30 Basic gardening tools really help the beginners


Passing the time with Mother Nature is the best pleasure, and so Jenny Uglow said: “We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us”. It takes good care of our body and mind.

If you are going to start your garden for the first time, you need to know the basic gardening tools and their uses. This educative article let you know the common categories of garden tools such as digging tools, watering tools, cutting tools, planting tools, cultivating tools and miscellaneous tools.

Here I included some essential garden tools for the newbie.

basic gardening tools

1. Handbook

You must keep maintaining a handbook as a beginner gardener. Take a note for every single step you did or fail.

Take notes for climate condition, plants selection, place selection, paste control and diseases, soil type and nutrients, garden tools and other materials if required, watering system, budget and planning and every known and unknown challenges you face.

A number of seasons later this handbook will be the best guide for your garden, or you can even write a book from your practical experience.

Oh… Don’t forget to take some photos and videos for documentation.


2. Garden Fork

Garden Fork is a digging tool mainly used for loosening, lifting, transferring and turning over your garden soil and other materials. Different types of fork use in different purposes. You need to know first which tool best suits you.

  • Spading Fork is a multipurpose tool usually have four sturdy diamond shaped tines and used for digging, lifting and loosening soil and transferring loose materials.
  • Pitch Fork mainly used in the field for lifting, pitching or throwing loose materials, such as hay, straw or leaves. It has long handle and long, thick, widely separated pointed tines.
  • Stall manure fork has a long handle with a number of long, thin, separated tines. Essentially used for moving your barn manure.
  • Potato fork is the perfect tool for digging up your potatoes without any damage.
  • Silage fork or ensilage fork is kind of pitchfork. The basic uses are the same, but it has an extra number of tines than the pitchfork.
  • A broad fork is also called U-fork, used for breaking up densely packed soil. The best tool for manually till your small garden.
  • Hay fork is similar to pitchfork and of course, used for moving hay and a large amount of compost, mulch, brush and other materials.
  • Hand forks are small in size with sharp tines. This is a great garden tool to work in tight places like between plantings also used for weeding and mixing additives into the soil.


3. Garden Rake

Rake is a cultivating garden tool. Also known as ancient Chinese agricultural tool. Usually used for levelling soil, mulching or clearing the ground leaves. There are several types of rakes, and each one has different uses. Here included the most common types:

  • Leaf Rake is used for sweeping leaves or pine straw from your lawn or garden. It can be made from flexible metal, plastic or bamboo tines or coconut palms with a metal, wooden or bamboo handle.
  • Bow Rake is generally used for levelling soil, mulching, collecting leaves, hay, grass or other garden wreckage. The tines are shorter and thicker than the leaf rake and used for heavier materials than leaves.
  • Shrub Rake is simply sort of a leaf rake, however, got a smaller fan of tines. Higher perform around fencing and different tight areas of your garden.
  • Flat Rake has a T-shaped head features a rectangular head with ten to sixteen teeth connected centrally to the handle for extra strength. You can use this for clearing debris, breaking down clumps of soil and spreading out fertilizer or compost.
  • Thatching Rake is designed specifically for removing the thatch from your lawn. It has a sharp blade on both sides of the head which breaks the unusual layer of the thatch and removes it.
  • Landscape Rake has a larger head with strong teeth that easier mixing compost or mulch into the top layer of soil. Best for professional and industrial use as well as the homeowner project.
  • Garden hand rake is a smaller version of other rakes. Specially used in tight areas, planting beds and places where larger rakes will not work out.
  • Hand/Manure scoop rakes used for removing manure and other dirty materials in your garden.


4. Garden Trowel

The trowel is a small hand tool which is loved by every gardener. This small hand tool makes your gardening more enjoyable and easier than ever. It has different shapes and sizes with different names, and their job is also different. Here are a few details about the types are covered:

