When planning on starting a garden there are a few essentials you need to stock up on to help you get started. To determine the best garden tools you need for the job you will need to keep a few things in mind. We’ll cover what specific tools are necessary for your gardening style.

Walk down the gardening aisles of any home improvement or mass retailer and you’re sure to find a large selection of various tools and supplies. You may be ready to go all in to get your garden off to the best start, but let’s cover the basics first. There are a few basic tools every gardener should have. These are the tools that will help you get started and for general maintenance. Then there are tools which are meant for very specific tasks.

Basic Gardening Tools

Your basic tools are going to be the garden tools you need when you begin planting and general maintenance.

Trowel
A hand trowel, sometimes referred to as a planter, is a must have for any type of gardening. It resembles a small narrow shovel with a handle. This tool is handy for planting seeds as well as established flowers. For transplanting and digging through tough soil in the ground opt for a trowel with a stainless steel, narrow pointed head to cut through roots.

Garden Fork
This is a handheld garden tool used for turning up soil. Garden forks provide the best garden tools you need with dense soil because they’re more efficient than a trowel. These come in various designs. Slightly curved tines on a garden fork are ideal for moving mulch and turning compost piles. For compacted soil or clay soil a fork with straight tines would be more suitable for digging.

Watering Can
Watering is essential to the life of your plants. If you have just a few small houseplants you can probably get away with using a cup or pitcher. For larger or numerous plants, however, a watering can will provide a convenient way of transporting water. It can also be used for mixing and delivering plant feed to your plants and flowers.

watering can

I personally like to use a smaller inexpensive water can with a narrow spout to water my hanging plants because it’s easier to handle. I have a larger can for the rest of my plants which holds up to 2 gallons of water. It has a flower head providing a gentle flow and covers a wider area at a time. This can be removed to provide a direct stream of water when preferred or for cleaning off concrete.

Kneeler
From planting flowers to pulling out weeds you want to be prepared for spending a considerable amount of time kneeling. A kneeler or kneeling pad is usually made of a soft, durable foam. This will make gardening much more comfortable and save your knees. It can also keep your pants clean or knees clean and dry if the soil is wet or muddy. Look for types made with a water-resistant coating for longer durability.

Gloves
If you have sensitive hands or simply prefer not getting dirt under your nails gardening gloves are a must-have. A pair of water resistant gloves will help protect hands from chemicals, fertilizer, or pesticides while handling. These can also prevent blisters forming. A good pair of gloves with grip will also provide an easier grasp for transplanting plants with prickly stems or thorns.

Basic Garden Tools You Need for Flower Beds

For flower beds and landscaping projects a few additional gardening tools will be in order. There is more maintenance involved with properly caring for flower beds. Here are some of the best gardening tools to make flowerbed gardening go smoother.

Gardening Hoe
This is another useful tool in flower beds for cultivating the soil to prep it for gardening. It consists of a long handle and a blade with straight or a curved open-square design. The shape of the blade indicates its intended use. A flat or straight garden hoe is suitable for fruit and vegetable gardens to turn soil into rows. A weeding hoe will have a curved head beneficial in chopping down top growth to eradicate weeds.

Angled Shovel
For large landscaping projects or planting rows of vegetables an angled shovel will allow you to dig bigger holes. The triangular shaped head on these shovels is much more efficient to dig holes than a hand trowel alone. For more precise cuts use a shovel with a squared-off blade.

Wheelbarrow
Having a wheelbarrow can be a real time-saver for large landscapes. A wheelbarrow can be used for moving soil as well as hauling bags of mulch or compost to where you need it. Plastic wheelbarrows are an affordable option if you’re on a modest budget. For heavy-duty jobs a metal wheelbarrow offers a better value.

Handheld Weeder
A very common culprit for gardeners are weeds. They are an unsightly nuisance and can rob your plants of valuable nutrients from the soil. A handheld weeder would be the best garden tool you need to rid your flowerbed of weeds without harsh chemicals.

Garden Hose
A garden hose will provide a more convenient source for watering a sizable flower bed than a watering can. These range in length so consider the distance of your flower bed from your nearest water source to ensure it will reach. Use an attachment such as an adjustable nozzle or watering wand. These provide a customizable flow and spray range for your flower bed. A watering wand provides an extended reach for hard to reach plants and delivers a light rain shower flow.

Gardening Tools for Specific Types of Plants

Certain types of plants will require special care to support growth and regular maintaining. Here are some additional garden tools you need with specific plants in mind.

pruning shears

Pruning Shears
Plants producing bushy foliage such as rose bushes and shrubs can become unruly if not well kept. Regular trimming with the right tools will keep them under control. Pruning shears, also called hand pruners, are handheld tools used to cut and trim stems of plants. These look similar to scissors and come in two common styles:

The anvil-style pruners are designed with a sharp blade that meets a flat anvil, typically made of hard rubber or steel. These are most useful in cutting dead wood or plants that are dried out. They have a crushing motion that can cause damage or injury to fresh green stems.

Bypass pruners are more suitable for delicate rose bushes and green stems. These are designed with a sharp blade and a sharp-edged surface. These provide a clean cut more like scissors.

Loppers
Loppers are more suitable than pruners for really thick shrubs, hedges, or bushes that are hard to reach. These are long-handled trimmers very similar to pruning shears. They are designed to give you better leverage when cutting through thick branches that are at least an inch in diameter or more. These also come in anvil and bypass types.

Garden Rake 
If you are planning a vegetable garden you should look into a gardening rake. These are useful for preparing and cultivating soil to remove weeds and debris efficiently. A standard leaf rake can get the job done for large areas and is useful for maintaining. A garden rake, however, is the best garden tool you need for this job because of its design. The shorter, uniform-sized tines will remove weeds quickly and easier to maneuver around plants. It will also result in a nice level surface.

Whatever your plans or gardening style, having the right garden tools you need for the job will make it much easier. Taking extra care to properly clean and store your gardening tools will also help them last. Happy planting!