Essential Gardening Tools for Beginner Gardeners

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If you’re getting into gardening, you’ve probably noticed there’s a plethora of tools and toys available.

In this article I’m going to take you through the tools that are essential and a must-have for any beginner, including for more advanced gardeners. 

In truth, you don’t need much to get started gardening, but this will change depending on your needs.

First, assess what you hope to achieve from your garden, as well as what you intend to grow. Growing plants outdoors and houseplants indoors may need different tools.

You might find that you can get away with spending very little as you begin your gardening journey.


These are items that you cannot garden without. Whatever your garden size or content, these items are worth investing in.


You might overlook this basic essential, but you’ll thank me for including them on this list. They will

  • Protect your hands from spiky plants when pruning and pulling up weeds.
  • Prevent blisters when digging.
  • Keep your hands from drying out when handling soil.

I like these from Amazon, but you can just as easily use regular rubber gloves, although these aren’t as hard or thick. They will need to be replaced regularly.

Pruning Shears

These handheld garden shears will be used more than you think. Trimming and pruning plants is a never ending task.

Snipping cuttings into small pieces will aid decomposition when adding it to compost piles. You can get them for varying prices, but it is worth investing in a hard-wearing pair online.

Hand trowel

Hand trowels are great for pots, weeding or planting out seedlings. If you have a larger yard, you will still need a hand garden trowel for many jobs.

It should come with a handle, so you won’t drop it if you accidentally knock it over. It also comes in different sizes, which makes it easier to choose one that suits your needs

This is what I use and was purchased online

Watering Can

Plants need water and a good way to distribute water is to use a watering can. This is essential if you are growing in a greenhouse or in pots, but you will still need to occasionally water your plants that grow in the ground.

Watering cans can also be used to dilute liquid fertilizers with water. It’s best to get one with a rose attachment so the water sprinkles on rather than pour.

While it is tempting to get one as big as possible to reduce the number of trips to the tap for refills, keep in mind that water is heavy! 

Get an easy-to-use, good-looking watering can like this one online.


The spade is the workhorse of your garden tool kit and will do all the heavy work. Getting a decent spade will lighten your workload to no end, so this is not the item to cheap out on! 

Spade work includes digging in compost, digging up unwanted plants, and turning your compost heap. You want one with a sharp blade, a comfortable handle, and one that is not too heavy.

You’ll also want to take into account your height. If you are tall, a short handle will make for back-breaking work.

You can purchase a spade online (this one is particularly good), but you may want to get one from a store, so you can try it before you buy. At least get one in your hands in the store for height and then purchase it online.

Spade vs Shovel – If you’re wondering if a shovel is the same as a spade, no it is not. A spade is for digging into earth, and has a flat, square (or rectangular) blade.

A shovel is for moving loose matter, has curved sides and a pointed or curved blade. You can get a shovel, but they are not as good at digging into compacted earth as spades are.

Garden Fork

A garden fork is used for breaking up soil to make it more manageable, as well as digging up weeds.

If you have a compost pile, you can also use the fork to turn your compost, as it will help mix up the organic matter. A fork is also the best way to lift root vegetables.

This is a good one you can get online and the one I use.

Leaf Rake

Leaf rakes can be used to break up the topsoil before planting seeds, and for raking up fallen leaves in the fall.

If you don’t have any trees in your yard and just plan to plant in pots, then this probably isn’t an essential tool for you.

You can get different rakes for gathering leaves or raking soil, but this one is a good all-rounder.


If you’re already into gardening, or you just want to get a bit more serious about it, these tools will help you advance as a gardener.

Hand Fork

Like a hand trowel, the hand fork is for more specific work, like getting rid of weeds or breaking up small amounts of soil.

You can buy these as a set with a hand trowel, but you’re better off getting the perfect hand trowel for you as you will definitely use that more often.

Hand forks come into their own if you have raised beds or garden borders.

This is hand fork is what I use and can be found online

Garden Hose and Spray Nozzle

Using a watering can on a large garden can get tiresome! You will still need the can to occasionally water in liquid fertilizers, but for day-to-day watering, a gardening hose is a great addition to your garden.

Water hoses and nozzle sprays allow you to direct the flow of water where needed, which makes them ideal for watering around seedlings, applying mulch, and other tasks. They are also useful when working outside because you won’t have to bend over every time you water.

I recommend using a spray nozzle rather than a regular watering can. The spray nozzle allows you to control how much water goes out each time you press down on the trigger. This means less wasted water and less splashing.

The best type is one like this with a spray nozzle.


The hoe is perfect for getting rid of weeds in the topsoil without disturbing the roots of your established plants or vegetables.

Hoes with short handles are available, but I prefer one with a long handle, so you can hoe standing up.

