Keeping a lawn looking beautiful requires regular attendance to lawn care tasks the year-round. To get a lawn growing well in the first place, and to maintain it through months of use and changeable weather calls for the right duties carried out at the right time of year. Some of these duties require more regular attendance than others but almost all can be completed with a core set of garden tools that will see you through the year – and the years after that! If you’re properly caring for your lawn, you can guarantee plenty of use out of these top tools, making them a very worthwhile, if not essential, investment.
To start with the obvious! With the possible exception of the winter months, you can expect to be mowing your lawn all year round, and with increasing frequency as the weather warms into summer. Controlling grass height is essential, and you may need to allow it to grow a little longer to either retain moisture in periods of drought or to shore up your lawn’s strength if it has thinned at all. Aside from these occasions, however, the general pattern is more mowing as the year progresses towards summer. So ubiquitous is this garden tool, that there are countless models on the market. When it comes to selecting which one is right for you, the most important thing to consider is the size of your lawn. If you have a big lawn, consider a petrol mower to achieve the maximum efficiency over a large area. For small-to-medium lawns, an electric mower should be sufficient. If you fancy getting some exercise while you mow, a hand push mower is suitable for smaller lawns. Be sure you can easily adjust the blade height to meet changing requirements in grass height and thickness; this can vary quite a bit, so go for a model which can offer some precision in this department. Some mowers come with a mulching function which provides you with added fertiliser in the form the grass you have just cut. However, make sure the grass is cut fine enough for this function. Non-mulching mowers should always have a collection box to catch cut grass. The rule of thumb is to get yourself an efficient mower that is suitable for your lawn size and can cut grass to various heights – you’ll be using it a lot!
You’re sure to get some periods of drought throughout the year and you can expect manual watering to be a fairly common task – especially into the summer. For that reason, you’ll obviously also need a hose. There’s not much else to say about this incredibly simple piece of kit except that it’s important to make sure it can make a watertight connection with both your water supply and watering tools, and that it’s long enough to cover your garden area. A great place to view the most suitable hose for you is our watering section. Be careful not to water every day when it isn’t needed, this will encourage root growth at the surface where the water is concentrated and will discourage the deep root growth that is so essential for lawn health and guarding against winter damage. A thorough soaking when it’s dry is all you will need.
Edging Shears and Edging Iron
One of the most conspicuous indicators of a lawn in need of some care is poorly defined or shaggy edges. The grass will always grow over the edge of a lawn over a certain height, and a lawnmower is useless for tackling this problem. Furthermore, because of the natural effects of plant growth and wear and tear, lawn edges will become less straight and poorly defined. An edging iron (sometimes called a half-moon) is essential for creating your edges, and edging sheers are essential for keeping them looking sharp – both are essential garden tools. When using the edging iron, stab straight downwards to create a clean edge. If you can afford the lawn space, this is also a quick way to deal with a shaggy edge – simply cut it away and create a new one! When using edging shears, be sure to cut vertically, as tearing the grass at the roots will lead to brown edges.
After a mower and a hose, this is perhaps the most obvious garden tool. It is also one of the simplest and cheapest, but it can be put to so many uses. From evening out soil before seeding to removing debris which can inhibit lawn growth, the humble lawn rake probably has the strongest claim to the title “gardener’s best friend”. Most often, you will use your rake for general tidying up, but it can also be used for the more complex tasks of scarifying your lawn (by dragging it roughly across your grass), removing moss and weeds (after killing, this is how you remove them) and even aerating your lawn (by stabbing its prongs down into the turf). A more suitable product for this would be an aerator.
Spreaders and Sprayers
Although not strictly essential, both of these tools save the gardener a lot of work in areas where human error is especially common. Behind both of these helpful tools lies the principle of proper distributing, whether it be seed, feed or pesticides and weed killer, applying too much or too little over the wrong areas can lead to a patchy effect which can all but ruin the appearance of a lawn. To evenly distribute seed, fertiliser or some other granular product, a lawn spreader, either a rotary or a drop spreader will ensure an even spread, which can protect against over- or undergrown patches. A lawn sprayer, on the other hand, is very useful for topical application of weed killer or pesticides, protecting the healthy grass nearby. Not strictly essential then, but a solid investment all the same.
Often fancifully called a “strimmer”, an electric string trimmer is an essential tool for optimising your mowing regime. After a mowing session, you may notice that there are certain areas the clunky bulk of a lawnmower has prevented you from reaching. This is often the areas around fences, poles, greenhouses, trees, garden furniture etc. Think of a string trimmer as a smaller, more agile and more precise mower, allowing you even out these areas and achieve a perfectly manicured look. A string trimmer can also help with weed removal, overgrown patches and edging.