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How to Select Basic Garden Tools

Updated on December 28, 2013
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My Hero - Red Rose | Source
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Burning Bush and Daylily
Burning Bush and Daylily | Source
Yellow Shrub Rose
Yellow Shrub Rose | Source
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Garden Bed | Source
Shrub Rose and Daylilies
Shrub Rose and Daylilies | Source
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Annual Flowers | Source

I love to go to nurseries and look at all of the different types of plants that they offer. It is fun to start a new garden and plan what kind of plants that you want to grow. It is important that you have some basic gardening tools in order to start a garden. Thankfully, you can find them relatively cheaply, especially if you look at garages sales.

Selecting Basic Gardening Tools

Selecting basic gardening tools is an inexpensive way to try your hand at gardening without spending a lot of money. Below is a listing of gardening tools that you may want to consider:

Gardening Gloves

Gardening gloves are one of the most things that you will need. They protect your hands from slivers, thorns, weeds, or anything else that can hurt your hands. The dilemma with purchasing gloves is how much to spend. I recommend spending a little extra and getting a high quality pair of gloves. They should be thick and durable. If gloves are too thin, thorns will go right through the glove and into your hands. I usually buy gloves that are reinforced with leather.

Watering Can

A watering can is also essential to have in any garden. Flowers and vegetables need water to grow. A watering can is nice because you do not have to drag a hose all across the yard for a few minutes and then roll it up again. Selecting the right watering can for you depends on how much weight that you can carry. The bigger the can, the more water it can hold. However, be sure that you can carry the can with water in it. My suggestion is to select a can with a long neck to help you reach further into the garden.


Shovels are the most needed and basic kind of garden tool. It is a good idea to have at least two different types of shovels in your arsenal. The first one to have is a shovel with a rounded end that works great for digging holes for planting trees and bushes. When buying a rounded end shovel, I would stay on the cheaper end because a shovel is a shovel.

The second type of shovel that is a must have is a small gardening shovel that is more suited for digging holes for either annuals or vegetables. Paying a little extra here for a higher quality shovel is a good idea. Cheap gardening shovels tend to bend and conversely snap off if they are too cheap.

Spading Tool

A spading tool looks like a pitchfork but the forks are wider. Use it to break up hard soil, which makes amending the soil easier. I have to use this every year on my vegetable garden because on the amount of clay in my yard. Make sure to get one with a quality handle that is strong and the is well attached to the head.

Garden Rake

A gardening rake is another basic gardening tool that everyone should have. A gardening rake has a solid steel rake that will not bend or move. It is useful in amending your soil and spreading mulch or rock. In my experience, I would purchase the cheapest one you can find. I have never seen the head of a garden rake pop off.

Pruning Tools

Pruning shears and clippers are basic needs as well. As your shrubs and trees grow, they need to be pruned occasionally. Be sure to get a quality pair of sheers and clippers. If they are too cheap, they will not have the strength to cut through thicker branches. I recommend buying a three pack that includes shears, pruner, and loppers because as your garden matures you will use all three.


I recommend getting a wheelbarrow to use in your garden. I use my wheelbarrow to transport soil, mulch, plants, and garden tools back and forth to the front of my house. My advice for selecting a wheelbarrow is to make sure that you get one that has a tire with air in it rather than a hard plastic one. The plastic ones are much harder to push. Also, make sure that the container part is securely fastened to the handles.

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Take a few minutes and visit your local hardware store to check out the products that they have. They should be able to answer any of your questions.


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I have heard of SFG for close to 30 years, watching you on WGVC TV, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Only two weeks ago, on a whim, did I pucarhse your book from Lowe's. I have built 4 square gardens, 4 4 foot. The only issue I encountered was getting more than one type of compost. I had to settle for mostly cow manure, composted. My gardening skills need much improvement, as the items I planted, well let's just say I will be eating a LOT of peppers. Green, Banana, and Jalepeno. Question can you freeze all the different peppers? Should they be vacuum sealed? If vacuum sealed, (which I have one), are they good for a year? Thanks Mel, and sorry it took me so long to take heed of your program! (Can't wait to send pictures. I signed up for the front yard contest).

    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 

      6 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Nice article - reminds me I need to take more time in the garden.

      I got the tools, but just don't take enough time in the garden. I've found that it's good to find a place that will sharpen shovel edges, as well. For safety, I would add a long-sleeve work shirt. If you're going to carry brush, the gloves protect the hands, but it's easy to get irritated scratches on the arms.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      As a serial plant murderer, I don't have much use for these tools, but this could be a great gift shopping list for gardening friends!

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      I love this hub! I don't have a digging fork, but I need to get one to turn the soil in our raised beds next year. We have clay soil filled with shale stones, so it is quite the job to dig in our garden!

    • CassyLu1981 profile image


      6 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      No matter how many times I go to the store to get my gardening stuff I always forget something! I'm taking this list with me next time! Great hub! Voted up and shared :)

    • Joy M profile image

      Joy M 

      6 years ago from Sumner, Washington

      Great hub. I love gardening - not as sure my garden loves me. :)


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