  • Traditional garden trowel has a sharp metal blade with curved sides and either a pointed or rounded end. This is the most common variety which you can use to serve all purposes but performs better in digging holes, breaking up soil and planting.
  • Transplanting garden trowel is a narrower version of the traditional garden trowel. It is used for transplanting seedlings, bulbs, small plants from seed beds or greenhouse into a garden or container.
  • Dixter garden trowel has a long thin blade with a rounded end. Better known for rockery trowel due to its performance in rock gardens. Also, use for sowing seeds in deep holes.
  • Ladle garden trowel mainly used for digging round holes for planting annual plants and bulbs. It has a long bend tang and a small rounded blade with curved edges.
  • Potting garden trowel has wide, sharp edges with higher curved for potting plants into plant pots.
  • Digging garden trowel shaped like a dagger which has a thin blade with a sharpened tip. It is used for digging holes for plants moreover cutting items like compost bags.
  • Tulip garden trowel is very similar to tulip which has a bowl-shaped blade with three sharpened tips. It better perform planting flowers into heavy clay soil. The tips on the end of the blade help to cut through roots while digging a hole for planting.
  • Weeding garden trowel has a long blade with two tips on the forked end. It can be used for removing weeds, cutting roots and cleaning grass from in between stone tiles.
  • Tissot garden trowel is a quite unusual shaped hand tool. It has a sharpened V-shaped blade which allows the trowel for transplanting or dividing existing plants and digging holes in hard soil such as clay.
  • Planting garden trowel is a heart-shaped trowel most similar to builder’s trowel and sometimes called archaeologist’s trowel. It has a heart-shaped, flat blade with a pointed tip which enables it to plant flowers in hard soils.


5. Pruners

Pruner is cutting tools also known as pruning shears, clippers, hand pruners or secateurs. It is a type of scissors used to shape plants and arranging flowers. It helps to prune hard branches of trees and shrubs. So keeping a pair of pruners in your tools collection will make your gardening easier.  There is two basic type of pruners, and they have different purpose of uses:

  • Anvil pruners have one straight blade on a flat metal block just like a knife on a chopping board. It better performs when cutting dead or old woody stems. Cutting ripe and semi-ripe stems can hamper the growth of the trees if the blade crushes stem when cutting.
  • Bypass pruner acts like a pair of scissors. It has one sharpened blade which moves by a thicker unsharpened blade when cutting something. Bypass pruner gives a cleaner cut of stems and easier to use.
  • Ratchet pruners are very similar to anvil pruners and feature a clever extra mechanism that cuts in stages. It’s particularly good when extra strength is needed for cutting thicker stems.


6. Garden Hoes

A hoe is a multipurpose agricultural hand tool. There are various types of the gardening hoe, and they usually differ in shapes and functions. Some are multipurpose while others have some special uses such as levelling soil, weeding, harvesting root crops, digging narrow channels for planting seeds or bulbs and so on. There are two common types of gardening hoe:

Draw Hoe

A drew hoe is featured for shaping, furrowing, and digging soil. It has a metal blade around six inches wide, angled at ninety degrees to the handle. You can chop it into the garden and pull through the soil, and that’s why it is called “draw hoe”.

  • Grub hoe or grab hoe or pattern hoe or Italian hoe has a heavy and broad blade mostly used for chopping.
  • Warren hoe or ridging hoe or drill hoe features a formed or simple blade significantly used for excavation furrows.
  • Hoedad or “Hoedag” is generally used to plant trees.
  • Flower hoe has a very small blade mostly used for light weeding and aerating the growing plants.
  • Mortar hoe has a square blade with holes in it, and it is typically used for mixing mortar and concrete.


Scuffle hoe

A scuffle hoe is used for weeding, loosening the surface soil, cut the roots and interrupt the growth of weeds. It has two different designs – the Dutch hoe and the Hoop hoe.

  • Dutch hoe is mainly designed to clearing the surface weeds. It has a sharp blade on both sides to remove weeds from the surface layer.
  • Hoop hoe or action hoe has a double-edged blade pivot back and forth under the soil for cutting weeds and loosening the soil. The blade cuts on the push or pulls stroke

Besides the mentioned gardening hoes you can also found collinear hoe, swoe hoe, wheel hoes, horse hoes, fork hoes, clam hoes, Adze hoes, Pacul hoes, Gang hoes and so on and they have some particular designs, functions, and uses.


7. Pruning Saw

A pruning saw is particularly designed for cutting small to medium-sized branches or curved thick branches where bow saw cannot fit. It has a long blade which is either straight or a curved, attached to a secure handle.


8. Hori-Hori Knife

Hori-Hori is a multi-purpose Japanese gardener’s knife. It has a curved stainless steel blade which is razor sharped on both sides and is serrated for cutting through roots and tough soil. It can be used for cutting roots, digging, weeding, transplanting and so many gardening jobs.


9. Tree Loppers

Loppers are garden cutting tool very similar to scissors with long handles and usually operated with two hands. They are used for pruning stems and small branches with diameters less than 2 inches.

There are basically two types of garden loppers same as garden pruners:

  • Bypass Loppers are most commonly used for cutting live wood than dead or dry branches. Bypass Loppers have two poles with handles at one end and two blades that pass each other like scissors at the other.
  • Anvil Loppers are often used for cutting dead wood or small branches. They have also two large poles which have a handle at one end. The anvil only has one cutting edge closes onto a flat edge like a chopping board.


