Whether you are new to gardening or just want to update the contents of your tool store, it can be difficult to decide what tools you will really need to help Mother Nature stay on the right path.
There are tons of businesses out there, with tools to suit all budgets, so how do you decide which ones are right for you? As a general rule, try to avoid the false economy of buying the cheapest you can find – if you are willing to pay a little more, you will end up with a tool that is strong enough for use and will survive heavy use. . Most modern gardening tools come with a decent warranty against breakage. So even if they can’t survive two world wars like your grandfather’s handing tools, they should at least survive your yard rental.
It is important to keep your tools in top condition, so always clean them after use. Remove sap and resin from shears and pruning shears using a drop of white spirit on a rag, scraping away stubborn stains with your thumbnail. Give the blades a squirt of WD-40 for good measure before storing them safely in your shelter. Once a year, rub all tools with wooden handles with linseed oil. This will keep the wood supple, help prevent cracking, and provide years of loyal gardening service.
Here is our list of the best, most essential tools on the market that won’t dig a hole in your bank balance.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commissions from some retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real world testing and expert advice. These revenues help fund journalism through The independent.
1. Fiskars Xact digging shovel: £ 24.54, mon-tool-shed.co.uk
It might not look like a traditional excavator, but it is remarkably well balanced and difficult to start. Equipped with a reinforced steel pointed head, it is able to cut through the most stony soils.
2. Mattock Roughneck 5lb: £ 24.99, homebase.co.uk
For heavy gardening tasks, use it to clean the soil, dig up roots and stones, or dig trenches. This two-handed tool features a high-density fiberglass handle and two super-sharp cutting heads that will inflict and take many punishments.
3. SmartFit telescopic hedge shear: £ 32.38, mon-tool-shed.co.uk
It is lightweight yet sturdy enough for general hedge and tree maintenance, and the handles can be telescoped out, forgetting hard-to-reach areas.
4. Bulldog Border Fork with Soft Grip Handle: £ 24.95, sam-turner.co.uk
A sturdy, versatile edging fork will make most gardening and yard work easier. Forged from a single piece of steel, it’s built to last and will be with you for years to come.
5. Bentley National Trust Lawn & Leaf Rake: £ 24.99, Houzz.co.uk
Traditionally styled with a solid ash handle, it has a decently sized head for picking up leaves and garden litter in difficult border areas, and the sturdy steel tines will do a quick job of scarifying your lawn at the fall.
6. Spear and Jackson Select Tenon Trowel and Fork: £ 9.99 each, homebase.co.uk
These will likely be the most used tools in your garden merry-go-round, ideal for planting, pricking, weeding, and removing cat deposits from your raised bed. This pair comes with soft, non-slip handles and polished stainless steel heads for maximum rust resistance.
7. Trug: From £ 1.75, wilko.com
These Wilko trugs are light, flexible and easy to transport. Useful for moving compost and weeds, or bringing home a harvest, they’re also tough enough to carry your garden tools.
8. RHS Stainless Steel Block Paving Knife: £ 9.95, homeandgardencentre.co.uk
One of the most practical tools in the shed, they are great for cleaning between paving slabs (but also brilliant for keeping weeds at bay in poorly maintained lawns and for cutting and hauling field stains.
9. Spear & Jackson Elements Dutch Hoe: £ 12.86, crowders.co.uk
If you have large areas to cultivate large areas, this long reach tool will do a quick job of all the weed infested vegetable beds. Its hardwood handle makes it as light as it looks.
ten. RHS bypass pruner: £ 16.95, homeandgardencentre.co.uk
These secateurs are a good deal. Rugged and razor sharp, they come with a spare blade and spring. The eye-catching orange handles should prevent them from being accidentally tossed with the clippings.
11. Bentley National Trust Scroll Knife: £ 19.99, buydirect4u.co.uk
An essential tool for carving neat lawn edges, where the concave shape of a spade head simply won’t cut it. Use the step to penetrate hard ground; use a pitting motion to shape softer turf.
12. Yeoman carbon steel onion hoe: £ 3.99, notcutts.co.uk
Not, as you might suppose, for weeding onions, but for weeding between small plants and vegetables where the use of a Dutch hoe would be too brutal. Use in a claw motion for maximum effectiveness – the more stubborn weeds may come back, but at least you’ve taught them a lesson.
13. Pruning knife Opinel No.8: £ 12.46, outdoorgb.com
Every gardener needs a reliable knife. Use it for light pruning and taking plant cuttings, it is also perfect for cutting twine on loosely tied bean stems. This knife features a locking blade that is curved and tempered for cleaner, sharper cuts.
The Fiskars Xact excavator takes pride of place in our tool shed. Not only will it make any digging task easier, but its sleek look will attract admiring glances over the garden fence. If you’re looking for a gardening gift for a friend with green fingers, you can’t go wrong with the RHS Secateurs. They’ll go with you for years of happy pruning, and at a shade under £ 17 they’re an absolute cut.
Read more on Richards blog, twothirstygardeners.co.uk; get the new book of the two thirsty gardeners at amazon.co.uk
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