There are few things more irritating than being waist deep in a giant, twisted rosemary bush—or worse, rose—discovering that a whole 3/4” diameter branch has died off, and realizing that you didn’t bring your ratchet pruners. So instead of using the proper tool, you try gnawing it off with your standard clippers. It takes twice as long, and leaves a jagged stump. It’s not pretty. What you should have had with you is the Garden Pro’s Tool Kit!
When I design a garden I’m crossing all my fingers and toes that the client will also hire my team to maintain it . I cannot overemphasize the importance of good maintenance. It’s as much a part of the art of landscape design as it is the function of it. This is why my kit and the kit of everyone on the team is filled to the brim with not just necessities, but handy little conveniences too. This way we keep the gardens looking just as I envisioned them in the design, and keep our sanity too.
Every Landscape Pro’s Tool Kit will have some of the same equipment. But for every individual there is a different recipe for getting the job done with ease. If you plan on spending a lot of time cheering on those plants and trying to get them to behave, here’s what you need, now!
Every garden pro’s tool kit needs…
Your favorite pair of clippers. Mine are a pair of Felcos that are about 12 years old. Like a great pair of jeans this tool seems to mold right into only my hand. Keep them oiled and clean them after each use. Spraying a bit of alcohol on the blades prevents spreading disease.
Turf cutter referred to by my son as the “Death Stick”. It’s a great one for the tool kit that is often overlooked. Good for turf but also, there simply is nothing better when reducing the diameter of any strappy plant. You can use your free hand to select a section and then dive right in to the base to go just below the soil line and get a clean cut. Warning: watch out for drip lines and fingers! It will ruin you if you miss.
My other go-to is a hori hori. I barely leave the house without this one. It has so many uses, and if you don’t have one yet it’s a must for your next purchase. You can use it for dividing, cutting, digging, planting, seeding, opening compost bags and, of course, looking super-cool.
Discovering ratchet pruners was like having dark clouds part and the sun pour down on me! I received them as a gift and thought, “that’s nice”. But once I discovered their magic I was won over. Sometimes you really need to cut a substantial branch but don’t have the room for loppers. Ratchet pruners can handle up to 3/4” but I’ve surely cut up to a full inch.
Battery Powered Blower I am four-square against the big gasoline blowers and in most residential gardens they are 100% not necessary. The small Toro blowers that have a rechargeable battery are perfect for clearing off walkways and they don’t suffocate us all with their fumes. If you are doing more than one property, either bring your charger or a back-up battery for longer use.
Super Handy Small Stuff
Green landscape tape
Soil moisture probe
Extra Drip tubing
Drip tubing connectors and T’s
Drip tubing staples
Multi-tool (Swiss Army Knife)
Save Yourself Necessities
Heavy duty cream for dry hands
Hat with wide brim (not a baseball cap)
2 pairs of gloves (in case one gets wet or…otherwise “soiled”)
Large refillable insulated water bottle—no PET bottles, they get hot and gross anyway
Granola bar or banana, some kind of quick energy for when you bonk from working in the sun too long
How to Carry it all
It’s best to have wheels so you don’t have to lug it everywhere. Sometimes you have to cover some pretty significant obstacles to get your tools to their final destination. Either way, always choose the smallest one that comfortably carries everything you need. Some recommendations:
Paint bucket from a Hardware Store
Bucket with pockets on the outside
Case with rollers
Hip toolbelt for the 4 or 5 items you use constantly (clippers, hori hori, turf cutter, twine for me)
The trick in having the absolute best Garden Pro’s Tool Kit is to remember to occasionally take inventory. Sometimes you wind up with items you find you really don’t ever need or struggle to make due without things you do.
I guarantee, you will be a better, more professional Landscape Specialist with a solid kit that you can rely on to get the job done right every time.
Let me know what else you put in your toolkit!