March 28, 2023

McKenzielee Blog

Wicked Clever House Experts

9 lawn and garden tools every first-time homeowner needs in their garage

3 min read

Tool up this winter so you’re ready to roll in the spring.

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Buying a home is like getting into golf: There’s a steep learning curve but you’ve got to start somewhere.

And what better place than in your yard. You know you need a mower. But what else?

Matt Guilfoil is the superintendent of Desert Canyon Golf Club, in Fountain Hills, Ariz., and the co-host of From the Jingweeds, a podcast devoted to the turf-care trade.

Here’s his list of 9 lawn and gardening tools that first-time homeowners shouldn’t try to live without.

1. Garden hose

The ancient Greeks are said to have made garden hoses by disemboweling oxen and using their intestines. Nowadays, the getups are more efficient and less disgusting. You’re going to want one if your new home doesn’t have a working irrigation system, which there’s a good chance it won’t.

2. Moveable sprinkler

Remember jumping through the spray when you were a kid? Here’s your chance to relive that experience. Think of it as a gizmo for spot-watering that doubles as a retail-purchase Fountain of Youth.

3. Weed-and-feed applicator

Inexpensive and effective, these spray nozzle hookups attach to your hose, allowing for targeted applications of fertilizer and weed killer. The best ones have trigger-lock handles for extra ease of use. Look ma, one hand!

4. Backpack sprayer

Good for covering lots of ground quickly, and for getting to those hard-to-reach places with water, fertilizer, wetting agents, and the like.

5. Small pump sprayer

This might seem like overkill. But that’s exactly the point. When you’re looking to kill weeds and other intruders, you’ll want to pump that stuff through a separate sprayer, not the same one you use when you’re watering or feeding your lawn.

6. Spring rake

photo of a rake gathering leaves on a lawn

10 essential leaf-raking tips every homeowner needs to know


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Unlike your garden-variety plastic leaf rake, a spring rake has flexible metal tines that afford it greater versatility. You can use a spring rake to gather up leaves. But it’s also great for breaking up thatch, a layer of dead stems, roots and other organic material that develops on the surface of the soil. When thatch get too thick, it prevents the free passage of water, nutrients and air. Time for a de-thatching.  A good raking with a spring rake will do the trick.

7. Hula hoe

With a head that sways back and forth like a hula dancer, a hula hoe is not the sexiest looking tool, but you’ll fall in love with when it comes time to weed. It’s especially good for tidying up mulch or gravel beds. Just drag it along the ground, and the wiggling head does all the work.

8. Leaf blower

No need for a gas-powered monstrosity that annoys the neighbors and fouls the air with exhaust. “They make excellent little electric ones nowadays,” Guilfoil says.

9. Shovel

Nothing glamorous here. But extremely practical. At some point, you’re going to need one, ya dig?

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A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.

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