As someone who loves gardening, I know firsthand that having the right set of tools is essential for building and maintaining a beautiful backyard or garden. Gardening can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience, but without the proper tools, it can quickly turn into a frustrating chore.
At the very least, having some basic tools like a trowel, pruner, and rake can help keep weeds and overgrown branches under control. But if you want to take your gardening game to the next level and keep your backyard looking great and functioning at full capacity, investing in more specialized tools can make all the difference.
That’s why we’ve created a master list of garden tools that covers everything you need to get your garden up and running and looking its best. From gardening essentials like gloves and watering cans to splurge-worthy power tools like chainsaws and hedge trimmers, our list has got you covered. We’ve even included tips on how to choose the right tools and maintain them properly, so you can get the most out of your investment.
So, whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, having the right set of tools is essential for creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space that you can enjoy for years to come. So let’s roll up our sleeves, grab our tools, and get ready to create the garden of our dreams!
Essential Garden Tools
If you’re new to gardening or backyard basics, these are a few essential tools that you should have in your shed.
A garden shovel is a multi-functional tool that can help you do everything from digging holes to scooping up leaves, moving dirt, and laying flower beds. When it comes to the classic digging shovel, it boasts a long handle and a blade that tapers to a pointed end. The blade may also have foot holds on the top to help you dig deeper and get more leverage. A scoop shovels features a large, deep blade with a straight edge on the bottom. Scoop shovels are typically used to scoop up material like leaves, dirt, and gravel.
Spades are similar to shovels, but they have slightly shorter handles and concave blades that typically have a straight edge along the bottom. Spades are great for detailed work where you need to be precise, such as edging work, digging trenches, slicing through turf, and cutting through roots. They can also be used to transplant shrubs and bushes, move loose material like dirt and gravel, or break up dirt clods.
If you have smaller jobs that require accuracy, a trowel is the way to go. Imagine a small, handheld tool that resembles a miniature shovel. It features a compact handle and a subtly curved blade that culminates in a pointed tip. Because it’s small enough to fit in your hand, you can use it to tackle tight spaces and areas where delicacy is key. For example, trowels are great for transplanting small plants, digging out weeds, planting bulbs, and cleaning out narrow irrigation channels.
Hoes, also known as cultivators, are handy garden tools that can tackle a multitude of tasks. Your average garden hoe features a long handle with a blade or paddle on the end that is positioned at an angle. The blade usually has a straight, flat edge that allows you to move soil around, break up dirt clods, dig trenches, remove weeds, and harvest various types of plants. Hoes typically have strong metal blades that can handle tough material and won’t break or bend.
Pruning shears (aka pruners) are used for cutting and cleaning up around your yard. Bypass pruners showcase a clever mechanism where two sharp blades elegantly bypass each other to execute precise cuts. These are best for thinner materials like flower stems and thin branches. Anvil pruners have one sharp blade and one flat blade, so they’re better for tougher material like thick tree branches and hedges. You can also opt for handheld shears, lopper shears for thick shrubs, or pole pruners to reach tall branches.
You can’t rely on regular rain to properly water your garden. A good garden hose will make it easy to give your plants the nourishment they need. Plus, a garden hose is great for cleaning off pathways, gutters, siding, and your car. Look for models that are made of strong, durable materials that are resistant to cracking, kinking, and leaking. You also want to make sure that the hose you buy is long enough to cover the areas you want to reach.
Garden Hose Reel
If you’ve ever tried coiling up a slippery, lengthy garden hose, then you know that the struggle is real. A garden hose reel will save you time and effort by quickly and efficiently rolling up the hose and keeping it in one contained spot where it won’t accidentally get run over with the lawnmower or car or chewed up by pets and pests. Garden hose reels can be wall-mounted, stand-alone cabinets, or on carts. Some are also automatic, so all you have to do is push a button to coil up your hose.
