Get into Gear
At the first flush of forsythia color, you're ready to hit the home center and jump headfirst into yard work. But, tempting though it may be, buying newfangled equipment isn't necessary—you can skip the motorized wheelbarrow! What do you really need to whip your landscape into shape? Keep reading to find out!
Digging ain't easy to begin with. Don't make it any harder by using an inferior tool. Opt for a well-made, ergonomic model like this one from Fiskars. Behind the scoop, this long-handled digging shovel features a steel plate, as opposed to a gap—a simple design feature that prevents dirt from accumulating and slowing you down. Meanwhile, the hardened steel components ensure durability and low-maintenance requirements. Just sharpen the scooping blade every so often. Available at Amazon; $34.99.
Unloading soil, mulch, or compost gets a whole lot easier when you can easily maneuver your wheelbarrow. From first tip to final dump, the D-shaped handles of the True Temper enable you to stay in control. It's not the lightest wheelbarrow on the market, due to its steel (not poly resin) tub. But if you're seeking long-lasting equipment capable of conquering the heaviest-duty gardening and landscaping jobs, your search ends here. Available at Amazon; $109.82.
You may think it's not a must-have, but if you try a cordless electric blower like this one, you may be pleasantly surprised by the range of number of its uses. Make no mistake: These types of blowers don't pack enough punch to clear large, debris-covered yards. But for countless other small jobs outdoors, it's tough to beat the convenience and portability of a quiet, relatively lightweight blower that requires neither messy fuel nor annoying extension cords. Available at Amazon; $192.32.
Cordless String Trimmer
No other battery-powered lawn and garden tool makes more sense than the string trimmer. The minimal amount of torque required to trim a 10-inch wide swath of grass means the battery will edge your entire yard (and more) on a single charge. Of course, Black + Decker was one of the original manufacturers to have pioneered cordless, lithium-ion outdoor power tools, and its brawny 60V model still ranks among the best. (Note: The battery pack conveniently fits other Black + Decker cordless tools, such as a hedge trimmer and leaf blower). Available at Amazon; $169.99.
Left to their own devices, shrubs and small trees would grow into messy tangles. Pruninig not only helps control the specimen's shape, but it also promotes new growth. Bypass pruners like the best-in-class Felco make it as easy it can be to cut away dead branches and green (living) wood. Even better, its two sharp blades leave a tear-free cut that heals quickly. Available at Amazon; $49.18.
Getting your hands dirty? Gloves are a must. Of course, many veteran gardeners swear by nitrile gloves like these, but you've got plenty of options. For instance, if you're going to be doing plenty of planting and weeding, you may want to consider a pair with built-in digging claws, like our Bob Vila Shovel Gloves. The stretchable fabric provides breathability, while the textured, waterproof latex provides a comfortable, no-slip grip in a size that fits most hands. Available at Bob Vila Products; $14.99.
Few things frustrate more than a cheap hose that kinks and sprouts a leak. Pay a bit extra for a quality rubber one, such as this 50-footer from Craftsman. Another mark of quality are the nickel-plated, heavy-duty brass couplings at both ends of the hose—more than strong enough to withstand an accidental stomping! Available at Amazon; $35.54.
Working far from the shed is not when you want to realize that you're without a knife to cut string or a saw to cut thick branches. The Fiskars Big Grip Garden Knife, a trowel relative, packs in those uses plus many others—it’s a Swiss Army Knife for your yard! Available at Amazon; $12.59.
The extra-wide head on the built-to-last Bully Tools Leaf Rake facilitates repetitive outdoor tasks, such as gathering yard debris or spreading compost. And as you work, you're not likely to clog the rake head, as its design leaves little space between tines. The tines themselves are made of metal and are able to support at least 20 pounds of free weight—practically unheard of in the rake category! This is a tool you can keep by your side for years to come. Available at Amazon; $39.99.
Whether you're a lawn care novice or a master gardener, everyone can use a little help around the yard. Subscribe to The Dirt newsletter for tips, recommendations, and problem-solving tools that can help you tame your great outdoors.