Garden Tools List

If you are a beginning gardener, make sure these are in your toolshed.

  • hand trowel
  • square blade garden spade
  • round point shovel
  • hedge shears
  • anvil blade hand pruner
  • loppers
  • hand saw
  • hoe
  • weeding tools

To learn more about gardening tools, more info here.

Gardening Tool List For Every Gardener

Which one should you buy?

The answer is different for each of us because a gardener is unique and each garden is different. Some of my priorities and advice will be different from yours.

Use this page for general suggestions and checklists.

And there are always new gizmos on the market that might become the new necessities! Listed here are some basic choices, something like a trowel is needed no matter how large or small a garden, but some tools become more necessary as you hone in on a particular interest.

Take bulb planting, for example. If you wish for just a few bulbs to line your walkway of a a few yards, a trowel will suit you just fine, but if you have a large area that you wish to naturalize with many clumps of bulbs, you may find a bulb planter just as necessary a tool for your needs.

Basically 3 Categories

  1. Those you cannot do without.
  2. Those which are specially efficient for certain jobs.
  3. Those which will increase convenience.

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Hand Trowel

What to begin with? A trowelthe best trowel; but not just any trowel. I want you to find the best you can afford. This is one tool not to skimp on, and if you shop garage sales or auctions it need not be expensive.

It should feel comfortable in the hand with the strongest shank, solidly connected to the handle or even one with it. A strong heavy steel is preferred.

The trowel is used for every garden endeavor from containers to borders to bulb planting; it can weed, dig, cultivate, divide plants, work in edging bricks, pry out small rocks. You name it, the sturdy garden trowel can do it.

If you should decide to economize on this tool, you will regret it. Several replacements that don’t work properly are not an economy. I have broken one or two and my boys- well, let’s just say when it comes to breaking tools, they manage a superior job.

My favorite was a West German (that dates me!) solid steel trooper. Unfortunately, it has disappeared and I do miss it -never found it’s equal. A good one will cost around ten to twenty dollars, and worth every penny.

Garden Spade

Next, the spadedigging spade: there are several types and I like having three kinds, but the most basic is the long handled,dig holesrounded digging spade. Some might like the same type with the D-handle. This is necessary for moving larger amounts of dirt and digging borders.

It can handle edging, dividing large perennials, moving plants, shrubs, grubbing out unwanted woody plants, and planting wanted ones. A straight bladed spade is a good edger, and the long bladed nursery spade is very useful.

The garden fork is the partner to the spade and has excellent results in everything but moving soil and edging.

Cutting Tools: Pruning Shears, Loppers, Saws, and Hedge Shears

There are no substitutes for the cutting tools, hedge shears and pruners.These are needed to trim bushes, overgrown perennials or dead stalks, deadhead flowers, trim roses, and remove small dead branches.

  • Loppers handle all large unwieldy branches from bushes and trees.
  • The pruning saw is for larger branches, I like the Japanese hand saw for something too large for loppers
  • A bow saw is useful for hand cutting very large branches.
  • Chainsaws: I leave the chainsaw work to guys, but they are needed for large trees.
keep your tools sharp

Necessary ToolsUseful ToolsHelpful Tools
Hand TrowelHoeLeaf Rake
SpadeGrass RakeWeeding Claw
Hedge ShearsWeeding ToolsEdgergarden edger
Wheel BarrowSpud barLeather Work Gloves
Round point shovelGarden Forkgarden forkKnee pads or kneeling pad
Hand PrunersPruning sawLoppers
Garden clogs or bootsGrass shears
Tools you need depend on the plants and jobs in your garden

Other Necessaries

  • garden cart and/or wheelbarrow
  • garden gloves
  • tool tote
  • knee pads or kneeling pad
  • work boots (or wellies), waterproof clogs
  • 5 gallon pail or bushel size bucket

I’ve learned the hard way that a little protection for knees when kneeling, leather gloves when working around thorns, and a cart are more of a necessity than I originally thought.

Especially for older gardeners, I find (now that I am a member of that tribe). But really, these types of protection prolong your gardening by helping to keep you free from injury.

garden cleanup is easy with a wheel barrow

My present wheelbarrow

Carts And Wheelbarrows

Actually, a wheel barrow is not absolutely necessary- just something to haul plants, soil amendments, tools, etc. from place to place in the yard. A child’s wagon will do.

However… After several trips to the tool shed you will determine the need level for the hauling apparatus yourself, (not to mention your back warning you to use it less and your brain more). We use ours hard, hauling loads of wood for the heater and plant pots in spring and fall, large bags of mulch or soil, leaves in the fall.

Even though a wheel barrow is not necessary, some sort of wheeled cart sure is handy for hauling tools around with you and garden cleanup, I have gone through several here (ok, my kids are hard on things …longer story than I want to go into right now – maybe I’ll write some stories in my garden blog.)

Rakes And Hoes

Most tools are subject to the job priority: Grass and vegetable gardening require the garden rake and hoe.  If you only have a few flower beds, you may not find the need for them at all.

Pruners, Loppers, Gloves

Roses and thorny bushes have me reaching for gloves and loppers. You may substitute tools at hand for garden chores, but some perform specific jobs better than the “make-do” choice.


A good example is my personal favorite of all the weeding tools, the adze. It is vastly superior to the trowel for tenacious weeds, even though hand trowels will get the job done. Better at cutting through stubborn roots, levering out rocks, and the many tasks that a general weeding will encounter.

