When spring arrives, the average homeowner's "honey-do" list likely has its share of outdoor landscaping tasks that need to be tackled. The right tools can make easier work of outdoor chores.
A report from the Associated Landscape Contractors of America titled "Economic Benefits of Landscape" states that landscaping can add as much as 14 percent to the resale value of a building and speed its sale by as much as six weeks. Homeowners looking to sell their home or just improve its market value will want to consider landscaping a viable investment. A March 2003 article in Smart Money noted that homeowners can expect to earn back 150 percent or more of their landscape investment through the value it brings to a property. Whatever the landscaping project, the right tools will make any task that much easier. There are certain items every homeowner should have in his or her gardening arsenal.
*Soil cultivator: A multi-pronged tool that breaks up clods of soil and grass to provide easier planting.
*Various garden hoes: Hoes can be used for breaking up soil, weeding, cultivating, aerating, and many other purposes.
*Spading fork: Another tool that loosens soil with straight tines that dig through dense soil.
*Shovel: A multipurpose shovel can dig through dirt, gravel and the like.
*Rake: A steel-pronged rake will till soil and spread out mulch and other organic matter in planting beds. A flexible rake is good for collecting leaves and thatch.
*Edger: Available as manual or gas powered, an edger gives planting beds and the edges of lawns a clean look.
*String trimmer: Weeds can easily be trimmed with a string trimmer that can work around bushes and other hard-to-reach areas.
*Gloves: Avoid blisters and insect bites with durable gloves that protect the hands.
*Lawn mower: To maintain a healthy lawn it will have to be trimmed to the correct height. A manual or powered lawn mower is the essential landscaper's tool.
*Collection bags/bins: To properly dispose of organic matter like leaves and branches, it pays to have recyclable or reusable bags on hand for transporting waste.
*Hoses: Drip irrigation hoses can deliver water right to plants' roots where they need it most. A regular nozzle-powered hose can be used for cleaning and misting plants and surrounding hardscapes.
*Compost bin: "Black gold" is the ideal landscaping supplement. By creating compost from discarded food, a homeowner can generate the prime fertilizer needed to keep plants healthy.
*Wheelbarrow: Transporting gravel, rocks, mulch, shrubbery, and many other garden essentials is made easier with the help of a wheelbarrow or a garden cart.
*Branch pruner: A durable branch trimmer/pruner can cut through thick or thin branches and keep landscape items tidy. Pruning also helps promote growth of many flowers and shrubs.
*Overhead pruner: Errant branches in hard-to-reach areas can be trimmed with an overhead pruner with an extendable arm.
Depending on specific interests, homeowners can stock up on trowels, bulb planters, chain saws and other items that will get jobs done around the exterior of the home.