For those working in landscaping it is important to have the right landscaping tools in order to create an eye-catching scenery. There are a number of hand and power tools that will be beneficial for anyone working in landscaping. Beckie Jordan guides you through the top tools needed to start a landscaping business.
Even in commercial landscaping, there will be a lot of hard craft that requires hand tools, so investing in top-quality essentials is vital when making a purchase; additionally, if they are well looked after, buying supreme tools is an investment that will last a lifetime. Larger tools and power tools can be easily hired, companies such as City Hire allow businesses to hire a range of gardening and landscaping tools.
A shovel is probably the most used tool by many landscapers. Great for digging, spreading compost and gravel and for planting. It is worth investing in a top-quality model – if budget allows opt for a stainless steel head as it will eliminate the risk of rust, making them last longer, and with ones with a YD handle as these are reliable.
Edging shovels: As the name suggests, these shovels are used for neatening the edges of flowerbeds and grass edges. Due to the design of an edging shovel, it enables you to accurately and sharply cut into the ground, resulting in a precise and tidy edge. The blade of an edging shovel is flat and thin, enabling it to work within small spaces without damaging nearby root systems.
Digging shovels: The digging shovel is probably the most popular and adaptable style of shovel as, although the main job is digging, it is capable of being used for various other tasks, such as spreading soil and transferring plants. The defining element of a digging shovel is that the edges are curved upwards; this allows you to easily hold the debris that has been dug up.
Flat shovels: A flat shovel has slightly raised edges but also has a flat head; this type of shovel is best for scooping, spreading and moving materials – it can also be used for edging, although it is suggested to use an actual edging shovel for this.
Lawn shears: Great for reaching awkward patches not reached by the mower, around around flower beds, tree trunks, and pathways. The shears are available in manual and electric models and the blades can be vertical or horizontal. Horizontal blades are used to cut the remaining grass not cut by a lawnmower, whereas vertical blades are used for trimming edges. As well as blade orientation, shears can be categorised by handle length.
Long-handled lawn shears: These are better for those who prefer to stand rather than kneel down, lowering the risk of damage to your back or knees joints.
Short handled lawn shears: These are great for precision and getting into hard-to-reach areas. The handles on shears are set slightly higher than the blades to remove the risk of grazing hands and they are designed for one-hand use, leaving the other free to collect rubble.
Electric lawn shears: Available as cordless or corded models. Always consider whether you will have access to power if using corded shears.
Lawnmower: This is a staple of a landscapers toolkit, and there are many designs and models to choose from. As a relatively expensive piece of kit, perhaps test out a few models by hiring them first to see which one fits best for your tasks. Choosing the right one for your business is key.
Petrol-powered lawn mower: Best suited for mowing large areas of lawn as an extension lead may not reach the length of the area being cut. It is worth noting that a petrol-powered lawnmower will require to regular services.
Push lawn mower: Occasionally, you may work on smaller gardens. These work purely on muscle power, therefore suitable for flat and small gardens; they also don’t produce noise or other emissions benefiting the environment.
Fork: A garden fork is fundamental for preparing the soil. In addition, garden forks also allow you to remove any plants without damaging their roots to replant elsewhere. Like the shovel, it is worth in investing in a good quality fork.
Dutch Hoe: Weeding a garden is never fun, but a dutch hoe will make this tedious job much easier and quicker.
Trowel: Ideal digging areas too small for a shovel. It is the perfect tool for planting saplings and when working on beds that are busy with small plants.
Gloves: Ensuring you have a decent pair of gloves is crucial – reducing the risk of injury from thorns, sharp branches and bark and for protecting your hands from dryness.
Leaf blower: A leaf blower is essential for effectively clearing landscapes of fallen leaves. Many leaf blowers have a reverse function that allows leaves to be hoovered up and shredded into a bag for easy disposals, like this one here.
Lawn aerator: A lawn aerator is another important power-tool to either invest in or hire. It effectively loosens the grass, allowing more water to flow through and for it to become oxygenated. The result of this is that the grass will successfully grow full of nutrients, ensuring the lawn is as visually pleasing as possible.
Tools are a long term investment so need to be looked after. Tips for tool maintenance are:
Servicing: Regularly servicing will ensure tools are safe to use and fit for purpose.
Storage: Ensure all tools are stored in a dry, well aired placed. It’s best for large tools to be hung to reduce the risk of them becoming blunt and smaller tools can be kept in a bucket with sand or pebbles.
Cleaning tools: Rinse regularly with water and give them a quick scrub to get rid of any substantial dirt. Always dry your tools after washing to prevent rust or corrosion. Treat smaller tools with oil, such as boiled linseed oil as this will also protect the metal from rust or corrosion.
Tools such as shears and pruners should be given a deep clean, at least once every season (4 times a year) to give them the longest life expectancy. They should be taken apart and washed in warm soapy water separately. Then clean with vinegar and water to remove rust; rinse and dry and then place them in a bucket of bleach and water to allow them to soak, rinsing and then drying them.
Keep tools sharp: Blunt tools can damage plants or branches. Invest in a specialised sharpening tool and use when needed (at least once a season).
Buying a toolkit at once can be expensive. Remember quality over quantity is key, therefore start small and invest in top of the range tools. If budget is tight for big investments consider hiring out the larger tools you need for the odd job until you are ready to invest.