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Cutting stone, bricks and blocks

Checklist: Landscaping tools for New Business Owners

With an annual growth of 3.9% in the industry and an average of $1 million in revenue, now is the perfect time to start your own landscaping business.

If you’re thinking of creating a landscaping company, there are tons of things to get figured out. One of these is landscaping tools. Despite how trivial it may sound, having the right supplies is essential to your landscaping success.

Not only do people want excellent communication, service, and cost, but the job itself should be high quality.

Fear not – we have compiled the ultimate checklist. Here are the best landscaping tools to have for your business so you can grow yards and your company.

Basic tools for General Lawn and Gardening

For the best landscape maintenance and lawn creation, you need high-end supplies to handle jobs big and small. When we talk about landscape-specific tools, we are talking about:

  • shovels and spades- good for cleanup and distribution
  • wheelbarrows – moving decent quantities of material from place to place
  • safety gear such as gloves, knee pads and earmuffs
  • cargo nets and tie downs to secure your load in the back of the ute
  • hoes – chops up tough soil to be more pliable for future plant growth
  • rock rake – smooths out and provides a nice finish to small areas
  • edger – keeps your lawn within its shape (more on this later)
  • limb cutter – landscape in the air as well by trimming trees
  • garden fork – can remove plants from the soil without ruining the roots
  • garden trowel – quick and easy digging for weeds and old plants, it’s your mini-shovel
  • weed remover – gets under the root to rid lawns of weeds for good
  • shears – specialized scissors for the plant world
  • pruners – like shears, but smaller and used to scale back multiple plant types
  • hose nozzle with various settings – allows you to water plants and lawns with ease
  • an edger – a gas-powered machine that gives you precision edges

As for quality, the type of material matters a ton when purchasing your tools. Fiberglass handles, stainless steel ends, and plastic coatings are all aspects you need to look for in your landscaping supplies. This will ensure your tools last you a lifetime, or at least for a while until you have the funds to upgrade.

These items should also be bought with quality in mind. You want your gardening tools to last a good amount of time, so go for durable materials like stainless steel, fiberglass, any other metal, and rubber grips.

While they may be the smallest landscaping supplies you have, they’ll pack a serious punch for your final product. Treat your gardening tools well and it will reciprocate via happy clients!

Moving from basic Gardening to Landscape Construction:

Professional Landscapers need to know a lot more than basic Lawn and Landscape maintenance. Because the work they do overlaps in work done by other trades, landscapers need to know a bit about everything. Landscaping construction professionals need more knowledge and equipment to handle the tasks.

Retaining Walls: Retaining walls can be build from a variety materials with the most popular being:

  • Wooden sleepers
  • Concrete sleepers
  • Bricks
  • Concrete Block
  • Sandstone
  • Blue Stone

Experienced landscapers generally have decent knowledge in basic bricklaying for building low retaining walls. But as a professional you need to know your local regulations on retaining wall construction as they vary from council to council. Factors such as height, proximity to property boundaries, easements, sewers or water lines might mean council approval and a requirement for you to hold a license.

Laying concrete

Despite what many people think, there is a lot that goes into laying concrete. Within the concreting trade, there are different niches. Some concreters specialise on formwork, which is making the frame (form) for the concrete to be poured into. Others focus on concrete grinding and polishing, which is the process of taking the top off the concrete once it is dry to expose the rock and other aggregate that makes up the concrete and then polishing it so it is a beautifully smooth surface.

Landscapers often have to lay concrete foot paths, or even the basic concrete slab for a tool shed. Depending on the size, when they are experienced in this, they will often create the form themselves and pour the concrete.

Other concrete may need to be laid to do a neat and profession garden edge.

Paving

The art of paving can make a landscape look amazing and professional landscapers know that a perfect balance of paving and greenery can also make the area very comfortable to use. From outdoor patio slabs, to walk ways, poolside, and garden edging pavers laid correctly are guaranteed to last. Pavers cover a wide range from brick, concrete, terracotta, granite, limestone and travertine and can be designed in any pattern to suit your style and budget.

 

Hand tools for Landscaping Construction (not Gardening)

As professional landscapers are using skill sets across bricklaying, carpentry, concreting, concrete form work and even concrete grinding it makes sense that the hand tools they use are the quality used by the masters of those individual trades.

Brick Trowel

Just because bricklayer isn’t in your title, does that mean you should go to the chain hardware store and buy the cheapest trowel you can find? There is a reason, brickies don’t buy low grade trowels and that is because they don’t last and they are not built with comfort in mind.

Why don’t they last? Cheap brick trowels are spot welded at the shank- that is the point where the handle meets the blade. They will snap at that point. They are fine for the DIY home handyman, but a professional construction worker wants tools that will last job after job. Premium trowels are made from one piece of steel- this is called solid forged.

