The most essential gardening tools for a beautiful backyard (part 1)

Did you know that 35 percent of U.S. households grow food either at home or in a community garden? Now more than ever, people are getting into gardening and yard work.

Creating a beautiful backyard and garden takes effort, but having the right tools for the job makes it easier.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve compiled a list of useful gardening tools and their uses. So keep reading to discover which essential gardening tools you need to create your backyard oasis.

Trowel

A trowel is a handheld tool similar to a small shovel. It has a sharp pointed tip and a scoop blade.

You use trowels to break up the soil, scoop soil, dig small holes, and add fertilizer.  Because of its versatility, a quality trowel should top your garden tools list.

A good trowel should have a sharp enough edge to cut through grass, tough soil, and roots. It should also have a sturdy handle that’s easy to grip and comfortable to hold.

Leaf Rake or Leaf Blower

If you live in an area with deciduous trees in or around your yard, you need to invest in a quality rake or leaf blower.

Leaf rakes rake up dead leaves and small debris like twigs. A good leaf rake should have tines to collect leaves and grass clippings. It needs to be sturdy as well so you can sweep up twigs and small debris.

If you hate cleaning debris out of your rake, you might want to invest in a leaf blower instead. A leaf blower might save you time and effort, but it can create noise pollution. Before buying a leaf blower, make sure your city doesn’t have any noise limit laws.

Did you know that dead leaves can benefit the garden? Moving leaves from your yard to your garden creates food for earthworms. Earthworm castings help improve the quality of your garden soil.

Store garden tools properly during the winter months

There’s a chill in the air and your gardening activities are likely slowing down. It’s time to get those small engine tools properly stored for the winter so you’ll be able to hit the ground running next spring.

It’s always a good idea to change the oil and filter in your gas-powered tools before storing it for an extended period of time. Here’s a little tip – run the piece of equipment for a bit first. This will warm the engine and you’ll get better oil flow when you drain it. Additional, the warm oil will much more easily remove any dirt suspended in the oil. Don’t forget to change the oil filter meanwhile. Check the owner’s manual to ensure you use the recommended amount, quality and viscosity of the oil.

If you notice the spark plugs are worn or burned, now is a great time to replace them. Gap the plugs based on manufacturers’ recommendations using a gap tool. Be careful not to over-tighten when replacing the plug. Using a torque wrench and correct torque to reinstall the plug will help avoid the possibility of stripping the threads in the engine block.

After changing the oil and filter, take the time to clean the engine. Most small engines are air-cooled and have cooling fins on the engine block. Keeping those fins clean will help prevent overheating the engine. It also is a good time to inspect the air and fuel filters and replace them if necessary.

It’s never a good idea to store a piece of equipment with gasoline in it. Old, stale gas can evaporate over time and leave a buildup in the carburetor. This buildup will make the engine more difficult, or impossible, to start next spring. The easiest way to empty the tank is to simply run the engine dry. The tank will be ready for fresh gas next year.

Another way is to fill the tank with fresh gas having a gasoline stabilizer added to it. You must use fresh gas as the stabilizer only stops deterioration; it can’t reverse it. Mix the stabilizer with at least a gallon of fresh gas rather than trying to decide how much to add to a small tank. Storing an engine with stabilized gasoline in the tank will prevent the problem of seals drying out.

Taking that little extra time to properly maintain and prepare a small engine in the fall will help get your spring gardening activities off to a great start.

Top 5 Gardening Tools

It is important to have the right top 5 gardening tools to make the process of maintaining and planting your garden easier. Having the right tools also will make it more enjoyable and easier on your physically. Gardening is a relaxing and therapeutic way for people to spend time outdoors cultivating the beauty of nature.

As we look at the tools we often come across as we go about our duties in the garden, we have come to the understanding of which are most important in our collection. Below we look at those we feel make the difference and are must have’s for the recreational gardener.

Clearing Tools


Clearing tools are an integral part of maintaining your garden. They are versatile and designed to allow you to trim bushes, stems, vines, branches and roots. They help you to prevent overgrowth and maintain a proper balance within your garden. When purchasing clearing tools, it is best to purchase those that are rugged, designed to be resistant to rust and easy to use efficiently.

Shovel for Digging


If you were to ask anyone who has ventured into gardening, it is a safe bet to suggest a good shovel is one that they highly recommend and we agree. They are needed for many applications within your garden from digging a hole, mixing soil and spreading soil when adding and maintaining your garden. The design of shovels has come a long way since its earlier days and is ergonomically designed, made of steel, and sturdy enough so that it will not bend under pressure.

Spade for Edging


A spade for edging is another in our top 5 list. An edging spade will allow you to edge around flower beds, trees beds, driveways and sidewalks edges and more. They may also be used when undertaking various planting tasks. Ideally, for comfort, purchase one with a rubber pad as this will make it more comfortable on your foot.

Shears

Shears are perfect for when you need to cut branches or bushes. Shears will allow for you to cut branches that are up to 1.5 inches in diameter and are designed to let the tool itself do the work versus brute strength. They range in size, and it is ideal to have several within your collection so as to allow you flexibility when needed.

Pruners

When you need to maintain your flower beds and remove dead deadheads, small stems and twigs, pruners are the perfect solution. They are an excellent multi-purpose gardening tool that any respectable gardener will not be without. Pruners are designed more for gentle use and not cutting stems bigger than a half an inch in diameter.

Pruning Saw

A pruning saw is another in our top 5 must have’s. They come in a variety of sizes and are used when the need arises to prune branches that are too large for shears or smaller pruning tools. Many are designed to be compact and versatile; ideally, have several in varying sizes so as the task is easier based on the job at hand.