Most useful 12 tools every gardener should have

We become what we behold. We choose our gardening tools and then our tools shape us. – Marshall McLuhan
Most useful tools every gardener should have

How to start your own garden and what tools do you need? Probably every beginner gardener have these kind of questions. And we also had.

When we were just planning to start our garden we were focused mostly on the final results. We dreamed about great harvest of ecologically grown vegetables and fruits, about nice flowers around and a great view of yellow and red leaves falling from trees during Autumn. But in reality, we had to do a lot of work and the first thing we had to complete is to buy appropriate equipment.

What helped us define our list of tools for a garden? How to select and buy proper tools not spending a little fortune on things that we won’t use? We created a small but important list of rules for better understanding of our needs:

1. Keep it simple

We decided not to buy overpriced and expensive equipment or variety of models. Sometimes
good is better than best. Our goal was to have only most essential tools and while gaining
experience to acquire what is missing.
Don’t hurry to buy all tools at once especially if you have an easy access to store with gardening
tools. Go there, try how some tools lay in your hands, try if they are not too heavy do handles are
of appropriate height for you. Tools should not only be useful but also convenient to use.

2. Analyze your garden

We had to analyze what kind of garden we do have and what we want it to be. First what we paid
attention to was the size of our garden. We have not big one but rather a medium size compared
to an ordinary backyard size. So we add a wheelbarrow into our Must Have list. Also we had to
plan a watering mechanism beforehand so we needed a hose, connectors and sprinkles but
also in addition – a watering can. Next, we thought that if we are planning to have trees on our
garden and a living fence we will need hand pruners, loppers and pruning saw. Bow pruning
saw and a chainsaw were postponed for later as they are usually needed for trees that have thick

3. Create a list of activities

We had a discussion on what we are going to do during the first season. We will definitely be
planting a lot! So shovels and spades were added. For more accurate work we added to the list
gardening trowels and hoe. And one thing that cannot be overestimated is gardening gloves.

These rules weren’t made right after start. We wasted some money and dedicated space. But
finally, we prepared that list for us and we are sharing this with you.

The list of gardening tools

And we return to the topic of the article – what gardening tools do you need while starting
Our final list which we believe we can call a list of most common tools every gardener should
have is described below.

1. Shovel
You probably cannot imagine a gardener without a shovel. So do we. Shovel can be used in a
variety of activities like digging, lifting, and moving soil or sand. When selecting a right shovel you
should consider size (select smaller shovel if you have a dense soil or a tight area), shape and
handle. Handle should correspond to your height, should be clean and smooth.

Essential gardening tool - shovel

2. Spades

Spade differs from shovel mainly by its blade which narrowed and is less curved. With spade you can easily move bulk materials, like soil, gravel, etc. Although you can manage your garden with only shovel or spade, it is recommended to have both.

3. Garden Trowels

If for planting trees and digging bigger holes you can use shovel and spade, garden trowels will do great job at making beds for flowers, seeds or other small plants, digging small holes and weeding. You can also find garden trowels with inch or cm markings so you will know exact depth of a hole.

Essential gardening tools - garden trowels

4. Wheelbarrow

Having a wheelbarrow will help you to move mulch, compost, debris, dead leaves of garden. Also you can transport your seedlings and even tools. Basically, there are two kinds of wheelbarrow – one wheel and two wheel wheelbarrow.

From our experience, one wheel wheelbarrow is more maneuverable and also more convenient if you have narrow pathways. The use of one wheel also permits greater control of the deposition of the load upon emptying. From other hand, two wheels guarantee better stability and control. So there is no one answer which one is better but wheelbarrow is definitely is a good-to-have gardening tool.

Essential gardening tools - Wheelbarrow

5. Gloves

As we already mentioned gloves cannot be overestimated. When you work a lot with tools like shovel, spade, garden fork, etc. a good pair of nitrile coated gloves will help to prevent callused palms. Also they can be easily washed and they are three times more puncture and tear resistant than natural rubber gloves like latex. A pair of leather gloves will not only protect your hands from dirt but also from injuries when dealing with roses or other thorny plants. And they will keep your hands in warm during cold or wet weather.

