Infographic: Essential Tools for Beginner Gardeners

The trick is to avoid tools that only do one job and opt for ones that can take the place of two or more hand tools.

Updated on June 30, 2017 17:06 pm

Fix.com

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Article originally published in Fix.com. Edited and published with permission.

Getting started in the garden for the first time is a daunting task. There’s so much to learn: what plants to grow and how to care for them; Pests, diseases, and how to prevent them; and soil, watering, and light requirements.

The list goes on and on. On top of that, you need to buy new tools that you might not be familiar with. Where many gardeners go wrong is picking up every type of tool they see.

It’s important to remember that getting into gardening is like getting into cooking—there’s an almost infinite supply of tools you can buy to make your job easier, but very few of these are necessary.

As a beginner gardener, buying high-quality tools that you can use for many different garden tasks is a much better strategy than picking up specialized, expensive tools that will only serve to clutter your tool shed. The trick is to avoid tools that only do one job and opt for ones that can take the place of two or more hand tools.

Essential Hand Tools

Hori-hori: This Japanese gardening knife is the Swiss army knife of the garden, replacing at least three different hand tools. It is the most essential gardening hand tool you can buy.

Hand pruner: This breaks the “more than one purpose” rule, but pruning is such an essential gardening activity that it makes sense to have a tool dedicated to the job.

Hand rake: The hand rake is your soil manipulation tool. You can use it to smooth out soil, remove any pesky weeds that your hori-hori didn’t take care of, or turn your soil as a mini-tiller.

These three tools are your essential hand tools, but if you have a little extra cash you may want to spring for a hand weeder and a pair of nice gardening scissors.

Essential Long-Handled Tools

Bow rake: The bow rake is your surface-level soil manipulation tool.

Digging fork: These are used to manipulate the soil below the surface of your garden. It’s far more effective than a spade for many different types of gardening activities.

Round-headed shovel: Most of your major earthmoving will take place with this tool. It can double as a transplanter or a means to dig out annoying weeds or stumps if necessary.

Water hose: Most beginner gardeners already own a hose, but it’s important to include on this list because it is perhaps the most essential long-handled tool! Without it, you can’t deliver water to your plants and keep them growing.

If you want to add to your long-handled tool collection, consider these bonus tools:

Transplant spade: Your hori-hori or round-headed shovel can do most of the transplant work, but if you want a more focused tool, the transplant spade is for you. It has a narrower, square head that digs nice trenches for your garden rows.

Water wand: Water wands will help you save both your back and water.

Pruner: A long-handled pruner will help you tend to hard-to-reach areas of the garden, most notably pesky tree branches blocking your sun.

Mattock: You’ll want to pick one up if you have a significant amount of digging, chopping, or soil loosening to do.

Digging bar: If you need to clear out stumps or deep roots in your garden before you begin planting, a digging bar can give you both the power and the leverage you need to clear your soil of debris.

Proper Protection Tools

You should also consider a few items to care for yourself. Beginner gardeners often don’t recognize the toll that gardening can take on their bodies.

Gardening hat: When gardening, you’ll often be in positions that expose parts of your body that don’t often get much sun, so a quality gardening hat with neck protection will protect areas that are sensitive to burning.

Gardening gloves: The best type for a beginner will often be a lightweight, synthetic leather material with reinforced tips. These give you enough durability to protect from sharp objects with enough flexibility to still be a workable glove.

Knee pads or a knee pad: There are two different types of knee protection: one is a pad that you place on the ground and kneel on, while the other is attached to your knees. Which you choose is up to you, but be sure to pick up one of them.

Invest in High-Quality Tools

Now that you know that you only need a few tools to garden successfully, be sure to invest in the highest-quality versions of those tools that you can. This might increase your up-front cost, but they’ll last forever, saving you boatloads of money in the long run.


Got any household tips or hacks to share? Email us at hello@cromly.com.

Infographic courtesy of Fix.com

Cover photo courtesy of The Self Sufficient Living

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