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