The Gardener’s Toolkit

Image by Dixon Teter via DesignMine
Image by Dixon Teter via DesignMine

Given that I’ve recently moved and have a few landscaping projects to undertake in my new yard, it’s time for me to restock my gardening toolkit.  To assist with this task, I polled a few of my fellow avid gardeners to determine their essential gardening tools. While it does not contain everything I could possibly need, it does contain the basic equipment needed to manage my basic and moderate landscaping projects.

Top Ten Items for your Gardening Toolkit:

1. Basic Tools (trowel, garden hand fork pruning shears, hard rake, gardening gloves)

I heartily recommend you get all of these basic tools.  But at the very least, a trowel and gloves are the bare minimum I need before stepping foot in my flower bed. Gloves protect your hands from bugs, excess dirt, and possibly injury from thorns, rocks, or buried items (glass, nails, etc) in the ground.  I’m in a new subdivision and I’ve unearthed not only sharp building materials, but entire cups and bottles in my yard. A trowel and a hand fork is essential for digging up and planting new specimens.  And I find a nice, sturdy hard rake helps level dirt and mulch, as well as, makes shallow rows for planting certain seeds.

2. Upgrade Tools– Spade, sharp shooter shovel, gardening hoe, wheelbarrow

While these tools are not a necessity for most, they do make the more back breaking work easier to accomplish.  Spades are very useful in breaking up the earth, especially if you are dealing with densely compacted or clay soils. Sharp shooter shovels are good for severing roots or digging trenches. Garden hoes are very versatile and can be used to weed, break up small amounts of soil, create small trenches, or harvest root vegetables.  Lastly, a wheelbarrow helps to save time, energy, and strain by making it easier to move tools, flowers, soil, landscaping stones, sleeping children, etc., from place to place in your yard.

Image by LPD Custom Builders, Inc. via DesignMine
Image by LPD Custom Builders, Inc. via DesignMine

3. A Plan

A plan, even a vague one, is a necessity. Having a plan will ensure you have the proper tools on hand, limit the amount of repeat trips to the store or nursery, and minimize the amount of time you may have to spend under a hot summer sun.  Just trust me on this one.

4. Soil

Depending on your soil type, issues you may be addressing, needed plant conditions, etc., having a bag or two of either top soil, gardening soil, or potting mix on hand is never a bad idea.

5. Soil Amenders

A soil amender is anything added to soil to improve its condition. Knowing exactly what you need will depend on your soil type and the ideal growing conditions of your chosen plant life.  Proper soil amendment helps with drainage, aeration, and improves the health of your greenery.

6. Knee Pads/Kneeling Bench

This one is almost a no-brainer.  After about twenty minutes with nothing but hard earth underneath your knees, you will realize the need for cushioning. Again, trust me on this one.  Having bruised and overly sore knees is no one’s idea of a good time.

Image by 360 Service Companies via DesignMine
Image by 360 Service Companies via DesignMine

7. Garden Tape

If you’re planting anything that needs some extra support, but not necessarily a stake, garden tape is a useful tool to have on hand to tie up plants and tame vines. Be sure to pick up a garden tape that has some stretch to it, this way you don’t have to worry about strangling your flowers and vines by impending their growth.

8. Stakes

Garden stakes have a variety of uses.  They can be used to give support to certain plants and vegetables, to identify what you’ve planted in your garden and flower beds, or they can be used for strictly decorative purposes.

9. Pain Relievers

After a few hours of being in the garden and flower beds, you may realize your muscles are not a limber as they use to be. 🙂

10. Time, Patience, and an Adventurous Spirit

Gardening, while a necessity, can be a fun and relaxing undertaking if you take three simple things with you:

  • Time: set aside proper time to complete your project. I generally schedule an entire weekend for most of my projects to ensure I can get everything done to my liking and without rushing.
  • Patience: you will run into unforeseen obstacles, just expect it. There will be stubborn shrubs that refuse to be removed, missing tools, having to take breaks from the heat, the possible–and sometimes multiple–return trips to the store, etc.
  • Adventurous Spirit: try to keep a positive attitude. While your project may not go according to your well crafted plan, no doubt it will still be awesome when you’ve finished and you’ll have the sense of accomplishment that goes with completing your task.

Happy gardening!

latessaLa-Tessa Montgomery is an avid & adventurous, novice gardener.  She is also a single mother of three and a first time homeowner who bravely faces all homeownership challenges by keeping her loving stepfather on speed dial.  In addition to gardening, La-Tessa’s hobbies include cooking, photography, and writing.  She’s earned recognition for both her photography and writing via contest wins, peer acknowledgements, and participation in local photo exhibitions. Professionally, La-Tessa is a dedicated team member at American Home Shield — the nation’s leader in home warranties.