There are so many garden tools, gadgets, and accessories out there that it can be overwhelming to choose which is best for your outdoor projects. But there are certain tools almost everyone uses regularly in the lawn and garden. So let's get down to the essentials! Here's our top ten list of must-have garden tools.
The soil knife is one of our most treasured gardening tools. It's so versatile and easily replaces several tools in the garden shed. Use it to plant bulbs, flowers, vegetables and herbs; divide plants, dig out weeds, remove rocks, cut through roots, clean out cracks, cut twine and ties, open bags, and so much more. The most common feedback we hear about the soil knife is, "Where have you been all my life?!"
A spade and shovel are both useful tools to own, however, if we had to choose between the two, we would go with a spade. A spade gives you nice, straight, and clean edges. It's also great for planting, transplanting, and slicing through tough roots. Some gardeners prefer a shovel for digging holes and scooping soil. Whichever you choose, make sure it has a comfortable, ergonomic design with a strong handle and a sharp cutting edge.
If you're weeding an entire garden, removing unwanted roots, moving around a lot of soil, or digging trenches, a garden hoe is your best friend. A good garden hoe cuts through tough soil and difficult obstacles with ease. Whether you're digging, chopping, planting, cultivating, or weeding your garden or flower bed, you want a garden hoe at your side!
Call them what you like — pruning shears, hand pruners, secateurs — these are essential to have for pruning shrubs, roses, vegetables, fruit trees, and more. For all-around use, we prefer bypass pruners which are designed for cutting live wood and deliver smooth, clean cuts. Pruning can be very repetitive so choose pruning shears that fit your hands comfortably. Also be sure to keep the blade sharp. A high-quality pruning shear should maintain a sharp edge longer.
Plants need water! There are several options when it comes to watering your plants, but we feel that a hose is most useful. You can't always count on the rain, and depending on the size of your garden or the number of plants you need to water, a watering can might not be practical. Choose a hose length that easily reaches your flower beds and vegetable gardens.
A hose nozzle or watering wand is also handy for customizing the spray pattern and giving you extra reach. Watering cans are perfect if you only have a small space to water, or if you don't have easy access to an outdoor spigot. If you're looking for more low-maintenance solutions, try a drip irrigation system, soaker hoses, or watering bags.
The bane of all gardeners — pesky weeds! A trusty weeding tool is essential for controlling weeds before they take over your yard and garden. The soil knife is excellent for digging up weeds, but we also really love the cape cod weeder. It's extremely effective at cutting weeds below the surface. If back pain or mobility is an issue, there's also long-handled weeders that eliminate bending and kneeling.
A wheelbarrow or garden cart helps you accomplish a lot with minimal trips and easily moves material that is too heavy to carry across the yard. Use it to transport compost, mulch, soil, gravel, plants, tools, garden waste, and so much more. A good barrow should be strong and sturdy, while also being well-balanced so you can easily wheel a full load without it tipping.
If lifting heavy material into a wheelbarrow is not your cup of tea, you might be more interested in the GardenGlide. This handy tote looks like a sled but is made stronger to hold up to pulling heavy weight across rough surfaces. With its low design, it's easy to roll on heavy objects for transport, while the raised back prevents materials from falling off.
There are several types of rakes that serve different purposes. Choose the best rake for the task at hand. You want a leaf rake for cleaning up fallen leaves, grass clippings, and trimmings. A shrub rake gets into tight spaces where a larger rake might not fit. A garden or landscape rake typically has metal tines that are good for leveling soil or mulch.
Hedge trimmers and shears are essential for maintaining a picture-perfect landscape. Trim and shape your shrubs, bushes, and hedges to achieve a beautiful presentation and keep your plants healthy. Use lawn shears to clean up the edges of your lawn and get to those hard-to-reach areas of your landscape.
A pruning saw is ideal for those branches that are too big for pruning shears or loppers. Whether you are cutting branches or removing roots, a pruning saw is up for the challenge. This saw is also handy to have with you when camping or hiking. A long-reach pruning saw helps you safely get to those higher branches without having to climb a ladder.
Last but not least, when working outside you definitely want a durable pair of gardening gloves. Gloves help prevent scratches from thorns and branches, and also protect your hands from blisters. A heavy-duty pair is good for pruning, digging, moving material, and other demanding tasks. A lightweight pair is usually coated with nitrile, latex, or rubber to keep your hands dry and give you more gripping power, while also allowing you to do more delicate tasks like picking up seeds or transplanting your plants.
Published April 2018
Last Updated April 2019