Start with a Few Good Tools

Pruners, Shears and Loppers

Gardening is a whole lot easier when you start out with a few high quality tools that are made tough for the job.  

They’ll make your life so much easier and things will get done more easily and with less effort than if you choose inferior tools. 

The tools featured here are some of the ones that I personally use just about everyday and know to be perfect for this type of gardening. They are Loppers, Shears and Pruners.

Don’t Buy Cheap Tools

You get what you pay for is true of so many products and is definitely true of garden tools. If a tool is low cost there’s probably a good reason. It’s important to choose professional grade tools so they don’t break easily and you won’t be disappointed.

Although you will be able to find the same type tools available in many different stores, including “dollar stores”, it usually isn’t a good buy. Even though they look the same, these tools are not the same quality as what you would buy at say, a hardware store or garden centre.

Good quality tools will cost more up front, but it will ultimately end up costing you less in the long run in repair and replacement costs. Don’t cheap out on your tools. It’s better to have a few good tools that you can rely on rather than a pile of crappy tools that bend or break.

Types of Rakes

Choosing the right tool for the job is very important. My favourite rake is called a Pro-Flex spring rake. It comes in wide and narrow designs but are all built basically the same way. They have a compact head firmly fixed on a wooden handle with metal tines as you can see here.ProFlex Spring Back Rake

It’s made using high quality plastic and features a flexible head with a flat metal tine structure where you can apply quite a lot of pressure while raking and not worry about it breaking at the connection point.

The rake featured in the image is narrow and good for raking in narrow garden beds or small amounts of leaves and debris.  

The Leaf rake looks completely different and it’s structure is meant to grab lots of leaves easily and sweep them together. It’s also very lightweight.

A Hard rake is the one you’d use on gravel to smooth it out or to remove rocks from soil when preparing a new flower bed.

Weeding Tools

 I have two favourite weeding tools that really do a multitude of jobs well beyond what they were intended for. Stainless Steel Hand Held Weeding Knife

One is a funny looking, dangerous little thing with one side sharpened and it’s called a Crack Weeder.

It’s intended to remove weeds and their roots from between paving stones and other very narrow areas that other tools won’t fit. It works amazingly well for such a simple design.

I always test my tools and push them beyond their limits, I recommend that you do the same! This is the only way to know when you’ve found the most well made and toughest product out there.

I use the crack weeder for everything from weeding to loosening soil to stone lifting and laying to all out grass removal. It’s great for scraping, cutting roots, dividing plants, planting and digging too. It’s a must have tool for every gardener.

Fiskars Softouch WeederThis tool looks like it would be completely ineffective and is already bent out of shape!

It’s a Dandelion Weeder. It works like a charm on deep tap root weeds and many other stubborn weeds that like to break off at the soil surface. It’s a must have tool.

The perfectly shaped pointed “v” grabs the neck of the weed firmly without cutting it and the bend on the bottom of the tool is the pivot point to pop it out of the ground easily and usually on the first try.

 Don’t let first appearances fool you, they are two of the best tools I’ve ever owned and cannot do without.

Bypass PrunersFelco Bypass Pruner

Bypass pruners are the “regular” type of pruner you most commonly see in the stores. The two blades slide next to each other like the blades of household scissors. Bypass pruners are intended for use on live wood, but are acceptable to use for all small pruning jobs.

Anvil Pruners

Anvil pruners are different from bypass pruners in that the blades don’t pass by each other. The cutting blade clamps down and cuts through the branch to meet a flat surface on the opposite side of the tool.

Anvil pruners are intended for use on dead wood, but can be used on other branches too.

Felco Pruners

I recommend investing in a pair of Felco pruners if you can. They are the Cadillac of hand pruners and worth the higher price. I recommend the model F-2 which are a little more compact and suited to smaller hands or ladies hands.

Felco Pruners are a bit more expensive than many other brands but are worth the price in the long run if you are willing to do a little maintenance on them and take care of them. Felco makes available all the replacement parts for their tools individually.

They make several different size pruners and models including this common design and then this smaller design for small hands.

Everything from the different blades to the handles and the springs in between to the nuts and bolts. With good care, sharpening and use of replacement parts they will serve you well for many years to come.

The Garden BanditThe Garden Bandit

This tool has to be, by far the easiest and most effective weeding tool I’ve ever owned. This unassuming simple design makes the job of getting those fussy little weeds out from around other plants that other weeding tools are often too large to do.

The thin band of stainless steel glides effortlessly through the soil and loosens the surface and the weeds which then makes it quick and easy to pick up and remove large numbers of small weeds at once. 

Best Loppers

A good pair of loppers is important to have as well. Loppers are essentially giant pruners that are capable of cutting much larger branches.

Loppers, as with all tools you’ll find several different models, designs, weights, blade styles and purposes. The loppers featured in the image below are called Bypass Loppers. They are also available in the “anvil” design just like pruners are.

I recommend Fiskars PowerGear loppers. They are available in a variety of sizes and models for all jobs including larger jobs with bigger branches. Fiskars Powergear Loppers 21"

They are very lightweight and easy to work with, which is not true of all loppers.

Some loppers are made so heavy that it’s a struggle to lift and hold the tool before you even begin to cut anything.

This is very hard on the wrists, elbows and shoulders. You’ll end up sore and tired quickly.

The next best part of the Fiskars lopper is the “PowerGear”. This brilliant improvement is what multiplies your strength by 3. You will be able to cut through sizeable branches with ease, like you never though possible.

That’s a quick run down of my preferred tools that have helped me through numerous jobs with ease. Try some of them out and see which ones you like best. 

Do you have a favourite tool that I haven’t discovered yet? Leave a comment and tell me about it and why you love it.


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One thought on “Start with a Few Good Tools

  1. Cynthia Ann Leighton

    January 27, 2014 at 11:39am

    Nicely done site. Good idea, sharing ways to save long term in gardening by investing up front in the kinds of stuff that will save time, effort and money.

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    • Stacy

      January 27, 2014 at 5:55pm

      Thank you, glad you like the site. I appreciate your comment 🙂 It’s very true, we need to invest in the kids and teach them these things that will help us all in the future.

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