10 Essential Tools Every Gardener Should Have

Whether you have a full garden or just a few container plants, the right tools can make gardening easier and more fun. Here are 10 essential tools every gardener should have:

A weeding fork has prongs that cleanly pull weeds without digging up large clumps of dirt. This tool is especially useful in rock gardens and containers.

Hand Trowel

The hand trowel is a heavy-duty tool that is great for digging and planting. This one has a subtly curved blade that won’t scrape your knuckles. It’s made from rust-proof steel with a sturdy ash handle.

You can also find a pair of hand trowels available in sets that include a garden fork and pruner. The fork is great for loosening and aerating specific dirt sections in preparation for new planting (via University of Florida Extension). It’s also useful for dislodging pesky weeds.

Pruning Shears

Keeping shrubs and vines neatly pruned keeps them looking great, opens up views in the garden, and helps to prevent disease. You need pruning shears that are sharp and easy to use.

Look for shears with a locking mechanism that is easy to open and close and stays locked in place during use. Select shears with a sharp, smooth blade and a flat anvil to make precise cuts without crushing stems or buds.

Garden Fork

A garden fork makes digging, loosening soil and moving compost much easier. You can also use it to transplant or divide perennials and other root vegetables.

Look for one that has solid tines to hold up against heavy digging and a comfortable handle. Longer handles provide leverage, while shorter ones are better for detail work or individuals of smaller stature.

Try out different forks to find the best fit for you. Clean and rinse them after each use. Also, wipe the tines with linseed oil to prevent rust.

Garden Rake

Whether you’re removing fallen leaves or prepping seedbeds, this is a versatile tool to keep on hand. It’s also great for picking up debris in raised bed gardens and flower boxes without damaging delicate plants.

Look for a rake with durable tines and a comfortable handle. Wood is a good choice, but metal and powder-coated fiberglass are also strong options.

Garden Hoe

The garden hoe is a vital tool for removing weeds and turning over the soil. Whether you’re tending vegetable gardens, flower beds or landscaping, you need to be able to work the dirt without damaging the plants and breaking up too much clumps of soil.

A good hoe is light and comfortable to hold. It should also have a long reach to cover more ground quickly. Look for a hoe with a sturdy, high-quality blade and a durable handle that offers the ideal balance of strength and flexibility.

Watering Can

Keeping plants well-hydrated is crucial to their health and success. Look for a watering can that’s easy to pour and has a comfortable handle.

A garden trowel is a must-have for digging small holes, transferring soil and cutting weeds. Choose one with a flat, rather than pointed, edge for less strain on the back.

Pruning shears, also known as secateurs, are useful for trimming branches and twigs. They’re also handy for deadheading flowers and maintaining the overall health of your garden.

Garden Gloves

When tackling gardening and landscaping projects, gloves are essential tools to protect your hands. From grabbing handfuls of thorny brambles to spreading chemicals, your hands will be exposed to dirt and other debris that can lead to painful injuries.

These gloves are thin and snug to provide dexterity, but are also water resistant and launderable. The fingers and palms have extra padding to make gripping tool handles comfortable and they are touchscreen compatible so you can easily use your phone without taking them off.

Garden Pruners

Garden pruners, also called pruning shears or gardening scissors, are heavy-duty scissors specifically designed to cut plant stems and hard shrub branches. They’re an important tool to have when maintaining a healthy and beautiful landscape.

Leech recommends a pair of Okatsune shears, which have a bypass blade and a latch lock that’s easier on the hands than dial locks. He uses them to trim greenery around the NYBG’s property.


Whether you’re gardening or just cleaning up the yard, having a good wheelbarrow will make it easier to transport piles of debris. Look for one that is rust-resistant and durable.

A hand trowel is a multi-tasker in the garden, from digging holes for plants to transplanting seedlings to removing weeds. Choose one with a long handle and pointed, rust-resistant stainless-steel prongs.

A ground rake breaks up soil, loosening it so seeds can penetrate. Choose a wide head that’s also light and easy to use.

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