For many, gaining access to a lawn is one of the perks of homeownership. Having a lawn means having outdoor space to garden, enjoy nice weather, cook out, toss the pigskin around, or just watch the kids play.
But a lawn is also a responsibility. If you live within city limits, you can probably be fined for letting your lawn get too messy (such as with construction debris, broken-down cars, old appliances and other trash) or too overgrown. Plus, an overgrown, unkempt lawn can attract snakes, ground-nesting bees, and other pests you don’t want around your home.
As a new homeowner, though, you can easily find yourself making multiple monthly trips to the hardware store as the need for different tools and supplies rises. Put these tools on your lawn care shopping list, and you’ll have everything you need to keep your lawn and garden looking great all season.
A quality lawn mower is the cornerstone of your lawn maintenance tool kit. You’ll probably spend more time using your lawn mower than any of the other tools on this list, with the possible exception of the string trimmer. Many lawn care tools only get used a couple of times a season, but a lawn mower comes out of the shed weekly for at least six months of the year in most parts of the country.
There are several different types of lawn mowers on the market, but gas mowers remain the most common. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly lawn mower, a reel trimmer or electric model is the best bet, but otherwise, a gas push mower will do for most urban and suburban lawns. If you have steep bits, or your lawn is larger than the typical urban or small-town lot, you might want a riding lawn more, or at least a self-propelled mower.
A gas, electric, or battery-powered string trimmer can help you trim around trees and buildings where your lawnmower can’t reach. You can also use it to edge along sidewalks, garden beds, and driveways.
Leaf Blower and Rakes
If you have trees, a leaf blower can help you manage the leaves in the fall without killing your back or spending the whole day raking. You can buy models that have a mulch mode, which uses vacuum power to suck up the leaves — this feature comes in handy if you want to mulch leaves for garden beds and compost. A leaf rake may come in handy if you garden, or just to control leaf piles, and a soil rake (which is heavier, with thicker steel tines) is a good buy for raking compost, pea gravel, and mulched or tilled garden beds.
A fertilizer spreader can help you apply granular fertilizer to your lawn. If you need to overseed to treat bare spots, a fertilizer spreader is useful for spreading grass seed.
Your lawn needs an inch of water, or about .63 gallons per square foot, every week to remain lush and green. A sprinkler system is the superior solution for watering your lawn, but if you don’t have one, a hose with a sprinkler attachment is fine. Use the screwdriver test to determine whether your lawn is getting enough water — insert the screwdriver and check that the soil is wet down to at least six inches. You might have to use trial and error to figure out how long to water with your sprinklers or hose to determine how long it takes to wet your lawn to a depth of six inches.
In addition to watering your lawn, a hose is essential for watering garden beds, getting new trees established, cleaning your gutter and washing your car or exterior windows. Get a hose that will reach from your spigot to your driveway and to the far corners of your lawn. A hose reel and attachments, like a sprayer, will also come in handy.
Pruners, Shears, and Loppers
Long-handled loppers are essential for trimming tree branches, and shears are a good investment if you have shrubs to keep under control. Pruning shears are a must for shaping and caring for decorative flowers and shrubs.
Snow Shovel and Snow Blower
If you live in an area that gets four seasons, you’ll definitely need a snow shovel and probably a snow blower. Just like with lawnmowers and string trimmers, you can buy electric snow blowers from makers of power tools like Ego.
Whether or not you really need a snow blower, or can get by with just a snow shovel, will depend on your situation. Snow blowers are a great idea if you have physical limitations, or just a really long driveway or sidewalk. Electric models are lightweight, easy to move around, and easy to store. Even if you decide to get a snow blower, however, you should still get a snow shovel for those spots your snow blower might not reach, like the stairs and front walk.
Long-handled Spade and Hoe
If you need to plant a tree or shrub, or even put in some spring annuals, you’ll need a long-handled spade. A hoe is useful for weeding garden beds. Grab some hand gardening tools, too, including a hand tiller, if you plan to do some gardening.
Do you need lawn tools to take care of your new lawn? Congratulations! The tools you buy now will see you through many years of responsible lawn care — and with diligent maintenance, your outdoor space will look better and better, year after year.