shed can be a simple, single-story structure (roofed) in the back garden (or anywhere you deem fit) and can also be used as a workshop and for personal hobbies.
You can practically customize it to suit every need.
This can be used as a tool pouch for small tools like screws, drills and so on and can be the ultimate yard tools and implements organizer.
The tote can have plenty of pockets for your pruners, gloves again, water bottles, and such garden utensils and can be cinched closed using cord locks!
A well-designed utility bag will also help you carry other stuff from and to the garden.
A mobile tool storage caddy holds your gardening equipment allowing you to move around with the essential tools while gardening.
Almost everything fits with the smaller items going to the side pockets.
The wheels are usually big enough while the remaining body is built with sturdy materials to help it survive the rough and the tumble of garden life.
A tool caddy is neat, organized and can conveniently be kept anywhere- even in the garage.
Here is an example.
Another way of organizing your tools is using a tool belt.
These are worn like ordinary belts but have pockets which can hold all your important tools and fasteners, as per the current job.
You will ,of course, feel some extra waist around the waist but the convenience of having everything right at hand make it worth the effort instead of constantly interrupting work to go fetch a required tool.
A well-organized belt helps you to work quickly and with more efficiency not to mention that you can easily climb and safely work from ladders.
To grow well, leaning trees, veggies, and train vines need support.
The best way to straighten up climbing veggies is by using garden tines and twist ties.
You immediately notice a dramatic change as the plants can now access more air and light in addition to keep them away from dirt.
The best twist ties or twines are durable, UV resistant, waterproof, and gentle enough to support sensitive plants as they grow.
Some vendors prefer to pack their tools in sets (collection) depending on how often they’re used for a certain purpose.
For example, you can have a gardening tool set containing frequently used tools such as a pruning tool, weeder, soil scooper, gardening gloves, knife, scissors etc.
Tool sets tend to be cheaper than buying each tool separately.
Knowing the soil pH is crucial in understanding whether it has the essential minerals needed to support the plants.
A soil testing kit assesses the quality of the garden soil and helps you know its exact conditions so that apply fertilize more economically and effectively.
Some of the soil testing Kits includes tests for all essential parameters including the pH, phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.
Hods are gathering baskets for your garden harvest, fruits, and things like cut flowers. Most have exquisite frames and are covered with safe materials such as food-grade vinyl.
Though designed as harvest baskets, they can still be used as picnic baskets, knitting baskets, and even to store potatoes and squash.
Some use them to gather and bring items upstairs or to hold guest hand towels. They come in two main sizes: Small and Large.
As you can see, there are numerous types of digging tools for your garden with each fitting specific situations.
Here are some guidelines:
Long handles minimize squatting or kneeling and give more leverage. They are also easier on your back and will, in general, be more comfortable. On the other hand, short handles give better control.
For starters, the idea should be first to get your hands dirty and not necessarily sophisticated heavy duty equipment. This will also allow you enough time to learn what works best for you.
Always wear protective clothing like gloves and eye protection when working. No tool is 100% safe.
Mechanized tools make the usually stressful task of digging on hand, compacted soils easier and enjoyable.
Always clean off your tools after each use.
Rubbing the handles with linseed oil helps to keep them from drying.
Again, always sharpen your tools prior to storing them for the winter. You can also apply a coat of petroleum jelly, oil, or wax to reduce rusting.
To be on the safe side, inspect your tool and tighten loose fasteners and screws often.
Before commencing any gardening task, particularly heavy jobs, gently warm up first. This reduces the risk of strain and cramp, which are can occur when you go straight to work from rest.
Wet conditions are tough for digging tasks and will make your days longer and inefficient due to soil being heavier and sticky. Conversely, dry soils can be hard like concrete though softer underneath the surface. Choosing the best tool will make either of the conditions more bearable.
Having the right garden tool will help you achieve more in a shorter time and without sweating too much.
And as we have seen, there are so many categories – even within tools for a certain job- so you’ll need to take time to know your unique requirements before picking the equipment.
Don’t forget that special people may need special tools like the ergonomic tools. That’s why we have ergonomic tools for people with physical problems and gardening tools for kids.
Lastly, to maximize your tools, observe proper care and maintenance procedures.
Have a fruitful gardening!
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