Read my review of this Cape Cod weeder.

Nowadays, it is the Cape Cod Weeder that holds first place in my esteem, but the adze is still a workhorse. Hope this helps you to buy what you need for a happy gardening experience.

These carry-alls organize my tools – and after a tiring day of weeding it helps to just have all the hand tools in one place to bring back to the house.

Not something you have to have, but something you end up being grateful for if you do much gardening. Plus this is a way to keep things tidy, even if you have a small garden and “hauling things around” doesn’t hold so much importance.

trowel for plantingBooks to read and gardeners goodies, Garden Sundries aStore.

Stainless Steel Trowel


This is the tool every gardener needs.  Stainless steel is strong and needs less maintenance; it will feel less bulky than aluminum.

The Hori Hori

This Japanese hori hori garden tool is a weeding knife. The word “Hori” means “to dig”, and this garden knife can cut right through soil and roots. Useful for transplanting, too.

Buy Cheap Or Quality?

That is the 64 dollar question, isn’t it? For the most part it is best to buy the highest quality tools you can afford. while I think long handled shovels and rakes can be in the moderate range, pruners and the hand trowel should be strong and well made. Cheap gloves, Dandelion weeders, and leaf rakes are all things I think you can scrimp on if needed.

Don’t forget that you can scoop up great tools at tag sales, garage sales, anywhere gently used household goods are offered for sale.

Quicklist:  Garden Tools List

Considerations for the Beginning Gardener

Tips from Dan Vierra on how to use a tool right.

  • Hoe: Overall length of 50-70 inches. Keep legs slightly bent and allow your arms to pull in
  • Hand trowel: A curved handle with a thumb rest is easier to push without bending your wrist.
  • Pitchfork: Overall length 42-48 inches. A spade fork is preferred by many for its lighter weight and smaller size. Bend your knees and let your legs help out when digging.
  • Shovel: Overall length 54-60 inches. Keep the shovel close to your body and use your legs, with your back in a semi-upright position.
  • Rake: Overall length 60-66 inches. Bent handles are available in back-saver rakes. Keep the rake close to your body, and use your arms to pull in.
  • Hand shears: Look for a comfortable grip. Trim from a kneeling position if possible.
  • Wheelbarrow: Those with wheels positioned under the tray make lifting easier. Use your legs, keeping your back upright.
  • Edger: Overall length 52-56 inches. As you dig, alternate legs to push into the ground and keep your body upright to save your back.
  • Garden cart or wheel barrow
  • An organizer tote for tools
  • Organizing rack to hang (and find) all these new important tools

Try These?

water can


I like to have a large watering can for watering containers. For all my garden beds I use a hose with a long handled sprayer attachment, capable of different spray patterns and strengths. Soaker hoses are great for dry climates and water conservation. They stay in place and slowly soak the ground.


You will probably want to a way to make your own compost. Use the leaves you rake, either by themselves or mixed into other compost makings. A leaf rake is important for leaves and grass clippings, a garden rake is too heavy and hard to use for this, it is much better for raking small stones and clods of dirt from garden soil I like using an English style border fork. This is about the size of the square bladed spade and is useful for turning compost, and for dividing perennials or digging up plants with less damage to their root system.


There are many types of hoes and weeding tools. My favorite hoes are the shuffle hoe and the regular garden hoe. Wonder about the many types of hoes? The page that explains it all, How many hoes do you need? My favorite weeders are the adze and the cape cod weeders. I also appreciate the  dandelion weeder for grabbing long rooted weeds and prying them out. raking the leaves What to do with Fall Leaves

Keep It Clean

More Helpful Tips! Don’t forget to clean your tools before winter storage. says you can get rid of rust by wiping with kerosene and using steel wool to gently rub off the rust. You can coat them with WD-40 or mineral oil, and linseed oil.

Reviewed Tools

 Update to the Reviews:

The “Flexable” hoses proved to be short lived. I was very sorry to see how they ended up unusable after almost two to three uses (I had bought some additional ones after my initial purchase). This was a great disappointment.

The DeWit tools and the Fiskars snips have moved into “must have” category because they are so darn good. I can’t emphasize enough what a great buy they are.

More Garden Advice:

tote and garden hose

For Vegetable Gardeners

  • Shovel
  • Hoes
  • Grass Rake
  • Tiller
  • Hand Trowel
  • Large Garden Fork
  • Pruners
  • Garden Boots or Clogs

For Flower Gardeners

  • Bypass Pruners
  • Hand Trowel
  • Cape Cod Weeder
  • Border Shovel
  • Garden Gloves
  • Garden Tote
  • Garden cart or wheelbarrow
  • Loppers
  • Leaf Rake

For Suburban Yard


  • Loppers
  • Bypass pruners
  • Border Shovel
  • Edger
  • Hand Trowel
  • Dandelion Weeder or Cape Cod Weeder
  • Leaf Rake
  • Leaf shredder vacuum
  • Lawn mower

For Homesteaders


  • Loppers
  • Bypass pruners
  • Round Point Shovel
  • Tiller
  • Hand Trowel
  • Cape Cod Weeder
  • Compost Fork or Garden Fork
  • Large Cart or wheelbarrow
  • Leaf Rake
  • Garden gloves and boots