17 Essential Fall Tools to Prep Your Lawn and Garden for Winter

by megan
Published: Last Updated on

Ready to create your ideal backyard, but need to get cracking before winter comes and feeling totally overwhelmed by the crazy amount of gardening and yard tools available, which then makes your credit card cry a little? Believe me, I completely understand. These essential fall tools got you covered.


We moved to Upstate NY in November of 2016 which meant we jumped headfirst into learning the hard way how to care for our lawn in the fall. The only tools for our lawn we had were a corded trimmer and a really sad electric lawnmower. And as for something as specialized as gardeners tools? Ha! (heavy sigh)

Consequently, our backyard was in pretty bad shape our first year, so we dove into next year with a plan to make sure our lawn withstood the onslaught of wet leaves and squirrels. Over the past few years, we’ve acquired some tools that have become ridiculously necessary, and some that just collect dust. 


Here’s my quintessential list of essential fall tools we feel are crazy necessary to maintain our lawn and yard (I’ve added these all to my Outdoorsy list on Amazon, which has other ideas for keeping your outdoors looking like a snack paradise).

BTW just as a heads up, I’ve grouped similar ones under the same category, so if you’re like, “Megan, the title says there are 17, and I only see 10?” that’s why.

Essential Fall Tools for Your Yard Checklist:

1. Safety Stuff

This is by far the most important, and don’t skimp or think that your sunglasses will do! Protect yourself now with thick gloves (I got a pair of Digz at a conference and have not looked back, they are AWESOME), safety goggles (I get the ones that go over my eyeglasses for maximum nerdy couture), and hearing protection if you’re using power tools. Your 75-year-old self will thank you later, I promise.

2. Leaf blower

Ryobi sent me their 40V Lithium-Ion Jet Fan Blower along with our 40V edge trimmer, and I will say this has been a godsend in our backyard (Thanks, Ryobi!).

Why it’s essential: Piles of leaves can get gross and turn your lawn into a muddy mess.

3. Leaf Rake

A leaf rake is one of those essential fall tools that you can start off with on the cheaper end and move up when you feel you’re ready to.

Why it’s essential: Along with the leaf blower, you gotta get those leaves off the lawn before they become disgusting. We use the rake, even though I hate the sound of it, to handle the leaves on the driveway before it becomes a slippery mess.

4. Leaf bags

To my husband, leaf bags are optional since we use the mulching feature on our lawnmower, but I think they’re essential for when you need to collect those random clumps of leaves in spots other than your lawn (gardens, driveways, etc) to leave out for trash collection, these can’t be beaten. (Side note: my local trash company offers the ability to have them come and just, like, vacuum up your pile of loose leaves, which doesn’t seem practical at ALL to me. How am I supposed to stop my leaf pile from spreading all over the place till you guys show up? No thanks, I’ll bag it!)

5. Contractor bags

Same idea, but contractor bags are for heavier-duty tasks like old mulch, dirt, and landscape stuff

6. Broadcast Spreader

We whip out the Spreader when it’s time to fertilize the grass before winter rears its head around here, and it has made life so much easier. If you don’t have a huge lawn, we started with this wee Scott’s model, and it worked well enough.

7. Garden Cart

I went years without one and didn’t realize until I picked a garden cart/wagon up from Amazon how much time it saves me. Seriously, those little trips back and forth from our deck box to the garden added up! Now I can haul everything at once. Someday I’ll upgrade to a wheelbarrow, but those things are so expensive!

8. Burlap and String

I use burlap and twine to wrap my lavender plants right before the frost comes. For delicate plants like lavender, azaleas, and even some hydrangeas (though I just let mine face the winter as is. They have been pretty hearty thus far), it is important to make sure your plants are protected from the harsh winter winds. (Now I sound like I’m in an episode of Game of Thrones)

9. Hand Tools

If you’re getting started with gardening in the fall or transplanting, your basic starter set will do, but I do recommend upgrading your trowel and getting a Hori Hori. I use the Hori Hori knife more than anything, mostly because it makes me feel like some sort of badass when I’m unsheathing it.

10. Garden Shears

While I’m all about starting basic/cheap garden tools, I don’t skimp on my shears. We did when we first moved in, and the difference between “eh” and “YES!” tools cannot be understated.  Good garden shears, both for pruning and shrubs, will save you so much wear and tear on your hands and arms. Believe me, when you’re hacking off chunks of wild mint that grows like a weed in your backyard (or is that just us?), you’re going to want something that shows you’re the boss of the lawn.


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