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What are your 'essentials'?

Being fairly new to gardening I've not got much in the way of gardening tools, which I feel is starting to limit what I can manage in the garden!  

I have a good quality mower, spade, fork, edging knife, soil rake, hand trowel and hand fork, one of those Fiskar weed pullers (husband purchased that when he went to war with the dandelions), and ratchet anvil secateurs.  I also have some short handled edging shears, but they are probably a bit blunt now as they used to be my Dads.  I've got a cheap little dibber too, and the usual trugs.  

The back garden is as seen here (please excuse the mess in the bottom right hand corner, husband is in the middle of sorting out a base for a new summer house so we've been emptying out the compost bin and demolishing an old shed):


Theres a large lilac bush and (what I think is) a berberis out of shot too. 

Front garden is mostly grass, except for this border (which now also has three dogwoods in the 'empty' space):


So, what essential tools would you recommend I purchase to help me manage the gardens I have?  Anything that makes things easier for a woman who isn't too tall, and lacks much strength, would be very helpful!


Last edited: 15 August 2016 14:58:46



  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,230

    You've listed nearly all the tools that I use already! The only ones you don't mention are telescopic loppers for shrub and tree work, and I also use my trusty bow saw a lot, but I have a lot of trees and overgrown shrubs. You probably won't need them as muchimage I also have a sample square of carpet, with a rubbery backing that makes an excellent kneeler, as it is big enough to sit on and protects the front of my legs as well as my knees. My previous one was even better though, it was shag pile and  really comfy, but I wore it out! A good pair of kitchen scissors comes in handy too. With a large garden a wheel barrow is essential too, but I didn't need it as much where we lived before as the distances weren't as great. I walk miles everyday in this one, I am going to get a pedometer sometime to find out just how far, as it really mounts up!

    One thing I haven't got but am thinking about is a sack truck for moving!), and paving flags and rocks and large pots, as it saves lifting them into a barrow.

    Last edited: 15 August 2016 15:20:34

  • Thanks Buttercupdays :-)

    Telescopic loppers would be very handy, thank you, that's going on my list!  

    I like the idea of the carpet offcuts, kneeling pads never seem to be big enough!  

    I'll be nabbing a pair of scissors from the kitchen too.

  • lilysillylilysilly Posts: 511

    I suffer with a bad knee after an accident years ago so kneeling to weed can be difficult. I've kept some polystyrene packaging approx 60cm square, 5cm deep that l now kneel on. These l find better than cushioned kneeling pads. I also bought a onion hoe approx 60cm long for weeding the back of my borders it's great for getting around shrubs and under rose bushes. I've also got an old rug that l will lay down on my front and weed  and plant from if my back is playing up. Where there's a will there's a way sometimes with my aches and pains. I also couldn't be without a couple of those deep flexible plastic trug bucket thingys for carrying stuff and as weed collectors.

  • Lilysilly, thank you...the long hoe sounds ideal for me too as I have hip problems so kneeling and getting back up too much can be painful.  I haven't tried weeding lying down yet, but if I can find a bit of rug that's long enough I might yet try it!

  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 23,602

    The hand weeder with the two points. The one that's supposed to be for daisies etc

    I use it for forking up soil around plants ans of course for weeding

    Good leather gloves

    Sharp secateurs

    Small plastic hand rake. Gentle prongs to collect hoed weeds without damaging plants.

    Plastic bucket to carry tools around

    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Thank you B3, they are all really helpful suggestions.  

  • lilysillylilysilly Posts: 511

    This is my new onion hoe brilliant little toolimage  Laying down gardening is often the only way that's pain free for me. Luckily my borders are next to grass or path so an even surface to lay on. I used to worry that a neighbour might see me and think me crazy but now l couldn't care less. Needs must ?

  • That onion hoe looks perfect.

    Who cares what the neighbours think!  

  • RedwingRedwing SussexPosts: 1,288

    Being female I find standard size forks and spades too big, too heavy duty. About 20 years ago I changed to a border fork and spade and it has made such a difference.  I can limit myself so don't hurt my back so easily.  I really recommend them to anyone who is not that strong or has back problems.

    I prefer the two blade type of secateurs as the anvil type can crush stems.  They give a cleaner cut. Knee pads are standard for me; the type you see builders using with straps round the back of the knees.

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • Lou12Lou12 Posts: 1,149

    I use an onion hoe too, it's the only hoe I can get on with.

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