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Gardening Tools for Beginners

Gardening Tools for Beginners

It’s easy to go overboard when purchasing gardening tools. They can take up a lot of space and can quickly become costly but staying focused on the basics can keep your shed or storage area from becoming overcrowded and you from feeling overwhelmed. That is why we have created a list of essential gardening tools for beginners. 

There is always bigger and better, but buying the best quality tools that your budget will allow, and maintaining them, can go a long way to getting the most out of your investment. The number of essential gardening tools for beginners depends on the type of garden you are going to start, whether it will be a container garden on a patio or a larger garden with lots of ground-level beds.

10 gardening tools for beginners to get started

  1. Gloves
  2. Scissors/shears
  3. Garden/hand fork
  4. Hand trowel
  5. Shovel
  6. Rake
  7. Hoe
  8. Garden hose
  9. Watering can
  10. Wheel barrow

10 Types of Gardening Tools and Their Uses 

1. Gloves

While gardening can be a wonderful hobby, it can quickly turn into a thorny and splintery hassle without the right pair of gloves. If you’ve ever tried cutting back some thorny shrubs or pulling nettles with your bare hands, you can attest that gloves are a gardening necessity.

And while you will not always handle harmful items, even the seemingly harmless-looking plants could leave your hands irritated and sore if they are unprotected. A pair of sturdy gloves is a gardening necessity since it protects you from splinters, thorns, and keeps your hands clean. As a result, gardening will be more enjoyable and safer.

  • Gloves should be durable but not too bulky, especially for working with seeds or transplanting seedlings.
  • Fit is important, as poorly fitting gloves can cause blisters or result in accidents from slipping off.
  • Fabrics that are water resistant, but also breathable, will help keep hands cool and comfortable.
  • Longer cuffs protect wrists and forearms from scratch and keep the soil from getting in.
  • Store gloves out of sunlight, away from water and safe from insects.


Scissors and shears may seem like they are basically the same product, but there are subtle differences in their make and how you use them. Scissors are intended for general-purpose cutting, whereas gardening shears are meant for more specific uses.  

Of course, each product is available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and price points, so you need to have an idea of your intended use before you decide which one to buy. 

When choosing your ideal pair of scissors, make sure that you are choosing the right size and shape for most of your projects. If you often take cuttings from small succulents, look for scissors with smaller or thinner blades for more precision. If the plants you cut vary in size, look for scissors that will work for thicker stems, but are not so large that they damage more petite plants.

Although they may be considered a gardening essential tool, the importance of scissors for any gardener is easily overlooked. Garden scissors are a versatile piece of accessory that could be used to perform multiple garden chores.

Garden scissors could be used for the delicate pruning jobs, opening seed packets, and you could use them for a small dig if there is nothing else to do the job. This is one piece of equipment that a gardener would improvise to perform multiple gardening tasks. I personally have garden scissors of all sorts of sizes and colors. We keep ours in a garden tote bag filled with some of our gardening essentials.

Garden Shears are used to trim and shape plants, deadhead, prune out dead or damaged foliage and small branches, and cut back perennials. They are one of the most-used gardening tools so it’s important to get a pair that works well for you. Hand pruners help reign in plants that are getting out of control and taking over.

There are two basic types of pruners – bypass pruners and anvil pruners. Anvil-style pruner which cuts with a sharp blade meeting a flat surface, similar to a cooking knife on a board. Bypass pruners cut with a sharp blade passing by a sharp-edged flat surface, more like scissors.

You could call them what you like – secateurs, hand pruners, pruning shears – they are a gardening essential if you need to prune roses, vegetables, shrubs, and fruit trees. If you are looking for something you could use all-round, the bypass pruner is an excellent choice since it is designed to cut live wood and deliver smooth and clean cuts. And as you have probably realized, pruning is not a one-time job so be sure to choose a pair of shears that is comfortable on your hands.

In addition, be sure to maintain the blades at their sharpest. You should, however, never force your pruning shears to cut thick plant material because they could easily break or get blunt.

  • Anvil pruners are best for dead wood and can cause crushing injuries to fresh, green stems and branches.
  • Bypass pruners are better for live plants and green wood.
  • Pruners should fit easily in the palm of your hand.
  • Ratcheting pruners provide increased cutting strength, perfect for anyone with reduced hand strength or arthritis.
  • For cleaner cuts and less injury to plants, pruners should be sharpened regularly.

