Gardening tools for beginners on a wooden table.

Having the right gardening tools can make a huge difference in the success of your garden and homestead, and can save you time and effort along the way. If you’re new to gardening, you might be wondering what tools you need to get started.

Good news! None of the essential gardening tools are super expensive, or difficult to find. You may even already have all or most of them to help with your landscaping or yard work.

Some of these may be obvious. Others you might not realize are so important! Every time I work in the garden without my gloves, I always regret it!

Are you collecting your garden tools for the next season? Making out a gift list for the friends and family that are asking about what you want? Or simply curious? Let’s take a look at what tools are must-haves in the garden and why!

Notice: This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click through and purchase, I may earn a percentage at no extra cost to you.

What Makes the Best Gardening Tools?

The answer to this question will vary depending on you and your garden. You want to get good quality tools that will last you for years to come. I’ve had the misfortune of gardening with a hand trowel that was so flimsy it would bend while I was digging, and it was no fun to work with!

blue plastic watering can on black plastic bucket

First, consider the materials. Look for tools made from high-quality materials such as stainless steel or carbon steel, which are durable and rust-resistant. A well-constructed tool with a sturdy connection between the handle and the tool head will also ensure that it can withstand heavy use.

Additionally, choosing tools with comfortable, non-slip handles that fit your hand well can reduce strain and fatigue during use. Finally, opt for tools that are lightweight but still sturdy enough to handle tough tasks, and look for tools that come with a warranty to ensure durability and longevity.

Hand Trowel

A hand trowel is an essential tool for any gardener. It is a small handheld tool with a pointed blade that is typically used for digging small holes, transplanting seedlings, and removing weeds.

Along with my gloves and garden scissors, this is the tool I use the most. Make sure you get a good one!

When choosing a hand trowel, look for one with a sturdy, comfortable handle and a durable blade. Stainless steel blades are a popular choice as they are rust-resistant and easy to clean.


A shovel is a versatile tool for any gardener. It can be used for digging, transplanting, and mixing soil amendments or compost into your garden bed.

Look for a sturdy handle and a durable blade. A pointed blade is great for digging, while a flat blade is better for moving soil. You may also want to consider a shovel with a long handle, which can help reduce strain on your back and arms.

By choosing a high-quality shovel that is the right size for your needs, you can ensure that you have a reliable tool that will make your gardening tasks more efficient.

Garden Rake

When it comes to keeping your garden tidy and well-maintained, a garden rake is a must-have for your tool shed. Whether you’re working on a large plot or a small bed, a rake can help you clear debris in the fall, level soil, and prepare your garden for planting.

There are several different types of garden rakes to choose from, including:

  • Leaf rake: Designed for clearing leaves and other lightweight debris from your lawn and garden.
  • Bow rake: Ideal for heavier-duty tasks like leveling soil, spreading mulch, and breaking up clumps of dirt.
  • Garden hoe rake: A combination tool that features a hoe on one side and a rake on the other, perfect for cultivating soil and removing weeds.
  • Adjustable garden leaf rake: A leaf rake that you can adjust the rake head size to get into smaller places than a more traditional leaf rake can.

No matter which type of garden rake you choose, look for one with a sturdy handle and durable tines that can withstand heavy use.

Garden Hose Or Watering Can

When it comes to watering your plants, as a beginner you have two main options: using a garden hose or a watering can. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that works best for you.

Garden Hose

Ah. My nemesis, the garden hose. That long, bendy snake for watering plants and veggies that absolutely loves to get tangles and kinks.

It’s a popular choice for gardeners because it allows you to cover a large area quickly. Here are some advantages of using a hose:

  • Saves time: You can cover a large area efficiently, saving you time and effort.
  • Versatile: Can be used for a variety of tasks outside of the garden, like washing cars, and cleaning outdoor furniture.
  • Adjustable: You can add an adjustable nozzle that allows you to control the water flow and pressure.

However, there are also some disadvantages like:

  • Can be wasteful: Can waste a lot of water if not used properly.
  • Requires storage: Can be bulky and require storage space when not in use.
  • Can be expensive: High-quality hoses can be expensive, especially if you need a long one.

If you do use a hose, I recommend getting a wand attachment to make the job easier. A storage unit like this one will also make putting it away easier, and keep your hose neat and tidy.

Watering Can

A watering can is a container with a spout used to water plants by hand. It’s a great option for smaller gardens or for plants that require more precision.

If I don’t have much planted, I absolutely water my garden with a watering can rather than get out the hose. Here are some of the advantages:

  • Precise: Allows you to water plants precisely, avoiding overwatering or underwatering.
  • Portable: Are lightweight and portable, making them easy to carry around your garden.
  • Affordable: Are generally less expensive than hoses.

However, there are also some disadvantages such as:

  • Time-consuming: if you have a large garden, it will take a lot of time.
  • Limited capacity: Has a limited capacity, so you may need to refill frequently.
  • Not suitable for all plants: Some plants require a lot of water, and a watering can may not be able to provide enough.

Ultimately, the choice between a hose and a watering can comes down to personal preference and the needs of your garden. Consider the size of your garden, the types of plants you have, and your own preferences when making your decision.

