Gardening is a special form of therapy that brings immense pleasure and can brighten up your day. Since every good job starts with excellent tools, knowing and having the right gardening ones will make things easier for every gardening enthusiast.
According to a recent gardening survey, 62% of homeowners are looking to plant more this year than they did in 2021. What’s even more surprising is that a big number of newcomers to gardening are Millennials.
So, if you’re also looking to join this rising trend and enjoy the health benefits of gardening, we prepared a guide with the essential gardening tools and their uses.
1. Shovel And Spade
A shovel is one of the most essential garden tools and serves various purposes. It’s made of a long handle and a head that can slightly vary in shape depending on its use. Some of the most common types of garden shovels include:
- hollow-head (for carrying material around the yard without making a mess)
- round-head (for scooping material)
- flat-head (for scraping)
Shovels are multi-purpose tools that can move things around (soil, compost, fertilizer, manure), remove weeds, scrape surfaces, dig holes, fill beds with different materials, spread materials, etc. So what should you look for in a shovel?
- find a lightweight design that won’t tire you fast while working
- always opt for a reputable brand and medium length of the handle
- long handles will reduce stress on your back while working, while shorter handles help you be more precise
A gardening spade features a handle and ahead with a rectangular blade. The main difference between a spade and a shovel is that a spade is shorter, and its blade is flat, while a shovel comes with longer handles and usually has curved blades.
Spades are essential in the garden since they let you dig holes for planting and move soil from one area to another. In addition, this tool is excellent for transplanting, creating edges around garden beds, breaking up material and roots, edging, etc.
When buying a spade, you should opt for:
- a stainless steel one because its surface is flat, and the material will easily slide off it without getting stuck
- go for a longer handle made from hardwood since it protects your back while working, and lasts longer as well.
2. Hose And Nozzle
A hose is a must because every gardener has to water their plants. In addition, you should consider adding an adjustable nozzle to have more control over the amount of water you’ll apply since different plants have different needs.
Your gardening hose should be durable, high-quality, lightweight, and kink-free. The common materials that hoses are made of include rubber, vinyl, or a combination of the two:
- vinyl hoses are the more affordable option, lighter, but more prone to kinking
- rubber hoses are stronger, heavier, more expensive, and will kink less
- reinforced hoses with metal coils or mesh lining feature metal parts in between the layers of rubber and vinyl. This makes the hose stronger and reduces kinking.
However, getting a reinforced hose doesn’t guarantee that it won’t kink at all, meaning that you have to think of other ways to protect it and prolong its lifespan. In this case, you need to add a reel cart, a freestanding holder, or a retractable garden hose reel. The choice depends on your wishes and budget. For example, a reel cart is the most basic and affordable option.
Unfortunately, it’s slightly harder to use than a retractable reel and takes more time. A freestanding holder can be aesthetically pleasing and will keep your hose kink-free, but the hose will be on display. A retractable reel can be slightly more expensive, but it’s modern, secure, and stores the hose adequately.
When looking at gardening hoses and nozzles, ensure to:
- find a hose that’s long enough to cover your garden or that it’s expandable (measure the distance in the yard from your faucet, and choose a hose that’s slightly longer)
- go for a flexible hose, but not the most flexible one because it will kink more
- opt for nozzles with different spraying patterns; they help control the type of watering depending on which growth stage each plant is in.
3. A Gardening Hoe
A garden hoe comes in several varieties and multiple sizes. It’s equipped with a long handle and a head placed at an angle to the handle.
A hoe helps gardeners work the soil’s surface by breaking down the surface of the ground.
Working with a hoe around the plants speeds up the process of mineralization of organic compounds, which help your plants grow and optimizes the amount of water they get. In addition, this tool helps prepare the soil for beds, weeding, moving the soil after digging, and more.