3. Garden fork and hand fork

An efficient tool for turning soil since garden forks can dig into dense soil better than a spade. The hand fork is a small but essential garden tool that lets you break up the hard, lumpy garden soil into crumbly compost in order to achieve a texture in which young plants can grow their roots without being impeded. 

  • Forks with a slight curve to the spines are useful for scooping mulch or turning compost piles, much like a pitchfork.
  • Straight tines are better for digging; great for compact, rocky, or clay soil.
  • Square tines are stronger than flat tines which can bend when they hit a rock or root.

4. Hand Trowel

Another essential hand gardening tool: trowels are wonderful for transplanting bedding plants and herbs, planting containers, and taking out weeds. When you need to plant seedlings, a hand trowel is obviously indispensable. You could use it to dig out small chunks of soil to plant seedlings or dig up tough weeds. And just like other gardening tools, be sure to keep it clean to ensure it lasts a long time.

  • Select a broad blade to move more soil or a long, narrow blade to dig up weeds or for rocky soil.
  • The handle should fit comfortably in your hand.
  • Trowels forged from stainless steel, or at least with a stainless-steel head, are more durable and will last longer.

Some gardeners, however, prefer using a shovel to scoop soil and dig holes. Whichever option you go with ensure it has a comfortable and ergonomic design, in addition to a sharp cutting edge and strong handle. Trowels are available with long and short handles, depending on your preference. Longer handles will provide more leverage but are heavier. Here’s a few things to consider when buying a trowel for gardening:

  • Treads on top of the blade give a sturdier and more comfortable foot surface when needing an extra push.
  • Ash hardwood handles are durable and absorb shock and vibration.
  • Stainless steel heads are strong and will not rust.

5. Shovel or Spade

A shovel and spade are equally great gardening tools to own. However, if we had the option to choose either, we’d go with the spade. A spade offers nice, straight, and clean edges. It is also an excellent tool for transplanting, planting as well as slicing through tough root systems.  

These short-handled square shovels are garden workhorses. They make easy work of digging holes for plants, edging, lifting sod, and moving small mounds of dirt from one area to another. This tool can be more on the pricey side, but a good spade will last you the rest of your gardening life.

6. Rake

When leaves and debris fall, your sturdy rake is there to whisk them away. Rakes come in a wide variety of styles and sizes, but a great starter is a standard leaf rake. Rakes are popular for their main use: cleaning up trimmings, grass clippings, and fallen leaves.  

However, the truth is that these pieces of gardening equipment come in several types and serve various purposes. A rake could be used to break up soil and level out seedling beds. A shrub rake easily gets into tight spaces where larger rakes might not fit. A landscape or garden rake is designed with metal tines which are perfect for leveling mulch or soil. From leaf rakes to straight-headed rakes, there are several options to choose from depending on your needs. 

  • Adjustable rakes do the job of more than one tool, reaching into narrow areas or gathering large piles of leaves.
  • Steel tines are stronger and may be rougher on delicate lawns than plastic tines.

7. Hoe

Your type of garden will dictate what type of hoe is best for you. A veggie garden may require a sturdy, wide hoe. If you have perennial gardens, a more delicate touch and a thinner hoe may be required.

Hoes are useful in preparing garden and flower beds and cutting down weeds. If you are moving around soil in your garden, removing unwanted roots, digging trenches, or weeding the entire garden, then a garden hoe should be your closest friend. A good hoe will cut through all the tough soil as well as the difficult obstacles with great ease.
Whether you are up to some planting, digging, cultivating, weeding, or chopping, a garden hoe is one piece of equipment you do not want to miss by your side.  

  • Look for a comfortable handle with a long reach.
  • A sharp blade works better and is easier to use.
  • Weeding hoes, also called hula or stirrup hoes, have an open square head, and are pushed back and forth just under the soil surface to cut down top growth.
  • Flat hoes are good for turning the soil in rows in vegetable gardens.

8. Garden hose with adjustable nozzle

Water is the foundation of your garden’s life and it is important that your garden hose can reach and spray every area. There are three basic hose diameters: ½-inch (avg. 9 gal. per minute), 5/8-inch (avg. 15 gal. per minute), and ¾-inch (up to 25 gal. per minute). An adjustable nozzle puts you in control of the water pressure and spray radius.  

