The Best Garden Hand Tools
The Best Garden Hand Tools are tools that get the job done efficiently, and are primarily used in Yard Projects, although a few have additional uses in Home Repair Projects.
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The following are the most common Garden Hand Tools:
Axe: (or Ax) An implement used to shape, split and cut wood. It is very helpful when removing tree roots and chopping firewood.
Digging Bars: Can be used to dig small holes, loosen ground, or pry up large objects. Stone masons and landscapers often use these bars to move large stones for leveling, repositioning and obtaining a grip to lift them up. Digging Bars are usually 5 to 6 feet in length and usually have a point on one end and a small, flat spade on the other. They can be constructed of heavy-duty iron, steel or titanium.
Hand Tamper: A tool with a long handle attached to a weighted metal plate commonly used for compressing soil and screening, and mainly used in patio, sidewalk, and driveway preparation work. It can also be used for tamping small asphalt repairs.
Lifting the plate about a foot off the ground and forcing it back down onto the area being tamped, will compress the material, helping the user to avoid future unwanted settling.
There are power versions available, but these are quite expensive, so a Power Tamper is usually rented rather than purchased by the average Homeowner.
Hoses and Accessories: Tubular items with connections on either end, which hook up to a water source on one end, and usually connect a spraying or spreading device on the other.
Hoses come in various diameter thicknesses, lengths, and styles. Common diameters are: 1/2″ and 5/8″. The most common lengths are: 25′, 50′, 75′, and 100′. Styles range from: Round, to flat with holes for sprinkling, to the retractable type. Retractable Hoses are much more lightweight and retract when the water is shut off and the hose is emptied.
The smaller the diameter, the greater the pressure, but lesser volume is supplied. Common accessories include: hand held sprayers, coming in a variety of styles, and sprinklers, which also vary in design.
Loppers: Loppers are a larger, two-handed, long-handled version of pruners, and are use for cutting branches that are thicker than pruners can handle.
Picks: Tools which are typically used for digging up very hard soils. They can also be used to assist in plant and tree root removal. They typically have a two-sided head, with one side being pointed and the other side being flat. They comes in either a one-handed shorter version or a two-handed longer handle version.
Pruners: (also known as Pruning Shears) A type of scissors used on plants for trimming branches, cutting flowers, etc.
Pruner Holster: A device attached to your belt for conveniently holding your pruners while working. It allows you a place to temporarily store your pruners while conducting other tasks, all the while, keeping it easily accessible, and ready for the next usage.
Rakes: An implement consisting of a toothed bar fixed transversely to a handle, and depending on the type, is used for a variety of functions. Common types of Rakes and their uses are as follows:
Bow Rake: One of the most common yard rakes, usually made of metal and about 12 inches wide. A Bow Rake is a versatile tool, commonly used for moving dirt, rock, sand, etc. quite efficiently. It can also be used for rough leveling the same materials.
Hand Thatching Rake: A specialty tool used for removing thatch and dead grass from the lawn. It is a metal rake with half-moon blades, typically about 12 inches wide, and when moved through the lawn, removes unwanted materials such as dead Grass, rocks, some weeds, etc. This work, along with fertilizers, grass seed, and other soil amenities will provide a greener, more lush lawn. There is also a gas powered version for heavier usage.
Leaf Rake: Commonly use for raking up leaves, and can be made of plastic, metal, or bamboo. Each type has it’s strengths and weaknesses, so personal preference is the key when choosing one for yourself. They come in a variety of widths, with the most common sizes being 12″ and 24″.
Leveling Rakes: Usually made of aluminum and are used for fine leveling of dirt, sand, and other materials. They are extremely useful in preparing areas, nearly perfectly, for the next stage of materials to be installed. They come in two common widths: 24″ and 36″. They are very lightweight and easy to handle.
Saws: There are several common types of Yard Saws. They are:
Bow Saw: A metal-framed cross-cut saw in the shape of a bow with a coarse wide blade. It is useful for cutting branches too thick for a lopper to cut, or for cutting firewood down to size.
Curved Rip Saw: Generally has a blade that is longer than a bow saw, and has a standard hand saw type of handle. It is narrower in width, allowing easier access when trimming tree branches closer to the trunk. The teeth are curved toward the user, allowing you to only cut on the backward motion, but more effectively.
Pole Saw: A blade mounted on top of an adjustable pole, also usually containing a lopper just below it, which is attached to a rope, allowing the user to lop or cut higher branches easily, usually up to about 14 feet high. The blade is a smaller version of the curved rip saw.
Sledgehammers: Useful tools for some yard projects. They can be used to break up concrete, rock boulders, and the smaller ‘baby’ sledge, a one-hand type, can be used in conjunction with a chisel to break retaining wall blocks and bricks. They come either in the aforementioned ‘baby’ type, or the typical two-handed Type, with common sizes of 3# and 5# Heads.
Shovels: Common tools used for digging and/or moving all types of materials, such as dirt, rock, screening, sand, and more. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Three typical shapes: round, flat, and spade, refers to the shape of the Shovel’s head.
Three typical sizes: super-short, short (regular size), and long-handled refer to handle lengths. Handles are typically made of wood or fiberglass. The common types of Shovels and their various uses are:
Flat Shovels: Best for cleaning up materials on a hard surface, commonly used to move dirt, rock, or sand, and is also a good choice for moving materials in greater quantity quickly.
Flower Shovel: The super-short size of a round shovel. This type of shovel is commonly used to plant flowers and bulbs, though it is sometimes also used for removing weeds in a flower bed.
Round Shovels: The heads on these shovels are not really round in shape, but are curved on the leading edge. Round Shovels are better for digging, since they have a pointed tip which enters the soil more easily. This type of shovel is excellent for digging in fresh ground, plant removal or transplanting, but can also be use for moving loose dirt, sand, and other materials. The long-handled version works best for this, since it makes it much easier on your back and arms. Using a long-handled Round Shovel in hard-packed soil will often result in breaking the handle.
Spade Shovels: A version of the flat shovel, but have a sharper edge. These types of shovels are also good for digging holes, transplanting plants, and edging planting beds or sidewalks. Their sharp edge allows for easy entry into the hardest ground, and can also cut through most feeder roots of plants easily. They are also excellent for scraping up grass and for cutting sod down to size.
Trimmers: Sometimes known as Hand Shears, these are two-handed scissor type tools usually used for trimming shrubs, evergreens, and small trees. Their blades are initially sharp, but require cleaning of sap and resharpening after extended use. They are useful in trimming and shaping all types of plants, and are also good for touching up after using a powered version of the Trimmer.
Weed Picker: A tool used to dig out weeds at there roots. An ‘on your Knees’ version is generally about 12 inches long, with a notched blade on the end designed to grab the root for complete removal. The long-handled ‘no-bending or kneeling’ versions are available with a variety of head types, but all designed to do the same job as the ‘on your knees’ version, but with no bending.
Wheelbarrow: A small hand-propelled vehicle, usually with just one wheel, designed to be pushed and guided by a single person using two handles at the rear, and designed to move a variety of materials. The Wheelbarrow is a very useful tool for moving objects and materials quickly from one place to the next.