Gardening does wonders for the body and mind. Digging, sowing, watering, mowing, raking, pruning… gardening is great exercise and also relieves stress, improves mood and trains your patience. Last but not least, harvesting the fruits—including in the literal sense—of such work is gratifying for the heart, eyes and palate.
Gardens thrive on continuous care all year round, and this requires varying degrees of commitment depending on the season. To work methodically you need good gardening tools, so today we're going to give you some essential tips on lawn care and pruning. Keep reading to find out more.
Gardening tools: how to choose them
A proper DIY gardening kit consists of both manual and power tools made from high-quality materials. Although the cost of bargain-basement gardening tools might seem appealing, their build quality is likely to be average at best: as the saying goes, “buy cheap, buy twice”!
It’s not essential to buy everything in one go, because quality, rather than quantity, is what counts. So, it makes sense to assemble your gardening tool kit one item at a time, weighing up your actual needs as they arise. The same goes for gardening clothes.
Whilst you should beware of cheap products, you also don't need to buy the most expensive and high-performance gardening tools if some decent entry-level equipment will more than serve the purpose.
Look for the best compromise between your needs, the price of the equipment and its quality (i.e. solid construction, durability). We advise you to weigh up the cost of your gardening tools against these factors:
Amount of work: for example, the size of the area you need to mow, prepare or clean; the number of trees to be pruned, and so on. The more work there is, the more robust and powerful your gardening tools should be.
Difficulty level: see the previous point and also consider the context. For example, is the lawn you will be mowing flat, sloping or uneven? The more demanding the job, the more powerful the tools must be.
Time: Do you need to get your gardening work done quickly, or can you take it easy? This variable normally determines whether you need power tools or manual gardening tools.
Maintenance: all gardening tools need this. When it comes to power tools, keep in mind that engine-powered equipment requires more attention than electric and battery-powered tools.
Environment: if your garden is close to other houses, consider the noise factor. Generally speaking, battery-powered gardening tools are quietest, whereas petrol-driven ones are noisiest.
Ecology: in addition to being quiet-running, battery-powered gardening tools use rechargeable batteries and don’t emit exhaust fumes. We talk about this in our article on battery-powered products as an eco-friendly choice.
Gardening tools for lawn care
If you are passionate about gardening and landscaping, you already know how much lawn care matters. Of all the maintenance jobs to be done in the garden, mowing is probably the one that needs doing most frequently, so a lawnmower is an integral part of your gardening toolkit. Depending on your needs, you should decide whether to buy a petrol-driven, electric, battery-powered, push-type or self-propelled mower. To work out the optimal solution for you, check out our tips on how to choose the right model, whether it be a petrol-engine, electric or battery-powered lawnmower.
Alternatively you can use a brushcutter which, in addition to letting you mow in places that are inaccessible to a lawnmower, also enables you to trim edges, easily cut overgrown and wiry grass as well as sloping or irregular turf, and eliminate small shrubs or clear reeds or undergrowth. It’s the brushcutter’s power rating and cutting line characteristics that make the difference: to find out more, take a look at what to cut with a brushcutter.
Garden tractors are the all-rounders among professional gardening tools: indispensable in the countryside, or if you have a medium to large-sized garden. You can choose between agile rider mowers, models with rear or side discharge and professional wheeled brushcutters, which are suitable for rough terrain, sloping ground and dense, overgrown vegetation. You can learn more about these products in our article on which garden tractor to buy and why.
Lawns should be kept clean from grass clippings, pruning residues, dry leaves and any other debris, which will compact over time to form a thick barrier of thatch that starves the grass and soil of light, oxygen and water. To prevent or at least limit thatch, rake the lawn regularly, especially in autumn, or use a blower. If your lawnmower or garden tractor has a mulching function, you can leave the grass clippings where they are, otherwise collect them until the arrival of summer (when grass decomposes more easily).
Also on the subject of sprucing up the garden, if your paths, paved surfaces, outdoor furniture and play equipment, gazebos or other features need cleaning, a high-pressure washer can be an invaluable aid: find out how versatile this gardening accessory is in our article on everything a high-pressure washer can do.
Gardening tools for pruning
Another chore that the DIY gardener needs to do fairly regularly is pruning: we are specifically talking about winter (or dry) pruning and summer (or green) pruning. These are delicate but necessary tasks that help to maintain plants’ desired shape and size, renew productive branches and eliminate any excess ones, let light and air into the canopy, eliminate dry or sick vegetation, fix damage caused by bad weather or trauma, and ensure vigorous flowering in ornamental species, or abundant production in fruit trees.
If you need gardening tools for light pruning, go for manual pruning accessories such as loppers, pruning saws and also pruning shears, which are indispensable for precision jobs. When you need to cut down thick branches or prune numerous trees—for example, if you have an orchard—we suggest using a pruning chainsaw or telescopic pruner. How to decide between one or the other? Find out how a pruner works and how to choose the best pruning chainsaw.
For trimming shrubs and hedges you can exploit the practicality of a hedgetrimmer: click the following link to compare the different hedgetrimmers on the market: petrol-engine, electric and battery powered.
Not just for pruning: chainsaws are multi-purpose gardening tools. Depending on the power rating, you can use them for felling trees and shrubs, cutting up firewood and even DIY projects. For example, find out here how to cut your own wood.
Gardening clothes: basic items
When using sharp garden accessories or tools—like all the ones we mentioned for pruning—always wear anti-cut protection clothing, specifically a jacket, trousers, boots and gloves to protect you from blades, as well as wood splinters, bumps, grazes and so on. Don’t forget goggles or a face shield to safeguard your eyes.
When pruning, it is equally important to wear a helmet and ear defenders to guard against falling branches or other foliage, as well as vibrations and noise produced by gardening tools. Whether you are a DIY gardener or a professional groundskeeper, safety is paramount and shouldn’t be underestimated or ignored.