Another thing to consider is the trowel balance. High quality trowels have been designed to reduce the stress and fatigue on your wrist and arm that comes with prolonged use. For any trowel you will be using over and over, look after your body and get one designed for professionals.

The most popular brick trowel in Australia is the Marshalltown Brick Trowel, but they are by no means the only high quality option. Also leading the field are WRose Brick Trowels, WHS Brick Trowels, and OX Tools Brick Trowels. If you want to see our recommended high quality brick trowels and the different styles available, we have listed them altogether here.

Brick Carrier

The inventor of a brick carrier has saved brickies so much time over the years. Picking up 6 bricks at a time, you can really move some bricks with a brick carrier in each hand. This handy tool has many affectionate names like, six pack, brick tongs and brick grabs. The last thing you want to do is waste time, moving bricks by hand without on or two of these useful tools. A good quality brick carrier like the BT engineering brick carrier will only cost you around $30 – a small price to pay for the time saved.

String Line, Line Blocks and Line Pins

No brickie goes anywhere without his string line, line blocks and line pins, so if you are a landscaper laying bricks, you should not either.

Stringline: One of the most underrated tools that produces so much efficiency if used correctly. When using a string line, you do not have to use leveling tools as often which means you get level work at a much faster pace.

When choosing your string line there are a couple of things to consider. You want a line that is braided not twisted. Twisted string line will fray making it difficult to use. a Tight braid will not fray and will not sag after being pulled taut between line blocks.

Line Blocks and Line Pin: Both Line blocks and Line Pins are used to secure the string line in place. When choosing line blocks you want to make sure they are not flimsy and made from crack resistant material so you can use them over and over.

Spirit Level

No one wants a crooked wall, and you don’t want to be the poor bugger pulling it down for free if it isn’t done right. A quality spirit level like stablia range have been tried and tested by brickies for years and are a clear favourite among professionals of all trades.

Concrete Finishing Tools

There are so many types of concrete finishing tools, but here is a short list of the most common concreting finishing tools.

Concrete Screeds:

A light straight aluminum bar used for leveling materials by hand such as concrete and sand.

Finishing Trowels and Floats:

This come in designs to get a flat surface, to a variety of shapes like groovers (for inserting control joints into wet concrete), and edging trowels to get the perfect shaped edge for garden beds, kerbs and gutters.

 

What type of power saws are best?

It will pay off to have a good quality saw. And you want to choose your saw type based on what work you do the most of so you can make the most of the tools you have. Whether you want to cut metal, cut bricks, blocks and paver, cut sleepers, or cut concrete foothpaths there’s a power saw for the job.

Angle Grinders in Landscaping

An angle grinder is a very handy machine to have in the back of your ute. While small, they can be powerful, and easy to use. The down side is that they cut slower than their larger saw counterparts. This is important to think about as every landscaper knows, time is more than money.

But even so, coupled with a diamond blade an angle grinder can cut through most materials and is a handy piece of machinery.

Like all saws , how deep you want to cut is limited to the size of your saw, so a bigger angle grinder will come in more useful more often. While small 4.5 inch angle grinders are popular, they are more for home owners who are unlikely to use it very often. We recommend you consider at least a 7 inch or 9 inch angle grinder.

Angle grinders are typically available in the following sizes:
  • 4½ inch – 115mm
  • 5 inch – 125mm
  • 6 inch – 150mm
  • 7 inch – 180mm, and
  • 9 inch – 230mm.

Do Landscapers use Masonry Saws?

Of course they do!

If a big chunk of your work is laying brick, block retaining walls, laying paver footpaths you would be best thinking about buying a masonry table saw. They come in a number of styles and sizes such as brick saws, block saws, paver saws, and tile saws. These are great as you can cut standing up preventing a back ache by the end of the day. And they do efficiency.  If you have a large number of bricks or pavers to cut, then they will get the job done the fastest.

Another huge benefit of a brick saw is that they cut wet. This has has numerous safety benefits as they water reduces the dust from flying into the air for you to breath it. Wet cutting has the added benefit of extending the life of your diamond blade.

When does a Demo Saw come in handy?

If you are wanting to cut concrete sleepers or cut wood sleepers, a demolition saw (also known as a quick cut or power cutter) might be most suitable. They are very versatile saws, as they are a powerful hand saw and are not restricted to a stand. Combined with a specialised sleeper blade, or quality diamond blade, it is a formidable combination to anything you want to cut. If you want to cut bricks, stone, steel or  concrete, a power cutter is a great option.

Some demo saws, like the Husqvarna K4000 come with attachments, so you have the added benefit of being able to cut wet.

Diamond Blade vs Abrasive Blade

So I keep talking about Diamond Blades and how good they are. Lets address the elephant in the room and discuss the abrasive blade option. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against abrasive blades, if you get the good quality ones like the ones we sell and you plan to use it once for a little job – there is a place for them. There are also differences in quality across abrasive blades, if you get the cheapest one you can find, you will probably be jumping back in your car and heading back to the store as it wore away almost as soon as it touched what ever you want to cut.