10. Lawn Edger

Lawn edger is an essential tool for distinct borders between lawns typically consisting of grasses and walkways or a ground surface covered with paved or concreted.

There are several types of lawn edger either manual or motorized. Spade based, roller-based or hand shears are manual lawn edger on the other hand adaptable string trimmer, single-wheel purpose-design or multi-wheel purpose-design are motorized edger.


11. Dibber

A dibber sometimes called dibble or dibbler is a piece of wooden stick with a sharpened end for making holes into the ground for sowing seeds, seedling or small bulbs. It comes in a number of shapes and sizes including the straight dibber, T-handled dibber, trowel dibber and L-shaped dibber.


12.  Shovel

The shovel is a multipurpose hand tool, essential for every gardener. You can use it for different purposes but mainly use for lifting loose materials from one place to another. Most of the shovels are made from broad steel sheet blade attached to the wooden handle.

13. Spade

This looks very similar to shovel but mainly use for digging purposes. There have different shapes of spade in the market.


14. Hoes pipes

Hoes pipes are the most essential part of garden irrigation. They make easier your garden irrigation process and save your water.

You can find different colors of hoes in the market, and they are mostly made of vinyl, rubber, and plastic. Besides, they are found in various diameters, but bigger is better. The standard length of hoes pipe is 25 to 100 feet long.


15. Watering cans

Watering can is a portable ancient watering tool featuring a sprinkler with handle. You can easily water a small garden with this tool. This is an alternative to hose pipe as well as cheaper. You can find both plastic and metal body cans in the market.


16. Wheelbarrow

The wheelbarrow is one type of cart with single or double wheels, attaching two handles at the back to push it moving forward. Typically, this is used for carrying essential garden components, wastages, and harvest.


17. Mattock

Mattock is mainly used for construction work, but it has some uses in the garden. It performs better for digging, slicing and loosening solid soil and debris.

18. Pick

This is also quite an unusual garden tool mainly use for construction works; you need this for breaking a hard ground.

gardening tools for beginners

19. Gardening hat

You need a quality hat to protect your skin from sunburn while working in the garden for a long time.


20. Soil thermometer

This is an essential tool for checking soil temperature. If you live in hardy zone 7 or lower, you should keep a soil thermometer or earth thermometer to measure your garden soil temperature before planting or transplanting plants outdoor.

You can also check soil temperature with your finger, but when you need to know the exact temperature soil thermometer is the best tool.


21. Soil test kit

Soil test kits help you check your garden soil health and determine which nutrients you need to provide for your garden to improve its soil quality. These simple kits save your money from buying unwanted fertilizer and get you better harvest.


22. Hand sprayer

Hand sprayer or insect sprayers mainly use to control and protect your garden plants from different insects and diseases. There have different shapes and sizes of hand sprayer in the market, pick the suitable one for your loving garden.


23. Hand gloves

Gardening gloves protect your hand from sharp objects and keep soften your hand palm if you are not used to handling gardening tools.


24. Knee pads

The knee pad is an essential garden tool, when you need to work for a long time, kneeling down on the ground in your garden. You should choose a flexible kneepad to protect your knee from wrecking.


25. Tamping bar

The tamping bar also is known as digging bar especially used for extreme digging and cutting job. It has a long solid metal body like a long handle with a flat top.


26. Bulb planter

This is a mini hand tool only used for creating an accurate hole for bulbs.


27. Post hole digger

This is a special tool for digging dipper hole with perfection. You need less effort to make a dipper hole than a spade or tamping bar take.


28. Cultivator

A cultivator is a simple tool for loosening and scratching soil around the plant’s bed. It has both a shorter and longer version which can fulfil your demand.


29. Edger

Edger has different types of shapes and a perfect tool for lining and cleaning sidewalk and garden beds.


30. Weed Whacker

Weed whacker is a single blade mini trimmer, which is sharp on both sides for weeding uneven places in your garden.



In the above article, I cover most of the basic gardening tools for a new gardener need to be acknowledged. Some tools can be used for multipurpose or some tools has some special purpose.

Multipurpose tools are flexible, and cover varieties work with a single tool. On the other hand, special tools finish some awesome job which has no alternative. Selecting the right gardening tools will make easier your work and save your time and labor.

John Michael
John Michael is a self-help writer and a hobby gardener. Michael’s passion in writing is to inspire the beginner gardeners to not just “hang in there” or “make it through” but to thrive. He does this through blogging.

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