My yard is 75% dead, if I’m being generous with my estimate. We’ve also discovered that most of the sprinklers are broken. One has a broken sprinkler head, and I think the control box is broken for the front set.

I’ve chosen to see this as an opportunity to replace a lot of the dead plants with native, drought-resistant plants and plant a vegetable garden on the sloped portion of the yard. However, as I begin my project I’m realizing I have only a few basic garden tools. So I’ve been trying to figure out what I really need. Here’s what I’ve come up with. Gardeners: what else do I need as an absolute minimum?

Hose: Since 2/3s of the sprinklers aren’t working, obviously I need a hose. I have a lemon tree that’s starting to brown and I want to save it.

Trowel: This is the one thing I have, and it seems essential for digging holes for my plants.

Rake: We have this, too. Also essential for raking up the masses of dead leaves in the yard.

Gardening Gloves: I have these, although they’re also work gloves. I’ll have to see how that works out. I might need specific gardening gloves.

Hand Pruner/Garden Shears: To cut back the dead stuff and keep my healthy plants properly pruned. I used to have some of these and I have no idea where they want. I shall have to search the tool box and a box of garden pots to make sure I didn’t get rid of them. I don’t know why I would have done that!

Big Shears/Lopper: To cut down some of the bigger branches. We have a hacksaw, but I think that will be less exact and more difficult than using a tool designed for the job.

Big Shovel: For cleaning up the land, digging out big rocks, filling big holes with fresh soil, etc.

We’re going to have to hire a tree trimmer to take care of the big overgrown trees hanging over our roof and possibly remove two dead trees. I don’t mind paying someone to do the big jobs that could result in a damaged fence or roof, but I want to take care of most of the rest of the maintenance myself.

Obviously, we need to replace the broken sprinkler head and the sprinkler control box that doesn’t work. When I plant the vegetable garden, I’ll need to install a drip irrigation system. For now I just want to cut back the dead and overgrown stuff to see what’s left of my yard.

Any tips for other tools I should have to get started? Any advice on watering my lemon tree?


5 Responses to “Beginner Gardening – Which Tools Do I Really Need?”

  1. Mike the Gardener on August 27th, 2009 6:42 am

    All excellent tool suggestions. May I add a pitchfork as well? I use it all the time and it works great for aeration purposes and loosing soil as well as working a compost pile.

    Mike the Gardener

  2. Aryn on August 27th, 2009 9:42 am

    Thanks, Mike. I’ll add pitchfork to my list.

  3. Frugal Living on August 28th, 2009 10:16 am

    Excellent list and yes the pitchfork could help :) .

    It can be a little pricey to go out and buy all that so it may be worth just seeing if you can borrow items that are not used that much from good willed neighbors.


  4. Alexa Stewart on June 21st, 2010 7:56 pm

    i still prefer to use plain old clay garden pots instead of those that are made of plastic..-’

  5. Brooke Morris on September 1st, 2010 4:08 am

    clay garden pots are still the best thing to use on backyard gardens -’

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