Must-have garden tools for landscaping businesses
Regardless of profession, any tradesperson is only as good as their tools. And when it comes to professional gardeners and landscapers, this is certainly the case.
That being said, if you are new to the professional gardening trade, knowing which tools you need can be tricky. Similarly, finding the best ways to protect your tools - and in essence, your new livelihood - can be challenging if you are newly self-employed.
In this guide, we outline the must-have tools and equipment all self-employed gardeners should have access to. From small hand tools and basic safety equipment essential for carrying out even the smallest of gardening tasks to professional power tools needed for large-scale landscaping work, we’ll run through all of the essentials. This guide will also explain why it’s so important to protect your tools with specialist self-employed gardener insurance. Here, we will outline how these policies work to financially protect you and your business should vital equipment be lost, stolen or damaged.
What tools does a gardener need?
The fact is, without the right tools and equipment, it is impossible to work as a professional gardener. This means, before going it alone and starting your own business in this trade, purchasing the basic tools you need and knowing how to keep this equipment safe is essential. Below we outline a selection of vital tools and equipment all self-employed gardeners should own before launching their own business.
Gloves and other safety equipment
Easily overlooked when building up your gardening equipment arsenal, safety equipment will represent some of the most important purchases you make.
Gloves should be your first purchase. A good pair of gardening gloves will protect your hands from everything from small cuts and scrapes to splinters and larger flesh wounds. When searching for the ideal pair, look for gloves that are water-resistant and breathable. It’s also important to ensure they have good grip, without being too bulky. Opting for a pair with long cuffs is also sensible. This means your wrists and forearms are also more protected.
Aside from gloves, it’s important to consider eye protection and ear guards. These items are particularly important if you know you are going to be using power tools, such as chainsaws, mechanical mowers and strimmers regularly.
Rake, pitching fork and spade
Forks, spades and rakes represent the holy trinity of must-have hand tools for gardeners. Rakes are required most during the autumn and winter months as they are ideal for clearing dead leaves and debris from garden beds. They can also be used to smooth out soil before planting. Similarly, pitching forks are required for turning compost and soil. They are particularly useful when compacted or dry soil needs to be broken up or loosened prior to planting. They can also be used to move large piles of garden debris quickly. Finally, every gardener worth their salt needs a good quality spade. These most basic of gardening tools are required to dig holes and trenches for both planting and irrigation purposes.
When buying rakes, pitching forks and spades, it is important to purchase high-quality products. These are tools you will likely be using on a daily basis. With this in mind, try to select items made from durable materials that have been designed ergonomically.
Also known as secateurs, pruning shears help gardeners to control plant growth and ensure an outdoor area looks neat and tidy. Resembling scissors, this basic tool is used to cut through branches and stems with precision and ease. They make maintaining and shaping trees, bushes and other plants simple. Unlike other tools that can cause damage to plants, pruning shears are designed to make clean and accurate cuts. This reduces the risk of plant diseases spreading and developing, and promotes faster healing.
With a number of different types of shears available, it can help to own a range. Anvil-style pruning shears can be hard to use, but are better when dealing with thick tree branches. On the other hand, ratcheting pruners are easy to use and are most effective when used on hedges and smaller plants. Finally, owning a telescopic tree pruner can save you a lot of time and effort when it comes to dealing with hard-to-reach branches.
Lawnmower and strimmer
As a gardener, one of the most basic services you can offer is lawn care. However, in order to do this, owning an effective lawnmower and strimmer is paramount. Whether you opt for a traditional push mower, a self-propelled petrol mower, or a ride-on mower is down to personal preference. That being said, owning a small gardening business requires you to remain mobile. With this in mind, a lightweight portable lawn mower - be that petrol powered or electric - is probably your best option.
The same applied to strimmers. An essential tool for lawn care, power strimmers are used to tidy up the edges of your lawn. This could be against walls or fences, or along the border of flowerbeds. They can also be used to cut grass or tall weeds on areas of land that cannot be mowed by a traditional mower. For example, areas of bumpy or uneven ground, such as rockeries.
Another overlooked, unsung hero, the common garden trowel represents one of the most versatile items in a gardener’s toolbox. Not only used for planting new shrubs, trowels are also needed for everything from removing weeds and digging up small plants to digging holes for perennials and potting plants. When choosing a set of garden trowels, look for tools with solid handles, steel blades and ergonomic hand grips.
Hose with an adjustable nozzle
During the spring and summer months, watering plants becomes a key part of a gardener’s job. For this reason, owning a quality hose pipe with an adjustable nozzle is a must. There are two properties you need to consider when purchasing a hose. Firstly, you should opt for a hose that has an adjustable length. After all, you need a hose that allows you to water a large area without experiencing reduced water pressure. Either an expandable coil pipe or a hose/reel combination that allows for neat and tidy storage are your best bet here.
The second characteristic you need to consider is the nozzle. Different types of plants require different levels of watering. Therefore, getting a nozzle that can offer a range of different spray options allows you to be as delicate as you need to be.
Finally, all gardeners need a good quality wheelbarrow. Used to move heavy materials such as soil, compost and grass clippings around the garden, these simple items of equipment can save you a lot of time and effort. Once again, when selecting a new wheelbarrow, it is important to invest in good quality. After all, well designed wheelbarrows that are made from high quality materials are less likely to let you down on the job and will better stand the test of time.
What does gardeners’ insurance cover?
From £8 a month*, Markel Direct’s specialist gardeners’ insurance can provide you with a range of covers. This includes tailored tools and equipment insurance that financially protects you and your business in the event that any of your essential tools are lost, damaged or stolen.
On top of this, comprehensive gardeners’ insurance can also provide public liability insurance. This policy is designed to protect your business in the event of third party injury or property damage. For example, you damage a client’s antique garden ornament while mowing their lawn, or a client trips on one of your power cables while you are working and injures themselves. In both of these cases, public liability insurance can cover any legal costs and compensation payments that result from damages claims brought against your business.
Employers' liability insurance can also usually be built into gardening insurance packages. These policies are a legal requirement for all gardening businesses that hire staff, including apprentices. In the event an employee becomes ill or is injured as a result of their job, these policies financially protect your business.
At Markel Direct, our gardeners’ insurance policies are designed to be tailored to best suit your needs. Simply select which types of cover you’d like to be included in your policy and receive a quote today.
* Price based on a gardener requiring £1 million public liability insurance cover.
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