A garden trowel is designed for small jobs such as transplanting young plants, digging holes and mixing soil. Get a few trowels in different sizes and styles, and you will be prepared for any gardening job! For example, a sharp-pointed trowel is ideal for transplanting work that requires precision cutting and digging, while a trowel with a flatter blade can be used for edging a small area.
A garden fork allows you to break up hard, lumpy soil and mix in the compost, thus providing an aerated and consistent environment in which your plants can grow roots and thrive. Use a short-handled garden fork when working with soil in pots or in small areas of your garden. A larger, long-handled version of the garden fork is necessary for larger areas.
Shovels and spades
If you have some serious earthworks ahead, turn to this long-handled duo. A shovel has a curved blade and is used for lifting, turning and moving soil. A spade usually comes with a flatter blade that you press into the ground with your foot. Shovels can be used for most of the work required of a spade, except perhaps when you want to tackle edging a larger section of the garden.
Garden hoes are tools with a flat blade attached at a right angle to the handle. It has numerous uses in the garden, from breaking the hard ground and stirring the soil to cutting off weeds. Armed with a hoe, you can quickly dig a shallow trench that is ideal for planting seeds just below the surface. So, if you plan to start a vegetable garden, make sure you get a good garden hoe.
Leaf rakes with their long, flexible, often fan-shaped prongs allow you to clear leaves or twigs from your lawn while leaving the soil intact. Garden rakes have short sturdy prongs that are great for breaking up and levelling soil, giving it that coveted neat look. While leaf rakes are usually busy in autumn, garden rakes are indispensable in springtime when you are preparing the soil.
Shears and pruners
Shears and pruners (or secateurs) are among the garden tools you will use the most. Reach for a pruner when you need to cut relatively thin stems or branches one by one. Long-handled pruners are great for getting to the branches high up in a tree. Shears are used for cutting back a number of thinner stems at once. With shears in your hands, you will easily accomplish tasks such as trimming hedges or shaping topiaries.
A pruning hand saw is a tool that every gardener should have. After all, pruners are fine for stems and branches that are about two centimetres thick, but for anything bigger you need something with more cutting power. Pruning saws are ideal for the job, because they cut on the pull stroke. This gives you more control when sawing branches, enabling you to produce a nice, clean cut.
If you ever had to go looking for your child’s paper scissors when presented with the task of opening a seed packet, you know that a gardener must have a pair of garden scissors. This humble piece of equipment can be used to accomplish a variety of tasks. Besides opening seed or compost packets, garden scissors can be used for pruning small plants or for digging out weeds, if you have nothing else at hand.
Garden hoses are usually made from rubber or vinyl. Rubber ones are more expensive, but they are also easier to handle and they last longer. Make sure the hose is long enough to reach all the nooks and corners of your garden; you may want to consider getting an expandable water hose. Also get a spray attachment. Using your thumb is not a comfortable option! Besides, with an adjustable nozzle you can control the water pressure and spray radius.
Even if you love sticking your fingers into the fragrant soil, you still need a good pair of garden gloves. They will help you avoid blisters when working with a shovel and protect your hands against scratches when cutting thorny shrubs. All in all, gardening will be even more enjoyable with a pair of gloves. Choose robust gloves made of breathable material.
Remember to clean your garden tools regularly and to store them in a dry place, out of direct sunlight, and they will last you practically forever.