It’s important to choose a sturdy hoe; otherwise, you’ll end up spending hours bending over instead of doing something productive.

There are many types of hoes available, including ones made from metal, wood, plastic, rubber, etc., but they all do basically the same thing: remove unwanted vegetation.

Rain Collection Barrel

Rainwater is better for your plants than tap water, because there aren’t any minerals.  By collecting and storing rain water, you can still water your garden with rainwater during dry spells.

A barrel works well for this purpose, especially if you live somewhere with lots of rainfall. It doesn’t matter whether you store the collected rainwater inside or outside the house. Either way, you should keep it away from sunlight to prevent evaporation.

You can get hard sided barrels, but I like this one as it’s collapsible and portable. 


Wheelbarrows are essential for transporting large amounts of compost from your compost pile to your vegetable patch. It’s also really useful for large gardens.

When choosing a wheelbarrow, make sure it has four wheels and a wide base. A narrow base may cause problems while pushing heavy loads.

While there are cheaper ones on the market, this one is good if you have the space. 

Telescopic Garden Shears

While pruning shears are essential, if you have trees, large bushes, or hedges, then large shears will come in very handy.

Telescopic garden shears are designed specifically for cutting through thick branches and shrubs. These tools are usually longer than standard shears for the leverage, making them easier to use.

They’re also more durable since they don’t flex as easily. If you want to cut smaller twigs, try using an ordinary pair of gardening shears.

I love these telescoping ones online as they are so versatile. Large shears will also come in handy for cutting up large amounts of garden waste.  

Bow Saw

If you have trees then you’ll need a bow saw. They are great for pruning larger branches, as well as taking down small trees and suckers.

This one with a pointed nose is perfect for getting in between branches.


This section is dedicated to tools that are by no means essential, but are still useful if you have the money and the space!

Lawn Mower

While many would argue that this is an essential item, rather than a luxury, I think you can live without it.

Having a wild lawn is undoubtedly better for the ecosystem, and there are plenty of no-mow options if you want a tidy-looking yard. Check out chamomile or moss lawns for inspiration.

However, if you do want grass that’s kept short and neat, then this lawn mower is an electric cordless option that’s good.

You can also check out the best robot lawn mower for hands-free lawn care.

Garden Stool

If you’re doing a lot of kneeling in your garden, then a gardening stool certainly comes in handy. You’ll be able to work comfortably when sitting at ground level. It’s important to choose something sturdy and comfortable. 

As well as easing pressure on your knees, this one has pockets to keep your tools neat and tidy.


Composting is an essential part of gardening, in my opinion. But a composter is definitely a luxury when there are cheaper (or even free) options available to you.

There are many types of composters and what you choose depends on your situation. 

This compost tumbler can be found online and makes composting quick and easy.

Garden Shredder

A garden shredder is a great accompanying tool to a composter, as shredding garden material will help speed up the rotting process.

You can use shredders alongside all types of composters, but they are especially useful for open-air types.

You can get shredders like this one for green materials, or wood chippers like this one online for brown materials.

If you’re going for one, then a wood chipper will probably be more useful, as green materials break down pretty quickly anyway.

Electric Hedge Trimmer

Electric hedge trimmers are very convenient, because you don’t have to bend over while trimming hedges. 

It’s worth noting though that not every type of hedge requires a different kind of hedge trimmer. For example, some people prefer using hand clippers instead of an electric hedge trimmer.

You won’t need a hedge trimmer unless you have a hedge to keep trim and tidy. If you do need one I recommend this cordless trimmer that’s popular online.

Gardening Tools Final Thoughts

There really are so many gardening tools available, I feel I must have missed some off this list. If you are gardening, and you come across a problem, you can bet that there will be a tool to fix it!

I haven’t included the more obvious things, like plant pots or seed trays, as I feel that you can find ways around it if you’re caught short. For example, yogurt pots make great temporary plant pots, and egg cartons are perfect seed trays.

One other tool that isn’t often talked about, but growing in popularity are Plant Identification Apps. Use them to take pictures of plants and it can tell you what type of plant they are, even offering care and grow guides too.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading through this list, and perhaps it’s given you a clearer idea of what you will need to become a proficient gardener.

Don’t let the expense put you off though, as cheap gardening items are available, and you can always start with second-hand equipment.

All you really need to start gardening is some dirt and a positive mindset!  Happy gardening!

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Written by:

Henry Bravo
Henry Bravo, a University of California, Davis graduate with a BS in Plant Sciences, combines his expertise in horticulture with a passion for smart technology. He specializes in smart gardens, hydroponics, and robotic lawn care, aiming to enhance gardening practices for families. Henry's articles focus on integrating cutting-edge technology to make gardening more efficient and enjoyable, reflecting his commitment to merging natural greenery with innovative solutions.

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