A gardener’s tools are important. You’ll see that the right, high-quality gardening gear makes all the difference to your garden, and choosing the best tools for your garden type is vital. But, it can be hard to know the right tools to invest your money in if you’re a beginner gardener. What if there was a definitive list of garden tools that you could use to find the right pieces of equipment for your garden? Well, here it is! Whether you’ve been a gardener for five minutes or five years, our essential garden tools list will help ensure that you stock your shed with all the right tools you’ll need to use all year round.
Average Price: £2 – £10
Gardening gloves are one of the most crucial equipment pieces on our garden tools list due to the protection they provide. While you’re working in the garden, you may expose your hands to a range of potentially harmful things, including thorns and allergens. Additionally, many diseases can develop in the garden, such as Legionnaires disease, which you can catch from stagnant water, and Weil’s disease and salmonella, which you may expose yourself to through compost heaps[i]. So, when dealing with these potentially dangerous substances, you’ll need a good pair of gardening gloves to protect yourself.
Here’s what you should consider when looking for a good pair of gardening gloves:
- The Right Material – You’ll want gardening gloves made from a durable material without being bulky, especially if you will be working with seeds and transplanting seedlings.
- The Right Fit – Poorly fitting gardening gloves can lead to blisters or severe accidents due to them slipping off, so make sure your gloves fit you properly.
- Water Resistant Fabric – You should find gloves made from a water-resistant fabric that is also breathable, allowing you to keep your hands cool while you work.
- Long Cuffs – Gardening gloves with longer cuffs help protect your wrists and forearms and prevent soil from slipping in.
Hand Pruning Shears
Average Price: £5 – £10
Secateurs, or pruning shears, are necessary for keeping your garden in check. Pruning and tidying up your plants should be a regular chore on your list, and a pair of sturdy hand pruning shears will make this job a quicker and easier one. There are two types of secateurs you can invest in. Anvil pruning shears use a sharp blade against a flat surface to cut through bushes and plants, like a knife against a chopping board. Similarly, pruners cut with a sharp blade slipping past a flat surface with a sharp edge, like scissors. Additionally, there are ratchet pruners, which are a form of anvil shears.
The best pruners should fit just right in the palm of your hand. Plus, you should sharpen your pruners regularly for a cleaner cut and less injury to plants. The best way to do this is with a diamond file after cleaning your pruning shears.
Average Price: £5 – £10
A small garden fork is handy when planting in your garden since it will make it easy for you to break up compacted soil. Although a spade is essential for digging and turning soil, a hand-held fork will make it easier for you to break up dense ground quicker. There are two main styles of tines you can find on garden forks, which are straight and square. Straight tines are best for digging since they can better break up compacted and rocky soil. However, square tines are much more robust, meaning they can bench when they come in contact with a root or rock.
Average Price: £5 – £10
A substantial garden trowel is one of the more versatile tools on our garden tools list. It comes in use for various outdoor jobs, including weeding, sowing seeds, planting and potting on. A hand trowel is one of the first gardening tools most gardeners purchase due to its versatility. Plus, because of how often you’ll find yourself using a hand trowel, you’ll want to invest in a tool strong enough to withstand multi-usage.
Some factors you should consider when looking to buy a hand trowel include:
- Choose The Right Blade – If you will be using your trowel to dig up and move soil, you’ll want one with a broad blade. On the other hand, if you plan to dig up weeds or work through rocky ground, you’ll need a long, narrow blade trowel.
- A Comfortable Handle – Like other gardening tools, your trowel needs to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand for optimum usage.
- The Right Material – Trowels with a head made from stainless steel at least will be more durable in the long run.
Average Price: £10 – £40
Although a hand trowel is essential for many gardening jobs, the larger spade is just as vital. A sturdy spade makes digging holes for several tasks, including planting up plants, edging and moving mounds of soil. Although high-quality spades can be expensive, they are undoubtedly worth the investment in the long term.