If you’ve been gardening a couple of years, and are wanting something a little more “hands off” consider installing a watering system, or at least getting a soaker hose with a timer. ( I love mine!)

Garden Scissors

Scissors are must-have for any gardener. They can be used for a variety of tasks, from cutting flowers and herbs to pruning small branches.

I use mine constantly throughout the gardening season, so you want some good ones! When choosing scissors for your garden, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.

Blade material is important, with stainless steel and high carbon steel being popular options for their durability and ability to hold a sharp edge. Blade length is also a consideration, with shorter blades being ideal for precise cuts on delicate plants and longer blades being better for thicker branches.

Finally, the comfort of the handle is important, with ergonomic handles and soft grip handles being popular choices for reducing hand strain and increasing comfort during use.

By considering these factors, you can choose scissors that are ideal for your gardening needs and will make pruning and cutting tasks easier and more efficient.

Pruning Shears

Pruning shears, also known as hand pruners or secateurs, are also a good tool to have on hand. They are designed to cut small branches, stems, and twigs, making them ideal for pruning and shaping plants.

While you won’t reach for them as often as your scissors, they take care of things like pruning tomatoes much better.

When choosing pruning shears, there are a few things to consider. Look for a pair that feels comfortable in your hand and is easy to use. The blades should be sharp and made from high-quality materials, such as stainless steel, to ensure a clean cut.

Additionally, consider the size of the shears and the type of pruning you will be doing. Smaller shears are great for precision pruning, while larger shears are better for thicker branches.

Garden Gloves

Garden gloves are a necessary tool, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener. They protect your hands from cuts, scratches, blisters, and other injuries that can be caused by thorns, sharp edges, and rough surfaces.

Every time I work in my garden without gloves, I regret it. Squash and cucumber plants are somehow more prickly than I remember every season. When choosing garden gloves, consider the material, size, grip, and flexibility. Look for gloves made of durable, breathable materials such as leather, cotton, or synthetic fibers, and choose gloves that fit snugly without being too tight or too loose.

Good grip and flexibility are also important for holding tools and objects securely and performing tasks such as planting, weeding, and pruning with ease. 

Soil Test Kit

If you’re not sending a sample elsewhere for testing, a soil test kit is essential for any gardener. It helps you determine the pH level, nutrient content, and texture of your soil. When you know these factors, you can adjust your soil accordingly to promote optimal growth for your plants.

Using a soil test kit is easy and straightforward. Simply take a soil sample from your garden and follow the instructions on the kit. Most kits will require you to mix the soil with water and a testing solution, then wait for a color change to indicate the pH level.

Look for a kit that comes with tests for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These tests can help you determine if your soil is lacking in any essential nutrients and allow you to adjust your fertilization accordingly.

Investing in a soil test kit can save you time and money in the long run. By knowing the pH level and nutrient content of your soil, you can avoid over-fertilization, which can harm your plants and waste money on unnecessary fertilizers.


You won’t be gardening long before you realize you could use help moving things. A wheelbarrow helps you move soil, compost, mulch, and other materials around your garden easily.

It can also be used for transporting plants, tools, and other items, making it a versatile tool that can save you time and effort.

There are a few key factors to consider. First, consider the size. A larger unit will be able to carry more materials, but it may also be heavier and harder to maneuver. A smaller one may be easier to handle, but it may not be able to carry as much. Consider your own physical abilities and the size of your garden.

Another important factor to consider is the material it’s made of. Steel is heavy-duty and durable, but can be heavier and more difficult to maneuver. Plastic is lightweight and easy to handle, but may not be as durable as steel. Consider the types of materials you will be moving and the terrain of your garden.

Finally, consider the wheel type. Pneumatic tires are ideal for rough terrain and heavy loads, while solid rubber tires are better for smooth surfaces and lighter loads. Choose a wheel type that is appropriate for your garden and the types of materials you will be moving.

Garden Kneeler

Gardening can be tough on your knees, so a kneeling pad can provide some much-needed comfort. It provides a comfortable surface that can help reduce strain on your knees and back, making gardening tasks more comfortable and enjoyable.

Kneeling pads come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, so you can choose one that is right for your needs.

When choosing a kneeling pad, look for one with a handle for easy carrying. This will make it easier to transport the pad around your garden as you work.

You may also want to consider the material of the pad. Some kneeling pads are made of foam, while others are made of gel or other materials. Foam pads are lightweight and easy to carry, while gel pads may provide more cushioning and support.


Congratulations! You now have a good understanding of the gardening tools that every gardener should have. When you have the appropriate tools, you can make gardening tasks easier and more efficient.

Remember, when choosing tools, it is important to consider the quality of the tool, the size and weight, and the comfort of the handle. You want tools that will last for years and be comfortable to use for extended periods.

It is also important to keep your tools clean and well-maintained. This will help ensure they last longer and perform better. Regularly sharpening blades and oiling hinges can help keep your tools in top condition.

Investing in the right tools can make gardening a more enjoyable experience. With the right tools, you can tackle any gardening task with confidence and ease. Happy gardening!

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