Logo

5 things to consider before storing your garden tools away for winter

PUBLISHED: 09:16 17 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:28 17 November 2017

It's important to look after your gardening tools to make sure they last as long as possible

It's important to look after your gardening tools to make sure they last as long as possible

© Getty Images

Give your tools some TLC before you put them away for the winter. Our guide shows you how to look after them - and make them last

Once you've cleared out your shed, you might find space to put up racks to help store your newly-cleaned tools Once you've cleared out your shed, you might find space to put up racks to help store your newly-cleaned tools

Give your tools some TLC before you put them away for the winter. Our guide shows you how to look after them - and make them last.

As winter sets in, now is the time to think about putting your garden tools into hibernation.

But before stowing them away, you’ll want to give them a thorough clean too and sharpen them up - and maybe consider throwing out the old and investing in some new ones for next season.

Make sure you look after your garden tools now, to ensure they last Make sure you look after your garden tools now, to ensure they last

Here are 5 things to consider...

1. Don’t leave tools out in the rain

If you want your gardening tools to last, then don’t leave them out in the rain and cold or they will deteriorate - metal will rust and wood will rot.

All tools should be wiped with a damp cloth and washing-up liquid to remove any sap All tools should be wiped with a damp cloth and washing-up liquid to remove any sap

With any tool, you need to clean the soil off it before storing, oil any moving parts regularly, and sharpen the blades of knives, shears and secateurs, so they make a clean cut every time.

Blades can be wiped with an oily rag before prolonged storage, and need to be kept dry to avoid rusting.

2. Make sure you remove all traces of sap

Give your tools a thorough clean and sharpen them up Give your tools a thorough clean and sharpen them up

They should be wiped with a damp cloth and washing-up liquid to remove any sap, which can make the cutting surfaces sticky and prevent a good cut next time.

Dried sap and rust can be also be removed by rubbing the blades with wire wool, before oiling them lightly. Secateurs should be left with their blades open to dry thoroughly before putting them away.

When hoes and spades become blunt, either sharpen them by hand or on a grind stone.

If you sharpen your tools now, when the busy period of spring arrives, you'll have everything you need to hand If you sharpen your tools now, when the busy period of spring arrives, you'll have everything you need to hand

3. Think about replacements

If you haven’t looked after your tools and they’ve had it, what replacements should you buy?

Well, if you can afford it, go for top quality, and if not, just go for the best you can afford, as cheap tools only last a few seasons.

If a new spade is needed, go for one that suits your size. A huge, heavy spade may look impressive but won’t be easy to work with if you are small. Go for the one that you feel comfortable with and which suits your height.

Hanging tools means less chance of accidents and you'll be able to find them easily Hanging tools means less chance of accidents and you'll be able to find them easily

A good spade should be made of hardwood which is splinter-free. Check that the shaft, especially where it meets the metal shank, is smooth. The old-fashioned D-shaped handles are often the most comfortable. Check the same things if you are buying a new garden fork.

4. Go for comfort

If you are replacing hand tools, buy stainless steel ones with comfortable handles that don’t create blisters. Spend a little bit more on a pair of good-quality secateurs and they can last you a lifetime if you look after them.

Keep your tools extra sharp now because you might need them for exterior Christmas decorations! Keep your tools extra sharp now because you might need them for exterior Christmas decorations!

Remember, in general, you should not use secateurs to cut stems that are any thicker than your finger.

When looking for a new trowel, go for one that is strong, rather than admiring the colour of the handle. Cheaper versions will bend if you are digging into heavy soil, especially where the handle meets the blade. Trowels should be used vertically to take out a hole, rather than horizontally like a flour scoop.

Of course, you will need shears if you have hedges to trim, but make sure they’re not too heavy and that the cutting action is smooth.

If your tools are still usable, there are things you can do to improve their performance. Tighten the blade tension of garden shears to improve their cutting, and remove and sharpen the blades of other pruning tools.

As you have done the last cut of the season, it may be time to service your lawnmower. Also, it’s a good time to check electrical equipment, as many plugs, sockets and leads deteriorate with use in the garden.

5. Tidy the shed

Once you’ve had a good clear-out of the shed, you may find space to put up racks and shelves so you can neatly store your newly-cleaned tools, rather than just leaving them on the floor.

That way, there is less chance of accidents through treading on rakes, hoes and other sharp instruments. Plus, invest in a series of galvanised or plastic-coated wire tool racks for the wall and you’ll never have to hunt for your fork or trowel again.

Then, when the busy period of spring arrives, you’ll have all the tools for the job - and know they’re all in working order.

Property search


e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Other Hampstead and Highgate property news

How to insulate your own loft

Cold, isn’t it? The days have got shorter, summer feels a long way away, the sofa seems comfier - and the last thing you want to do is go outside and do more DIY (unless you absolutely have to).