When buying a hoe, here’s what you should keep in mind:
- get one with a long, sturdy handle
- hoes with a narrow blade are perfect for covering soil areas between your plants since they’re more precise
- hoes with larger blades are best for breaking the surface of the ground, digging holes for planting, and doing heavier tasks
- opt for a heavier tool when you need to break down hard soil and a lighter one when you need to do more delicate work
- hoes with sharp blades are more efficient and will save you time
The rake is one of the most valuable tools every gardener should own. Although it comes in many varieties, you will quickly recognize this tool by its long handle and a head with teeth. These are some of the most common varieties:
- a classic rake is best for smoothing the ground surface and is usually between 12 and 24 inches wide. Opt for a smaller one when you need to perform precise work
- a leaf rake looks like a fan and helps gardeners gather the fallen leaves in their yard
- a gravel rake has curved teeth, and its purpose is transferring gravel.
Here are the things to consider when shopping for a gardening rake:
- your rake should be made of metal and come with a long, sturdy handle
- wooden rakes are another alternative; however, they are less durable than ones made of metal
- adjustable rakes will help you reach every part of your garden and are very useful for large gardens.
A trowel is a small hand tool with a pointed blade. Although it doesn’t look as powerful as shovels and spades, it does a lot of important work around the garden. This tool is ideal for digging small holes before planting your flowers and crops.
Hand trowels also come in several varieties, and most differ in size. A bigger trowel will scoop more material and will feature a longer blade. Aside from creating holes, it’s also helpful in preparing the soil for smaller plants, potting, lifting plants during transplantation, moving material, etc.
The trowel you’ll get should be:
- sturdy and made of stainless steel since it has to stay straight and go against the pressure while you work
- the handle should be comfortable to prevent joint pain and discomfort.
- the junction between the handle and head should be strong – otherwise, the head might come off and separate from the handle.
A wheelbarrow is another must-have tool because it allows gardeners to move things around the garden, and it’s essential for people with large gardens.
Wheelbarrows come in many sizes, colors, and designs, but they all have the same purpose – transporting things around your garden (landscaping tools, outdoor materials, plants).
When looking at wheelbarrows, you’ll notice that they can be:
- traditional (one wheel in the front, two in the back; it’s best for transporting lighter weights)
- motorized (multiple wheels, and is easier to maneuver)
- two-wheel (one wheel on one side and one wheel on the other side)
- collapsable (a collapsible design made of fabric, best for lightweight loads and saving space)
- tub capacity can vary from 2.5 to 10 cubic feet, so you should choose the capacity that works best for your needs
- handles can be wood or plastic, single or two handles, and ergonomically built
A quality wheelbarrow should:
- have two handles for balance and at least two wheels
- be made of metal because it’s more long-lasting compared to plastic
- shouldn’t be too heavy so that you can move it around
7. Pruning Shears
Pruning shears look like scissors, with small handles and two curved blades.
They are another essential tool for gardeners because they help cut stems, and branches and remove dead growth.
These shears are also helpful during the harvesting season since gardeners can use them to harvest their crops.
The three most common types of shears are:
- bypass pruning shears (with two sharp curved blades that work like scissors)
- anvil pruners (two blades, but only one has a cutting edge and works as a knife)
- ratchet shears (come with a mechanism and are an excellent choice for people with weak hands and painful wrists)
Loopers are a bigger variation of shears with longer handles and larger curved blades. You can use loopers for bigger branches or ones you can’t easily reach or cut with hand shears. Pruning shears are more suitable for smaller branches and crops.
High-quality shears or loopers should:
- feature sharp, stainless-steel blades
- comfortable, ergonomically-built handles (with cushions) that won’t put too much stress on the joints
- take the shears or loopers in your hand to get a better feel and see if the size of the tool fits the size of your hand.
All the tools we discussed are a must for every gardener, no matter whether experienced or a beginner. If you’re looking to start a successful garden, the first step should be getting high-quality tools. Before spending money on a new tool, look at its handles, joints, and hinges.
Then, place the tool in your hand to ensure it doesn’t feel too big or too small. Investing in excellent gardening equipment saves you time, and money, and helps you stay safe. Some of the other common tools for a well-equipped garden include a garden knife, serfouette, saw, weeder, edger, etc.
Using these simple tips, you’ll quickly find all the essential tools and join the 18.3 million new US gardeners that discovered the benefits of gardening after the COVID-19 pandemic started.