  • Estimate the amount of length you will need with your hose before buying one.
  • Hose length will affect water pressure – the longer the hose, the lower the resulting pressure.
  • Vinyl hoses are lighter weight and less expensive, but kink easier and do not last as long as rubber construction.
  • Store hoses coiled up and out of direct sunlight. Storing with kinks in them can result in weak spots.

9. Watering Can

There are 2 basic types of watering cans, plastic, or metal. There are hundreds of styles, colors, sizes, and nozzle options. A watering can is an excellent choice if you just have a small area to water. If your watering jobs are not too intensive, then watering cans easily come in handy. This is particularly the case if you want to water a flower bed or seedling nursery where high-pressure water is not required. 

  • Plastic cans can be lighter than metal but will not last as long.
  • Metal cans should be galvanized to resist rusting.
  • Consider the size of the can relative to your strength, a gallon of water weighs just over 8 pounds.
  • The handle position should allow you to carry a full can and also tip it to pour easily.
  • Two-handled designs allow for better stability for children or elderly gardeners.
  • You may need two: a larger one with a sprinkler head for the outdoors, and a smaller, long-necked version for houseplants.

10. Wheelbarrow

If your backyard has extra soil to be moved around, compost or mulch that needs to be added to garden beds, or any other heavy lifting and moving project, a wheelbarrow can help you haul hundreds of pounds! 

When you are taking care of weed infestation or digging out new areas of your garden, you will definitely have a lot of waste to deal with. All that waste must go somewhere and even if you want it in your compost heap, you still must get it there.

In such an instance, a wheelbarrow would come in handy and would help reduce the number of trips to and from the compost heap. A good quality wheelbarrow could help you save a lot of time off your gardening schedule.

Other Types of Gardening Tools to Keep in Mind

1. Watering Wand

A watering wand or hose nozzle will also come in handy if you need to customize the water spray pattern in addition to providing the extra reach.

Give your plants a gentle rain shower with a water-breaking wand. The extended reach is also helpful to get to out-of-the-way containers, hanging plants, or the back edges of borders. Watering wands come in a variety of lengths, from 10 to 48 inches.

It is not an essential gardening tool but does help to have one hand when you feel it is time to invest in more tools for your growing garden.

2. Weeder

Are you looking to deal with the weeds without polluting your garden with harmful chemicals? Then a weeder is the best tool for you.

This is a small hand tool with a forked end that is perfect for digging out individual weeds as well as removing them by their roots. When used appropriately, this tool can help you get rid of all offending plants so that they will not be a mess later on.

On the other side, you should brace yourself for some hard work because removing weeds with this tool is time consuming because you must take each plant at a time. Luckily, you can enjoy some time outdoors while getting rid of the weeds.

3. Pruning Saw

A pruning saw is the best tool to tackle the stubborn branches as well as those that are too big for loppers or pruning shears. Whether you are removing roots or cutting branches, this tool will be up for the challenge.

Besides being a gardening tool, this accessory could be a good companion for your next hiking or camping trip. And depending on your needs, you could consider having a long-reach saw since it helps you to safely reach the higher branches even when there is no ladder to climb. We personally love our pruning saw and use it more often than we thought we would.

4. Loppers

Another cutting tool, loppers are basically long-handled pruners used to trim hard to reach areas and cut thicker branches. The long handles provide the leverage it takes to cut through branches up to an inch or more in diameter. There are anvil and bypass types, just like pruners. Handles generally range from 16 to 36 inches.

5. Lawn Mower

While it might seem obvious, the truth is that your garden will not look good without a properly trimmed lawn. It is for this reason that every gardener should have a lawn mower in their tools shed. From manual lawn mowers, to electric lawn mowers, to gas mowers, you can choose what you prefer.

Since the point of garden tools is to make your job easier, brands are getting more streamlined and ergonomic when designing the next garden tool. Gardening is one of the most relaxing and rewarding activities you can practice these days. There is no better time to start than now.

Zulily Outdoor Living & Garden Shop

About The Author

Wanda Lopez

Wanda Lopez a blogger at heart and shares her insight on all things food, recipes, home décor, travel and more at She’s a passionate content editor and contributor for household brands such as Kraft, Publix, Ford, Best Buy and more--all while balancing work, motherhood and all things in between. An educator and avid photographer, she is in love with design, food and the outdoors.

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