Buying a home doesn’t automatically grant you a green thumb. But owning a home does tend to come with a certain amount of outdoor maintenance, meaning that all homeowners should work on some basic lawn and garden skills. If you’re just getting started, one of the best ways to set yourself up for success is by making sure that you have the right tools at hand (without spending a bunch of money on lawn equipment you won’t actually use). Here are seven recommendations on what to buy that can help you get your yard in perfect shape for grilling, lounging around on comfortable deck furniture, toasting s’mores over a fire pit or outdoor fireplace, or any other backyard summer activities you can come up with.
A Good Pair of Gloves
Before you even start looking at lawn equipment, you’ll want some protective gear. That includes a thick, reinforced pair of garden gloves. Leather will provide the best protection. Depending on the size of the projects you’re planning to take on, you may also want a pair of safety glasses.
A Lawn Mower
For centuries, people cut grass by swinging small, sharp scythes as they walked through fields. Fortunately, an English textile worker named Edwin Budding developed a grass-cutting machine in 1830 (based on the machine used to shear the nap off cloth), and now there are a wide variety of push and riding mowers available -- in fact, about 54 million Americans mow their lawns each weekend. Push mowers are generally adequate for small yards, and are both affordable and easy to use; just be sure to choose one that propels itself to save yourself unnecessary work.
A Weed Whacker
A weed whacker, also known as a string trimmer, is a handheld piece of motorized equipment that allows you to trim growth around the edges of your lawn and tackle weeds in tight spaces. The most important thing is that you choose one that is light enough for you to comfortably maneuver.
A simple hand trowel costs only a few dollars, but you’ll find yourself using it over and over, year after year. These small, pointed shovels can be used for digging out weeds, loosening hard-packed soil and planting flowers (such as the bright annuals that can easily add so much vibrancy to an outdoor design).
A Leaf Rake
You’ll probably need a rake whether you have deciduous trees on your property or not. That’s because many lawn mowers leave behind clippings you’ll want to rake up for a cleaner look.
A Hand Pruner
Tree trimming is a job best left to the professionals. But you can give smaller plants such as bushes and hedges a few snips twice a year or so in order to maintain a neat appearance and encourage healthy seasonal growth. Spring-assisted trimmers will allow you to easily prune even tough, woody branches and stems, and are worth investing in.
A Utility Bucket
Something as simple as a large plastic bucket will make your life much easier when it comes to lawn and garden maintenance. Choose a size that you’ll be able to comfortably carry even when it’s filled with water or a heavy landscaping material such as gravel.
What other lawn equipment should beginners invest in? Join the discussion in the comments.