7 Products Lawn and Garden Experts Swear By
The key to a better outdoor space starts with the right gear
With summer just around the corner, now is the time to ready your outdoor space for the season ahead.
Whether you’re working with a large plot of land or a small balcony garden, arming yourself with the proper tools and gear is essential for getting the job done—and doing it well.
To help you get started, we turned to lawn and garden experts to learn more about the products they always have on hand. Here are their favorites.
Corona FlexDIAL ComfortGEL Bypass Pruner
“Every gardener should have a bypass hand pruner,” says Melinda Myers, who has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 books on gardening. The tool is prime for deadheading (removing dead or wilted flower heads to encourage new growth), cutting back plants, and pruning shrubs. A bypass pruner has two sharp blades that provide a quick and clean cut, which helps seal the plant and, in turn, reduce the risk of insects and diseases moving into it.
Myers prefers to use the FlexDial ComfortGel Bypass pruner because the handle opening can be customized by hand size. “This means you will waste less energy extending beyond a comfortable reach to grab the handles and make a cut,” Myers says. “You’ll be able to work longer with less muscle fatigue.’
Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Gardening Gloves
Whether you’re clearing debris or trying to avoid the jabs and stabs of thorny bushes, a sturdy pair of gardening gloves can provide protection from Mother Nature’s, well, natural defenses. Take it from someone who wrangles stems and branches professionally:
“I don’t love wearing gloves when I make flowers, as it feels too clunky,” says Matilda Noble, a floral designer and founder of Noble Diaz, an event production company in New York. “But these are great when doing bigger branch installations because they are thick enough to avoid spike stabs but thin enough to do intricate work, plus you can still use your phone.”
Fiskars 4-Claw Weeder
A standing weeder—which prevents gardeners from having to kneel—is the product of choice for Tobie Stanger, a CR editor who has reported on, among other topics, the best lawn mowers and how to get them ready for the season ahead. “This gizmo digs deeper and more surgically than I can,” she says. “That makes it especially useful in extracting deep-rooted weeds like dandelions from my lawn.”
Protecting yourself from the elements is just as important as anything else when it comes to caring for your lawn or garden. “For people who live in areas where black-legged ticks [the ones that cause Lyme disease] are common, it’s super-important to use insect repellent whenever you’re doing yardwork,” says Catherine Roberts, a CR health editor who has reported extensively on identifying common tick species and protecting ourselves against them.
“A study from 2019 found that common yard modifications designed to limit tick populations in a backyard were linked with a higher risk of contracting a tick-borne illness,” Roberts says, “likely because the act of doing the work puts you more in the path of ticks. So if you’re in a ticky area, you should be using bug spray whenever you do yardwork.”
Roberts recommends picking a spray over a wipe because the spray can go on the outside of your clothes and shoes, as well as on any exposed skin. “Bug spray alone shouldn’t be the only anti-tick measure to take,” she adds. “Showering shortly after you come in from your yardwork and doing a tick check are also really important.”
GrowOya Garden Olla
Angela Judd, gardener and author of “How to Grow Your Own Food: An Illustrated Beginner’s Guide to Container Gardening” (Adams Media, 2021), swears by an olla, which is a terra-cotta vessel that’s buried underground and filled with water, and she won’t garden in containers without one. “The water seeps out gradually as needed by the plant’s roots,” Judd says. “Ollas help my container plants not only survive the hot summers of Arizona but also thrive.”
A dependable chainsaw is at the top of the list of must-have lawn tools for Paul Hope, a CR home writer who’s written about topics like getting a yard ready for summer and essentials to weather a storm. “Last summer a bad storm downed tons of trees and limbs in our neighborhood,” Hope says. “With this chainsaw, I was done trimming it down and turning it into firewood before most of my neighbors had even gotten pricey estimates from tree services.”
Sta-Bil Storage Fuel Stabilizer
“One of the biggest problems with gas-powered equipment—like lawn mowers and string trimmers—is having issues starting the device after a period of nonuse,” says John Galeotafiore, a home improvement testing team leader at CR. “This can be caused by gasoline that’s sat for too long in the device and has gone bad.”
“You never know when it’s going to be the last time you use that equipment for the season, so it’s important to always use a fuel stabilizer,” says Galeotafiore, who has had excellent results using the solution, which provides the gasoline with a protective layer to prevent evaporation and spoilage.