When buying a spade, you should look for:
- A Tread – You’ll want a spade with a tread on top of the blade to give your foot a more comfortable surface when it needs an extra push.
- The Right Handle – For a strong spade, look for a handle made from a durable material, such as ash hardwood. Additionally, you can choose between long and short handles. Although longer handles give more leverage, they are heavier.
- The Right Head – Stainless steel heads are best for spades since they are solid and rust-resistant.
Average Price: £10 – £30
A garden hoe is a perfect tool to help you deal with pesky weeds and neaten your flower beds or borders. There are four main garden hoe types, and the type you’ll require depends on your garden. Here are the types of garden hoe you can get:
- Dutch Hoe – The most common garden hoe is usually the easiest to use. A Dutch hoe has a sharp, wide blade that brushes just beneath the surface of the soil to cut weeds from their roots.
- Draw Hoe – As one of the more basic gardening hoe options, the draw hoe has a small rectangular paddle that you use in a chopping motion to sever weeds.
- Stirrup Hoe – Also known as a loop hoe, this tool is best for more stubborn weeds. You use it in a back-and-forth motion, during which the hoe pivots to cut the weeds.
- Heart-shaped Hoe – Best for breaking up compacted soil, the heart-shaped hoe is good if you want to make furrows and drills.
You’ll need a particular hoe depending on your garden type and the tasks you’ll have to carry out in it. Take a look at the different kinds of gardening hoes and their uses to choose the best for you.
Average Price: £10 – £50
When autumn rolls around, this is one of the essential garden tools you’ll be reaching for. A sturdy rake allows you to clean up fallen leaves and debris. Although there are various rakes available, a standard leaf rake is perfect if you’re just getting started with gardening. Plus, it may be worth your while investing in an adjustable rake since it can reach into narrower areas and help gather larger leaf piles.
You can get rakes with steel tines or plastic ones. Although steel tines are stronger, they can be rougher on delicate flower beds and lawns.
Average Price: £5 – £20
A watering can is certainly one of the most essential gardening tools – you need your flowers to grow, after all! There are two types of basic watering cans you can get, and these are plastic and metal. Fortunately, there are plenty of styles, colours and sizes that you can choose from for a personalised watering can.
Although metal watering cans are heavier than plastic ones, they will last longer, and you can galvanise them to make them rust-resistant. When choosing your watering can, make sure that the position of its handle and the size of the can allow you to carry it when it’s full. Many watering cans hold up to 10 litres, and one litre of water weighs just over a kilogram[ii], so make sure you can carry that weight.
Average Price: £10 – £50
Tree loppers are perfect for reaching up to prune and tidy those hard-to-reach plants, whether you’re working with trees in a fruit cage system or trimming topiary in your garden. Plus, tree loppers are stronger, allowing you to cut through any thicker branches. Like pruners, the two types of tree loppers are anvil and bypass.
To make the most of your tree loppers, you should determine what you’ll be cutting and how far you’ll need to reach. This way, you can get the appropriate length tree loppers, since longer handled ones can be too heavy. Like pruners, ensure you keep your lopper blades clean and sharp.
Storing Garden Tools
Once you’ve invested your money in the strong, sturdy tools on our garden tools list, you’ll want to keep them that way! Here are a few tips on storing gardening tools to make them last:
- Wash and dry your tools properly before putting them away
- Keep bladed tools sharp
- Protect metal tools with multi-purpose oil
- Keep wooden handles clean with a coat of walnut oil
- Create an organised storage solution
- Keep your stored tools close to your flower beds or polytunnel
Find out more about how to store gardening tools.
Your Garden Tools List
Hopefully, our garden tools list has given you a boost to get out into the garden! Of course, there are many other pieces of equipment you may find yourself needing in the future, however keeping these essential garden tools to hand will make your gardening jobs much easier. Happy gardening!
Have we missed anything from our essential garden tools list? Let us know other tools you think should be here.
Sean Barker is the MD of First Tunnels, and is enthusiastic about providing quality gardening supplies to gardeners across the UK