There is no denying that an abrasive blade is cheaper per unit than a diamond blade. A single abrasive 4 inch blade might cost you $2 whereas a 4 inch diamond abrasive blade would cost you more like $30. But despite appearances, I recommend the diamond blade as I believe it is actually the cheaper option for a couple of reasons:

Diamond Blade vs Abrasive Blade:

  1. Longevity: Diamond Blades last upwards from 30x as long as an Abrasive Blade. So you get more bang for your buck.
  2. Speed: Diamond Blades cut much faster than an Abrasive Blade – costing you time on the job
  3. Ease of use: Diamond Blades require less changing over than an Abrasive Blade
  4. Cost: Diamond Blades are more expensive initially, but are cheaper over the long term.

Best Diamond Blades for Landscaping

Once again it all depends on what you are wanting to cut. Diamond blades are different to other types of saw blade as they grind not cut. So it is important that you buy the right type of blade for what you are going to cut.

To put it simply- if you are cutting a soft abrasive material like sandstone you need a hard diamond blade. If you are cutting a hard material like metal, you need a soft diamond blade. Luckily most manufacturers list what each of their blades cut, which makes it easy to choose the right blade for your job.

So which diamond blade is best for a landscaper? It’s impossible to actually answer that question as the scope in landscaping is so broad. While it is easy to say- brickies are going to be cutting bricks. Landscapers could be cutting bricks and pavers, limestone, blue stone, granite, marble, slate, engineered stone, concrete, tiles, steel and the list goes on…

So do you need a combination of diamond blades?

Well, you will always get the best out of your diamond blade if you buy one that specialises in what you want to cut. So if you are a landscaper that cuts a lot of concrete then you are best to get a concrete cutting blade. If you do more pavers, then opt for a paver cutting blade. Then if you occasionally cut other materials, if you get yourself a good quality multi-purpose or combo diamond blade then it can cut those other materials and you don’t ruin your specialised blade and you will get the best longevity out of both of them.

To make it easy for you to choose the best blade to the type of work you do, we have grouped the blades together on this page in accordance to what materials they cut. You also need to consider the unique specifications of your saw, what size blade it takes, and then what revs per minute (RPM) that your saw prefers. Diamond blades range from 4 inches and even upwards of 16 inches, but any blade larger than 16 inches is usually designed for civil construction like road works etc.

Cement Mixers for Landscaping

As landscapers need such a variety of tools, space in the back of their ute or shed can often be a common concern. Unless you are landscaper specialising in masonry retaining walls, you probably dont want a full size 3.5 cf cement mixer.

The Belle Mini-mix cement mixer is a popular choice for landscapers (and even brickies who want a back up mixer). The beauty of this machine is that it mixes 1.5cf of mortar which is the equivalent of a wheelbarrow load and is perfect for small to medium projects. While it is a strong quality robust machine, it is also compact and portable for easy transportation. If you prefer your mixer bowl higher off the ground, you can attach the stand for wheelbarrow-height mixing and tipping.

 

Safety Equipment

This goes without saying, but safety is always first. You should have your fair share of safety landscaping supplies no matter where or when. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires certain safety measures whenever on a job site.

Here are the must-have things:

  • fuel and chemical storage – make sure your gasses and oils are clearly labeled and safely closed
  • protective clothing and gloves – for when you’re dealing with unsafe chemicals or to protect your hands from the tools/plants
  • eye protection – safety glasses or goggles if there’s any huge machinery or dangerous substances
  • hearing protection – earplugs are crucial when loud noises are emitting from machinery
  • first aid kit – for any minor job site injuries
  • job site security – if near traffic or doing tasks that require pedestrians to stay away, you need clear signage and caution tape
  • respirators, hard hats – for obvious reasons

It’s also prudent to take care of yourself personally while landscaping. Keep hydrated with water and protect your skin from insects and the sun. It might sound like a lot of common sense but it really makes the difference when landscaping.

Heavy-Duty Machinery

Track-style tractors, skid-steer loaders, mini excavators, trenchers, and other operating machinery could be used for big-time projects or if the site involves a massive amount of land.

This could be down the road for your landscaping business, or it can just as well be on the docket for your first round of landscaping supplies. Either way, these you’ll definitely want from high-quality name brands and lightly used. These machines are great but they need to last; take care of them and they’ll take care of you.

Once you have your one or two big ticket items, you’re all set to gather up your materials and tools!

Landscaping Supplies Make or Break Your Business

For all of these materials, quality is always a top priority. Put together your list of materials and landscaping supplies you want to begin your business and go for the products that will last throughout multiple projects and seasons. You want your supplies, tools, and materials to last as long as your landscaping business.

If you’re looking for incredible landscaping materials, check out our amazing array of tools, safety gear, and heavy-duty equipment.