Home of the week: Arts and Crafts style house in Hampstead

A spectacular interior designed Arts & Crafts style house, built circa 1905 for the artist Samuel Fry, a Royal Academy exhibitor

Alexandra Palace area guide: the hills, the houses and hunting for a bargain

Your guide to things to do in Alexandra Palace, including the best shops, cafes, restaurants and schools. PLUS our guide to property in N22

Comment: What’s in store for 2018?

Trevor Abrahmsohn, managing director of estate agents, Glentree International, offers his predictions for 2018 on everything from property to the World Cup

Primrose Hill family selling historic home after more than 60 Christmases

Originally constructed by renowned Victorian builder William Willett, the seven bedroom house, in Primrose Hill, is now on the market for £15,000,000

North London extensions shortlisted for top design award

Two north London extensions have been shortlisted as among London’s best and most innovative home improvements.

Three table setting themes to inspire you this Christmas

Gabrielle Fagan reveals how to create a Christmas table that’s a feast for the eyes

How to grow your own garlic

If you’re finding that shop-bought garlic doesn’t have the intense flavour you require, then it’s time to start growing your own, which will give you more choice and more flavour.

London house prices now a record 14.5 times higher than average income, figures show

Average house prices reached £496,000 and average earnings were £34,200 in London this year, yet a north London agent says the comparison is not an accurate representation of the capital’s property market

Decor experts Rockett St George reveal their recipe for stunning style

Jane Rockett Lucy St George share their vision for imaginative, inviting interiors with Gabrielle Fagan

Regent’s Park: a historic royal park home to wandering tourists, exclusive elites and everyday Londoners alike

Tom Ford and Damien Hirst might hide away behind the iconic Stucco frontage of the Nash Terraces, but out in the open Londoners mingle with tourists, geese and budding athletes amongst the green space

1960s pebbledash property in Highgate transformed into ‘3D’ family home

The uniquely designed property with an abundance of space, natural light and top of the range amenities, allows the family to dictate how they want to live

How to make a Christmas candle centrepiece for your table

As thoughts turn to festive decorations, garden centre expert Alex Cawley gives us a crafty Christmas masterclass

The reason everyone should own a water butt and how to build one at home

Richard Burr shares his top tips for a DIY rainwater butt

Have your dahlias gone black? It’s time to put them away for the winter - follow our 5-step guide

If you want to enjoy your dahlias next year, dig them up now and store them for winter. Here’s how to do it

The former Camden Mews home of Madness lead singer, Suggs, is for sale

In his autobiography, the former Madness lead singer cited the famous “Our House” single, inspired by the Camden Mews property, as the band’s most successful song

6 things to think about when choosing the right Christmas tree for your home

As Christmas trees arrive in garden centres, expert David Mitchell offers advice to those who only have a small space for a real tree

For sale in Swiss Cottage: top three

This weeks three properties with spacious accommodation, period stain glass windows and a roof terrace

4 ways to transform your Christmas tree

Looking for some seasonal decor inspiration? Gabrielle Fagan reveals her favourite festive finds

Home of the week: Unique penthouse-style apartment in Hampstead

This weeks choice is a property with double volume ceilings and spectacular views over central London

North London developer says the cut to stamp duty is a “gamechanger” for first-time buyers

Abolishing stamp duty for most first-time buyers will make it easier for them to get on the property ladder, according to a north London real estate developer

Comment: My response to the Chancellor’s budget

Trevor Abrahmsohn, director of north London agents Glentree Estates, believes the governments new housing proposals, as part of the Budget 2017, will go some way into making home ownership “a human right, rather than a privilege”

North London agents say government’s abolishment of stamp duty won’t help first-time buyers in the capital

Housing analysts and north London estate agents are among many who believe abolishing stamp duty for first-time buyers will have little impact on the capital’s housing crisis

Winter patio pots looking lacklustre? Try 3 things to perk them up

Perk up your winter pots to keep them looking fabulous over the festive season

How to install a hidden wall safe

A discreet safe to keep valuables protected isn’t just something for the rich and famous to consider. Richard Burr reveals how to fit one

Christmas gift guide: 14 top picks for gardeners and green-fingered types

From sweet stocking-fillers to wow-factor pressies, these are bound to delight

Comment: My letter to our illusive housing minister

According to Simon Gerrard, managing director of Martyn Gerrard estate agents, the government are failing to deliver a strategic approach in response to the housing crisis

Former Hampstead guesthouse is for sale as a 7 bedroom residential home

Owner, Annemarie van der Meer hopes to sell the property to a buyer looking for a spacious family home

For sale in Highgate: top three

On the market this week are three historic properties with period features, high ceilings and far-reaching views in an eviable location

The Japanese wonder toilet taking the world by storm

TOTO, inventor of the ‘Washlet’, claim the rate of sales for their product in Europe has doubled year on year since launching in 2009

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2017 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant