Garden Advice

The Beginner’s Guide to Essential Gardening Tools

So, you’ve decided to get into gardening. You’ve got your seeds or plants, you’ve cleared the space, slipped on your gardening boots and are ready to pull your sleeves up and get to work. There is just one problem – you haven’t got the foggiest what garden tools you need and what each instrument does!

Worry not! We here, at Fantastic Services, have compiled a list of basic gardening tools. Ready to stock up your garden shed and get down to business?

Table of Contents:

If this sounds like you:

  • You’re a gardening novice;
  • You’re looking for a list of garden tools you will need;
  • You want to know what different gardening tools do,

Then keep reading, because this post is just for you!

Essential gardening tools list

Let’s get right into it – here are the basic gardening tools you will need to be off to a successful start!


Gloves are one of the most important pieces of protective gardening equipment. After all, getting dirt, splinters and thorns all over your hands doesn’t sound fun now, does it? A good pair of gardening gloves can last you for a long time and will keep your hands safe.

The perfect gardening gloves should be durable, but not too bulky, and they have to allow free movement and comfort while working. They should fit your hand well, as you could get injured if your glove slips off. Not to mention that it’s annoying, too.

A water-resistant, but breathable fabric can make your gardening gloves that much more comfortable. Also, longer cuffs make it easier to protect your forearms and wrists.

So, go out there and find the pair that fits you like Cinderella’s glass slipper!

Garden hose and watering can

It goes without saying, your plants need water to survive. That’s where the watering can and garden hose become your best friends from the basic gardening tools list.

When it comes to the garden hose, try and measure the length you will need before purchasing one. You wouldn’t want to spend your money on a new hose only to find that it doesn’t reach the furthest parts of your garden, or that it’s so long that you keep tripping over it.

An adjustable nozzle will help you control the water pressure and reach, allowing you to create a gentle rainfall effect when watering your delicate plants.

As for materials – vinyl hoses are cheaper and lighter, but they aren’t nearly as durable as their rubber brethren.

A good quality watering can will last you quite a while. As with the hoses, plastic cans are lighter and cheaper, but far less durable than metal ones. Just keep in mind that if you opt for a metal can, it will need to be galvanised in order to prevent rusting.

If you’re a houseplant enthusiast, as well as an outdoor gardener, you might need two watering cans. One with a sprinkler head will be perfect for your outdoor plants, while a smaller can with a thin, long neck will help you water your indoor houseplants.

Hand trowel and fork

A garden trowel and a hand fork are some of the essential gardening tools for beginners. They are used for planting and transplanting flowers and herbs, planting containers, and getting rid of those pesky weeds overtaking your garden. A hand fork’s job is more focused towards transplanting seeds, light weeding and aerating, while trowels are generally used for moving soil and your grown plant babies, as well as light digging.

When you go out searching for the perfect set of hand tools, look for a handle that fits comfortably in your hand. Also, stainless steel tools will last longer than other, cheaper kinds.

When choosing your trusty hand trowel, keep in mind that different blade types are used for different things. For example, a wide blade will be perfect for moving larger quantities of soil, while a long, narrow blade will help with weeding and breaking up rocky soil. Trowels with a pointed blade, on the other hand, are great for digging precise holes and cutting through tough soil.

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Digging spade

When talking about basic gardening tools, it’s impossible not to mention the digging spade. This square shovel is the perfect tool for digging up your garden, edging, lifting sod, and moving large amounts of soil. While it is available as both long and short-handled, the latter is more common. Digging spades are easier to use in small spaces than a regular shovel, but are great for large areas too, especially when it comes to breaking up heavy soils.

As with most other tools, stainless steel heads are the sturdiest and less likely to betray you in your time of need.

Garden fork

Next up on our essential gardening tools list, the garden fork! This handy little piece of equipment is used for turning soil, breaking it up, aerating, and heavy weeding. It is better suited for dense soil than a spade and can help you out where your digging companion struggles.

Slightly curved tines are great for scooping mulch and turning compost. Straight forks, on the other hand, are better for digging up compacted, clay, or rocky soil.

When shopping for a garden fork, look for one with square tines, as they are a lot stronger than flat ones, which can bend easily. Also, it’s best to get a fork with a long handle, as you’ll be able to use your weight to help you dig.


A garden rake is easy to forget about, but is one of the basic gardening tools every enthusiast should keep in their shed. It’s very useful for clearing the ground of fallen leaves and grass clippings, as well as levelling and breaking down the soil when sowing seeds.

If you decide that it’s time for a new rake, think about what you’ll be using it for, as there are several types. Adjustable rakes can help you sweep up larger amounts of debris, or get into narrow spaces. A bow rake, however, is great for levelling and breaking up the soil.

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Garden hoe

Ah yes, the garden hoe. An irreplaceable part of every horticulturist’s essential gardening tools repertoire. It comes in handy when preparing garden and flower beds and annihilating weeds.

Flat, wide, sturdier hoes are great for vegetable gardens, while thinner hoes are suitable for flowers and perennial gardens that need a gentler touch.

When choosing the perfect garden hoe, look for a long, comfortable handle. Sharp blades are also a plus, as they are easier to use. If you’re looking for a weeding hoe, keep an eye out for one with a square head. If you need a tool to help you turn the soil in rows, a flat hoe is your best bet.

Pruning shears

And, of course, no essential gardening tools list will be complete without mentioning garden shears, also known as secateurs. Are your plants and shrubs planning a total invasion of your garden, joining forces and completely taking over? Fear not! Grab your pruning shears and go to town on the ambitious greenery. Just be careful and don’t go too crazy, or you may end up with a barren garden.

There are two main types of secateurs. Anvil pruners cut with a sharp blade meeting a flat surface, similar to a knife and cutting board. They are best for dead wood, as they can be too rough for fresh, green stems. Bypass shears function like scissors and are gentle, making them perfect for live plants and green wood. Just make sure to sharpen them regularly to avoid causing any damage to your plant babies.

Look for garden shears that fit easily in the palm of your hand to ensure more comfort while working and prevent accidents, caused by slipping or dropping your tool.

If you’re just starting out at gardening, you may like some of our other articles. like herb gardening for beginners and vegetable gardening for beginners. Both are comprehensive guides that should get you started on the right track! 

Need a hand with your gardening project?

Are you a beginner gardener? Are you taking on an ambitious garden project? Or maybe you simply don’t have the time to maintain your greenery. Don’t worry! The expert gardeners at Fantastic Services are ready to help! We work with expertly trained, fully insured professionals, with years of experience under their belts.

They are sure to leave your garden looking better than it ever has before! So, what are you waiting for? Simply use our easy online booking form and take the step towards your own personal paradise, right in your backyard!

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  • Don’t opt for cheap tools, as they are far less durable and more likely to break or cause damage to your garden.
  • The essential gardening tools you need should help you with digging, planting, weeding and pruning, as well as protecting your hands.
  • Stainless steel is one of the sturdiest materials.
  • Look for garden tools with handles that fit comfortably in your hands.
  • Pay attention to what you need the tool for, as some instruments come in a variety of options with different purposes.

Having the right garden tools is great, but they need some occasional tender loving care, too. The best time to clean, sharpen, and repair your tools is during winter when you won’t be using them as much.

Want to know more about different garden tasks and when you should do them? Take a look at our monthly gardening calendar!


Was this article useful to you? Do you have any more questions about handy garden tools? Let us know in the comments!

Image source: Polly Ivanova Illustration

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