With flowers beginning to blossom as spring gets well underway, you may have cast your sights towards your outdoor space.
For many, you will have retired from tending to your luscious greenery and blooming flowerbeds towards the end of autumn, with the harsh frost and dropping temperature preventing you from spending too much time in your beloved garden. However, now that the weather is warming up, now is the perfect time to get outdoors!
After having a couple of month’s hiatus from gardening, you may find that your tools are in need of a refresh. This is especially true if they have been sat out in your garden shed over the past couple of months, where they won’t only have been gathering cobwebs and dust, but potentially have begun to rust too. Heading out into your shed with your personalised garden trug, begin to write a list of what you need to repurchase for the upcoming season. This way, you will be fully equipped when you visit your nearest garden centre and won’t get too tempted by the vast array of other tools on display!
We’ve compiled a helpful list of eleven tools that your gardening kit shouldn’t be without. That way, whether you’re starting afresh or are looking to replenish your existing supplies, you’ll be prepared to tackle your garden this summer!
When taking a look at your gardening tool kit, a rake should most definitely be a part of this as they are an essential part of gardening and are used throughout the year. From sweeping up leaves in the autumn to collecting grass after mowing it in the summer, they also come in useful when you’re looking to spruce up your soil without damaging any plants that could be growing beneath the surface.
There are two vital things to consider when buying a rake, and that is the length and the weight of the rake. If you’re going to be spending a while outside tending to your garden, you want to do as much as possible to avoid injury. If over the previous seasons, you’ve noticed that after raking you’re left with aches and pains, it may be due to the tool not being the suitable dimensions of your body. For gardeners with a smaller frame, a border rake has smaller dimensions which you may find beneficial. A border rake also has shorter prongs and is typically lighter, reducing the levels of stress on your shoulders.
Another thing to think about is the durability of your rake. If you have to replace one from previous years, it is likely that it was built from a cheaper material that hasn’t aged well. Forged steel and stainless steel are the most popular options for rakes. Forged steel, although heavier than stainless steel, is coated to prevent corrosion and soil adhesion, which makes it a fantastic long-term choice for your toolkit.
Lastly, take a look at the tines, or prongs, and see how close they are. The distance between each of them is completely up to personal preference. However, the closer together, the less likely you are to need to go over an area more than once.
A garden hoe comes in a number of different styles, which can be beneficial for different purposes. They are a fantastic addition to your gardening toolkit if you’re planning on weeding. Although there are various types, they all have the same purpose – stopping or preventing the growth of new weed by cutting the weed at its root. This is something that you may not have in your garden toolkit already, but if you have struggled with the upkeep of your outdoor space over the past couple of months could be an excellent tool. Not only will this help you save time rather than weeding by hand but can also be used as a preventative measure before planting to check that your flower beds are free from any weeds that you may have missed.
Even for those who rarely find the time to get out-and-about in their garden, a trowel is an essential item that each household should own. If you’re looking to add to your toolkit, it is more than likely that you already have at least one variety of trowel; masonry, garden and float trowels are amongst the most popular options that are available commercially, and their different purposes will help enhance your gardening experience.
No matter the weather, your trowel should be able to easily unearth weeds or plants in your garden, although sometimes you may need the additional help of some weed cutters when doing so. One of the reasons that they are so helpful is due to their size, which makes them easy to work with, and their curved sides. Having curved sides is vital when transporting soil from one area to another, as well as when plotting plants. If you’re looking to rehome some of your well-nurtured flowers from the soil to a garden planter, a trowel will ease any difficulties that you have in doing this.
A shovel is crucial in outdoor work. With a large variety of offer, the task of picking one out for your use can sometimes seem daunting, but a round-point or square-point shovel is the most commonly found in domestic gardening. The blade of a round-point shovel comes to a strong point which is helpful for cutting into the soil, making digging tasks easier. Similarly, the square-point shovel is used for transporting things. The smooth edge of the square-point also means that smoothing soil is easy.
Secateurs or garden sheers are incredibly durable which makes them perfect for cutting through stubborn branches or areas of thick shrubbery. These can typically be used on stems that are up to an inch thick but, although their blades are strong, any thicker branches may end up damaging the tool. If you're looking to invest in a good pair this summer, you will need to decide between either a pair of anvil or bypass type secateurs.
If you're after a cleaner cut, then bypass secateurs are the perfect option. Having a sharp blade on just one side of the tool, the act in a similar way to scissors. However, these should only be sued on plants with thinner stems due to the nature of the blade. On the other hand, anvil secateurs have both blades sharpened and are more like knives. This way, they can cut through thicker plants with ease.
A garden fork is a useful tool as it loosens up soil without cutting into the ground, potentially damaging plants. The appearance of a fork can be distinguished by several prongs, typically four to eight, which have a slight curve. The curve helps to transport the soil or compost to the area where you need it.
A spade is one of the most crucial tools that you need in your gardening kit and is especially helpful if you’re working on a large outdoor area. However, the characteristics of the spade are often overlooked, which may be causing you some difficulties when it comes to using it. If over the last year you’ve been finding that the results that you’ve been getting from your spade aren’t what you were expecting, then you need to take a look at the angle of the blade in relation to the handle; This is known as the lift. If the blade appears to be nearly straight, this is known as a flat blade and is best used when digging up solid material, whereas if the blade is at an angle, your high blade lift shovel will perform best when used to lift a lot of material.
Never underestimate the power of having a good, thick pair of gloves as part of your gardening toolkit. Not only are they an excellent preventative measure form injury, but they can also protect your hands from getting dry due to the soil soaking up any moisture within your skin. In addition to stopping blisters, scratches and splinters, they can also help improve your grip, depending on the pair you have chosen to invest in.
When working in more significant gardens or are undertaking a more extensive task than simply weeding out a flower bed, a wheelbarrow may come in useful. Not only can you use it to transport your tools across to the area that you’re working on, but you can load it up with excess soil, or debris, that is a result of your working on the land.
A hand weeder is something that you should consider for your garden toolkit if you’re looking to sort out an area that has been left to overgrow, or if you’re tending to the land after a long, cold winter. Weeding can often damage your hands due to the stubbornness and thickness of its growth. The best types of garden weeder have good leverage which allows the more substantial and more deeply-rooted plants to come out. Also, if you often have trouble with weeds growing in hard-to-reach areas, you may want to opt for a hand weeder as their wide, flat-sided blade can wriggle its way into small gaps.
If you’re planning on growing anything in your garden, a hose is something that you will need to have. Typically, a hose is attached to an outdoor tap, with its pipe spanning over different lengths depending on how large your outdoor space is.