Good quality tools are essential for ensuring a healthy lawn, and using the right tool for the job makes maintenance a breeze. No matter the size of your yard, here are the lawn care basics you'll need to keep your yard looking its best.
Before you even pick up a tool, purchase a pair (or several) of good work gloves. They'll save your hands from blisters, scrapes, thorns, cuts and general wear and tear. Be sure to choose a comfortable, durable pair that fits well.
Spreaders and Sprayers
For feeding and weeding your lawn, a broadcast granular spreader is a must-have lawn care tool. It disperses fertilizer uniformly in a wide arc. For spot treatment of weeds, add a small capacity (from one- to three-gallon) pressurized herbicide sprayer to your yard work arsenal. For properties larger than half an acre, you may want to invest instead in a backpack sprayer capable of holding four or more gallons.
A string trimmer is a handy yard tool that allows you to cut grass and weeds growing in places your mower can’t reach. A good string trimmer also allows you to remain agile around such lawn care obstacles as fences, mailboxes, bushes, trees and under decks. Some trimmer models also feature an adjustable head. With a simple pivot, you can equip yourself with an edger and give your lawn that perfectly manicured look.
These long-handled tools dig, spread and gather. And there's a surprising variety of them to choose from. A rigid, metal-toothed landscaping or garden rake is ideal for weeding, spreading dirt, separating rock from soil and laying down mulch. If you're looking to remove dead leaves, grass clippings and other debris from your lawn, you'll want a more flexible plastic leaf rake.
Cutting back tree limbs, shrubs and vines requires a good pair of gardening shears. Hand-held pruning shears are great for decorative plants, while larger hedge shears work best for shrubbery. Finally, to keep your trees looking neat and preventing overgrowth, invest in a pair of looping shears powerful enough to cut through green wood.
This little gem of a lawn tool has a variety of uses. Use it as a miniature shovel for digging small holes to plant seedlings and bulbs or put it to the task of rooting out weeds. Some models are actually multi-tools with serrated blades and markings that allow you to measure the precise depth of your garden excavations.
Even in a modestly-sized yard, moving things from one place to another can get to be a chore. Wheelbarrows are great for transporting soil, plants, mulch, hay and other lawn equipment across distances short and long.
Why take minutes to sweep off a driveway or "dust" your garage when it can be done in seconds? You’ll need a broom for other projects around the house, but for efficient cleaning of your yard, you can’t beat a leaf blower. Some models can also be converted into outdoor vacuums, ideal for gathering dead leaves and turning them into mulch.
Some big jobs in your yard call for true power equipment. Large downed tree limbs can obstruct access to your home and become a problem for your neighbors as well. For routine clearing of fallen limbs, dead trees and the like, your chainsaw's engine should be able to rev up to 2 to 2.5 HP (horsepower) and sport a blade at least 16 inches long. And don't skip the necessary accessories: chain oil, an anti-kickback chain and safety gear (goggles, gloves and appropriate clothing).