Essential gardening tools - gloves

6. Hand Pruners And Loppers

If in your garden you plan (or already have) not only beautiful flowers and green nice lawn but also some bushes and trees then you will need cutting tools. For thin stems up to ¾ inches, deadheading or pruning perennials, trimming new growth on shrubs you can use a hand pruners. For branches over ¾ inches thick you can use lopper. This tool will assist you with pruning shrubs, roses, trees, tall perennials with woody stems and even full-size sunflowers. In order to cut bigger branches you will have to consider buying a pruning saw and a pole saw to reach a branch in a bigger hight.

7. Watering Gear

All plants require a good rich on minerals soil, access to the sun and a proper watering. When you just start to garden you will have to water a lot. As for the beginning you may use a watering can or baskets to water your seedlings. Also if you have a possibility to plug a hose with sprinkles to your water supply system that will make watering easier. But if you plan to have a big garden with lots of plants, trees, flowers you should consider installing an irrigation system. This is a good investment that will pay you off by reducing your manual labor and will supply your greens with correct watering on proper schedule. Basically, there are two main types of garden irrigation: drip and sprinkler irrigation. Both have their pros and cons. In short words, drip irrigation can reduce a weed growth as it waters only those plants that you need and it uses water efficiently which can help to shorten water usage but the installation of such system should be precise and requires experience or a help from an expert. Also, drip system is more vulnerable and requires maintenance. Sprinkle irrigation system can be used on larger areas and are not dependent from the surface so they can be used almost anywhere. From the disadvantages sprinkle irrigation are quite expensive in terms of installation. They will provide water as to your plants and to weeds. Also they are susceptible to wind that can scatter their spray and cause inconsistent watering. This can be a serious issue for windy areas.

Essential gardening tools - watering equipment

8. Garden Forks or/and pitchfork

Because tines are pushed into the ground more easily garden fork is mostly used for loosening, lifting and turning over soil. In some cases it can replace a spade when you need to dig something like potatoes, garlic or other root crops. Its benefit is that it does not cut a plant roots. The pitchfork is a little bit different from garden fork. The tines of pitchfork are curved, they are thicker and spaced more closely. This guarantees easier movement of loose materials such as mulch, compost or manure.

9. Leaf Rakes

If you have a number of trees around your garden when autumn comes you will have a nice carpet from fallen leaves. And to grab them you can use a leaf rake. Also this instrument will be useful in raking a dead grass or grass clippings. Leaf rake with a wide head and springy tines are better in cleaning large areas whereas rake with a small head is more convenient for raking leaves around shrubs

Essential gardening tools - leaf rakes

10. Lawn trimmer or lawn mower

Of course to cut grass you can be old school and use a scythe. If used correctly it can be even more efficient than trimmer for larger areas and tall grass but let’s focus on lawn mower and lawn trimmer. Both can do similar tasks and generally you can strict to only one device. Lawn mower is good for larger areas and for flat surface. But it cannot reach narrow places, it can be hard to get grass that grows around a tree or near a fence. Same corresponds to edging or borderlines. Trimmers vice versa they are great for tricky spots, but it can be tiring on large lawns even though it is lighter than lawn mower. Also, it won’t guarantee an equal height of lawn grass. Although lawn mower can do most of work alone, in pair with trimmer they will give a lawn that perfect, well-manicured look.

Essential gardening tools - lawn trimmer/mower

11. Rake

Unlike leaf rake, garden rakes are stronger with strong thick tines aligned in parallel. They are good in grabbing cut roots, dried plants, grass and other debris. Also they are used to break up clumps of soil and pull out stones, to level surface and tamp soil. Garden rakes will help mixing fertilizer and compost, or spread mulch over soil to retain moisture and improve its quality. 

Essential gardening tools - rake

12. Hoe

Gardening hoe same as rake is used for shaping the soil but also for controlling the weeds. It is best to till before the weeds start to grow on the surface. Weed seedlings are always developing beneath the surface. If you can hoe regularly then these weed seedlings will be killed. Thus, it is excellent to do it as early as possible. Hoeing is best when the surface is dry. Once the weeds are chopped off with the hoe, rerooting will be harder if the surface is dry. Also, hoe can be used for harvesting root crops. This tool is quite important even in small gardens. 

Essential gardening tools - hoe

Does this list matches to what you have? Do you think something is redundant or we are missing something? Share your list or your experience and we will improve ours.

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