When gardening or doing lawn-care, it's not necessary to own EVERY tool available for such applications. However, the right tool for the job can save you hours of toil and grief. We've put together 7 such tools that will save you time and bodily harm that we can't live without. (BTW, we've assumed a grass cutting implement is standard to everyone who mows their own lawn, so you won't be seeing a "lawn mower" on the list.)
1. First up a pruner or two. For light duty hand pruning, I love my Corona Anvil Pruner. (Amazon $12.98) It's perfect for trimming stragglers off bushes and cutting flowers.
For bigger branches, I opt to use my Tru Temper Bypass Lopper. My model is currently unavailable, but Fiskars sells a similar lopper at Amazon for $23.13.
For those larger hard to reach tree branches, Sweetiepie LOVES his extendable pole saw, which has a saw and integrated lopper. This one from Big Game would be a great choice. (Amazon $19.79)
2. Weeding tools. Ah, weeds. What garden or lawn doesn't have one or two or a thousand?? When I get all medieval with weeds, I grab a basic hand weeder. Also called "scratch weeders", they're about as simple as it gets...but they WORK. (The Fiskars model pictured here costs a measly $7.99 on Amazon. Another great option is the Fiskars Big Grip Weeder for $13.21.) Unlike one of those stand up weeding tools which I wouldn't recommend--especially if we're talking dandelions because dandelions' roots are just too robust for the such a tool.
3. Watering tools. First, a hose. You might be inclined to skimp in the hose department. Don't do it. Pay a little more and buy something that doesn't kink and is--preferably--predominantly made of rubber. It'll last forever. This Gilmour Flexogen Super Duty Hose is a fantastic choice (Amazon, 50ft, $22.99).
Every hose needs an accompanying rain wand. The one I have has a nice reach, a squeeze lever shut-off, and a bunch of spray patterns to choose from. This one from Dramm is worth every $23.31 of it.
4. Hoes, rakes, and shovels, oh, my. Every gardener is going to need one or all of these. The tricky part would be to find the right one for your particular needs. To help with hoes, check out this fabulous article at Mother Earth News about finding the right type for the job at hand.
As far as rakes go, a 24-tine will make fast work of picking up loose debris and leaves. This Razor-Back 24-tine option from The Home Depot is a good option ($19.97).
Steel rakes, on the other hand, are your go-to for breaking up soil, evening and spreading mulching materials, and even de-thatching. Lowes' Blue Hawke gets excellent reviews and costs a mere $9.98.
Picking the right shovel can be as confusing as picking the right hoe. This elucidating video from Fine Gardening will help you choose. To further your shovel education, you'll then want to check out this article at Building Moxie or this one at Gizmodo which profiles all different types of shovels and their particular applications.
5. A soil knife. I must admit, I hadn't heard of this kind of product before now, but it makes perfect sense. I mean, seriously, a tool that can help remove rocks, divide plants, and cut roots?? I'll take one! This stainless steel number from A.M. Leonard is on my shopping list.
6. Gardening gloves. Whatever you do, never start a gardening or landscaping project without donning a pair of gloves. I particularly like Nitrile gloves like these $5.95 jobs from Gardener's Supply Company. They're tough, provide excellent grip, and are puncture resistant.
Another great option are these super-durable gloves from HandMaster (Amazon, $13.44). They get great reviews too.
7. A garden hat. Okay, I'm going to sound like such a mom here, but, really, you DO need to wear a hat when you garden. Yes, even on overcast days. It goes without saying that a garden hat will protect your skin from sun damage, but it will also help keep you cooler longer. The thing to keep in mind when picking a garden hat is the brim. NO BASEBALL HATS, GUYS! Their brims simply do NOT provide enough protection. What everyone needs in a garden hat is something with a wide brim that encompasses the entire circumference of your head. I love my Sloggers UPF 50+ Classic Cotton Hat ($19.99) for all the benefits mentioned above. It's incredibly well made and is completely adjustable from small to medium. Seriously, I love it.
And for the guys, this Sloggers Unisex option is the ticket. This model is only $19.99 as well.