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10 Essential Tools to Use for Gardening: Complete Guide

Reginald is a retired educator with a passion for gardening. For the past 30 years, he has proven techniques and loves sharing with others.

Gardening for the homeowner is a great hobby for young and old alike. It is without question that gardening does not happen without tools. But what tools do you need? This article is about the 10 Essential Tools To Use For Gardening: Complete Guide.

In this guide, I will outline the 10 essential tools you will use just about every day during the growing season. They are designed to use for your vegetable garden as well as your flowers and shrub projects.

Let's get started!

1. Spade or Shovel?

Your number one tool for garden work should be a good spade and or shovel. Both would be good to have but start with the spade. A spade has a rounded point. This tool is for digging in the vegetable garden or transplanting a shrub or tree. There are many types made of different materials. Look for a spade with at least an 8-inch wide blade. Either a heavy-duty wooden handle or a lighter-weight metal handle.

Great quote for the gardener!

It is better to have and not need than to need and not have.


2. Rakes

There are two types of rakes:

  • Leaf Rake
  • Garden Rake

The leaf rake is for cleaning up large or small areas on your property. This would include leaves, small branches, and other debris. Most leaf rakes are made of heavy-duty plastic. This type of rake comes in various sizes. Look for a rake that has 12 - 15 tines for small jobs and 22 tines for larger yard jobs.

The garden rake serves to get into the dirt. Typical garden rakes will have 12 - 15 tines made of heavy-duty steel. This tool is used for spreading mulch, soil, compost, etc. The handles are either wood or metal. Some of these come with adjustable handles.

3. Garden Gloves

One of the most important tools while gardening is a good pair of garden gloves. So many people cut themselves on rocks and glass when digging in the soil. Pruning those rose bushes can certainly hurt your hands if not protected.

Garden gloves come in a variety of materials - cotton, nylon, bamboo, rubber, and leather. These are all designed for gardening. You will need to try out a few to see which is more comfortable.


4. Hand Tool Sets

I don't leave my house without my garden toolset. Working in your vegetable garden you will want to have these small tools close by. Small hand tools are essential as they get the small jobs done. They allow you to get ‘down and dirty' in your garden. Loosening garden bed soil, weeding, and small pruning jobs. Many companies will sell these in sets.

The list of hand tools is:

  • Hand Pruner
  • Trowel
  • Hand Rake
  • Garden Fork
  • Small Saw

I bought my garden tool set some years ago and use it regularly. Each tool has a specific use and helps me get the job done. Everything is covered in the set in

5. Yard Cart or Wheelbarrow?

If there was an essential tool to make your jobs easier in the yard and garden a good cart is it. I highly recommend that you invest in a garden dump cart instead of the traditional "wheel barrel". The main reason for this is how easy it is to use. It's all about the wheels or tires.

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A traditional wheel barrel comes with one wheel and is very difficult to maneuver with any amount of weight in it. A garden cart on the other hand will have two or four tires that eliminate this awkwardness. Another benefit of a yard cart is that it can carry more material.

Heavy-duty Wheelbarrows are good for mixing cement, and soil, and lugging heavy loads but are difficult to manage in small places causing unexpected spills. This results in more work for you in the long run.

I use this Gorilla Cart in my garden almost every day. It saves from possible spills using a wheelbarrow. The 600 lb capacity allows me to mix soil, move, and d

6. The Garden Hose

Unless you are figuring on watering your vegetable garden, shrubs, lawn, and car with a glass of water you will need a garden hose. Many people just go out and pick up the least expensive hose and call it a day. let's look at why this is an essential tool and what to look for. Hoses come in varying lengths but I prefer not to have any hose more than 50 feet long. Depending on the size of your house and the areas that you need to water will dictate how many hoses you will need.


  • Rubber - more flexible and heaviest
  • Polyurethane - lighter, more kink resistant
  • Vinyl - is the cheapest and will kink up all the time.
  • Latex Fabric - expandable, lightweight, and kink resistant.


Fittings on a garden hose should always be made of metal. Not plastic! Brass, nickel-plated, or stainless steel are what to look for.

Kinking Hose

To reduce the possible hose-kinking problem invest in a portable hose reel to wind the hose onto. You will save yourself tons of time and frustration.

This garden hose is my favorite because of its durability and length. It doesn't kink up and has brass fittings.

7. Loppers

Loppers are for pruning twigs and small branches around your house. Your property most likely will have bushes and trees that will need shaping. If you have never used this tool it will become one of your favorites. Think of them as long-handled pruning shears. The length of the handles is usually between 12 and 36 inches.

Look for a lopper design with a gear or lever system (ratchet jaw). This allows for increased force to the blades and easier to use. The blade should be able to cut up to a 2” branch.

I use these pruning tools to trim back branches around my property each and every year. They are durable and get the job done.

8. Soil Meter

Next to the shovel, a soil meter is indispensable. Gardeners work in the soil and must be aware of the conditions all the time. A soil meter is a tool that will tell you if the soil has the correct pH level. High levels of acid soil or alkaline allow the gardener to adjust the soil to the proper pH levels.

The best soil meter for the homeowner is called a 3-in-1 meter. This type will test the pH level of the soil. The next test is to indicate if your plants are getting enough water. The third thing it will test for is the proper light for your plants. This is fantastic for the vegetable garden. A soil meter is not only good for the garden it serves well for your indoor plants.

I use this soil tester each and every year. It helps me determine what amendments I need to add to the soil to keep the pH level proper. I also use it on my ind

9. Garden Hoe

A hoe is an ancient and versatile tool used to work the soil, extract weeds, remove soil, and pick root crops. Working the soil entails piling soil around the base of plants (hilling), and digging shallow trenches for planting seeds or bulbs. Weeding with a hoe includes agitating the surface of the soil cutting foliage from roots, and clearing the soil of old roots and crop residues.

The garden hoe is one of the 10 Essential Tools To Use For Gardening because it helps make certain tasks easy. Below is another product that I use in my garden on a regular basis. I like it for its versatility and adjustability.


10. Garden Fork

A garden fork is one of the 10 Essential Tools To Use For Gardening because of its important uses. It is used for loosening, lifting, and turning over soil in gardening. This is a heavy-duty tool that will help in removing unwanted roots. Don't confuse the garden fork with the pitchfork. This tool has four heavy-duty steel tines built onto a strong wooden handle.

In Closing

Over the years I have collected quite a few garden tools. They all have a purpose in helping me make my gardening easier. The 10 Essential Tools To Use For Gardening: Complete Guide provides you with what you need to have to begin your new hobby. Start with these 10 tools and as you learn new techniques you will add to the collection.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Reginald Thomas

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