Man is a tool-using Animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.
Thomas Carlyle – BrainyQuote

When you begin gardening as a hobby, getting all the garden tools can be insanely expensive if you’re planning to buy them straight off the shelf at your local Bunnings or Home Depot. Yet there are far cheaper ways to stock your garden shed without buying brand name equipment.

Without sharing those juicy tips too early, you may want to ponder firstly what is needed. There’s no use buying a trench-digger if you’re never planning to dig trenches. And, a range of hoes for every possible occasion may border on overkill.

Remembering that you’re on a tight budget, limiting your tool selection is a necessary evil.
But, how do you go about getting cheap, yet reliable, garden tools. Here’s some tips ‘n’ ideas;

  • Visit estate auctions – usually when a loved one dies their estate including any personal effects is handed over to an auctioneer to sell. The funds raised are then split between the legal recipients and the estate is wound up.
    Usually their personal effects are sold at severely discounted prices because there is no other market for them. Further more, they are usually good quality items because they were looked after by a previous gardener.
  • Bankruptcy or closing-down auctions – unfortunately, from time to time, small hardware businesses will hit the wall – mainly because they couldn’t compete with the likes of Lowes, Home Depot and Bunnings. While it may seem that you’re picking the carcass off a dying animal, the realisation is that the animal is dead and the meat is going to go to waste anyway.
  • Shire or Council Sales – shires and local councils often update their equipment and therefore may offload some of the gardening tools that in your opinion are fine. Keep abreast of your local newspaper and these will pop up on occasions.
  • Hire some of your tools – some tools are just too expensive and you will probably only use them once or twice. Don’t fork out a small fortune for them. Instead, seek out hire businesses where you can rent them for the period of time needed.
  • Borrow them from friends – if you’re organised enough you could create a group of friends who all pitch in and buy a share of a garden tool or you each buy a different garden tool and swap it between each other.

These are just a few options and I’m sure there are others. How have you resourced your gardening hobby when on a limited budget?