A garden hose may not be necessary if you have a smaller backyard or garden to contend with. In this case, a watering can might be able to get the job done just as well. Even if you have a larger garden, a watering can help you get into nooks and crannies that a hose might not be able to reach. Plus, a watering can gives you more control over the flow of water, which is great for tending to plants with different water requirements. Watering cans are typically made of strong metal or plastic.
Weeds are inevitable in any backyard or garden. The safest, most efficient, and environmentally friendly way to get rid of weeds is with a set of weeding tools that will help you make quick work of all types of weeds that take root. Weeding tools can either be diggers, cutters, forks or rakes. Each type of tool will tackle a different problem from scraping out fibrous roots just under the surface of the soil to severing stronger taproots that burrow deep.
Featuring long handles and fan-shaped heads with multiple lines, rakes are the best tools for cleaning up leaves, mulch, and other debris around your yard. The key to a good rake is high-quality materials that can handle heavy, organic material without snapping, bending, or succumbing to rust. Most rake tines are made of metal or heavy-duty plastic. Some are made of resin, which gives the lines flexibility and strength.
If you need to move heavy items and materials to different areas around your property, a wheelbarrow is a must. These backyard carts have either one or two wheels, long handles, and support legs that allow you to set it down without tipping everything over. A well-constructed wheelbarrow will be able to transport everything from grass clippings to compost, wood, gravel, mulch, and pretty much anything you can fit in the receptacle.
All it takes is one day working out in the garden or yard to realize that backyard tasks can wreak havoc on your hands. Gardening gloves are an excellent investment because they protect your hands from injuries and keep them clean. Depending on the material, a good pair of gardening gloves can protect you against prickly thorns, sticks, insect bites, and abrasive items like sharp rocks. Some gardening gloves can also wick away moisture and give you a better grip.
Power Tools for the Backyard and Garden
Sometimes you need a bit of machinery to help you get heavy-duty jobs done. That’s where these useful power tools come in.
The evolution of lawn mowers over the past few decades has been remarkable. Today you can find all types of mowers from electric models that are good for the environment, gas-powered mowers that offer plenty of power to get the job done quickly, and riding mowers that allow you to sit back and relax as you clear away overgrown grass and weeds. In addition, maneuverability has never been easier, as you can find models that are self-propelling or have zero-turn radiuses for turning on a dime.
Also known as weed whackers or string trimmers, weed eaters are designed to trim weeds, grass, hedges, and branches. They feature long handles and motors that are powered either by gas or electricity. The head at the bottom features a cutting line that slices through organic material. Weed eaters can fit into tight corners that lawn mowers may not be able to, so they’re great for clearing the edges of your lawn, around trees and flowerbeds, and in between stepping stones.
A chainsaw is a great tool to have if you have multiple trees and bushes on your property that need cutting back or getting rid of altogether. You have two choices when it comes to a chainsaw: gas or electric. Gas chainsaws offer plenty of power and mobility, as you can carry them with you anywhere on your property. Electric chainsaws are quieter, emit no fumes, and do not require fuel. However, you may be limited by the length of the cord or the battery life.
Why spend hours bending over a rake when you can simply blow leaves into a pile with one quick sweep? Many of the leaf blowers on the market today feature advanced technology that allows them to blast away all types of material from dry and wet leaves to soil and gravel. You can opt for a gas-powered model that can handle tough jobs or an electric corded or cordless model that won’t emit fumes.
Hedges are eye-catching because they create lush, green borders. However, they need regular maintenance to keep them looking their best. If you have multiple hedges, a power hedge trimmer will help you tame the branches and shape your shrubs. A gas hedge trimmer will give you plenty of power. Electric models aren’t as powerful, but they’re lighter, which makes it easier to cover more ground and reach higher branches without getting fatigued.
Garden Tools That Aren’t Essential, But Handy to Have
Once you have your basic garden tool kit compiled, you may find that you need more specific tools for your gardening and yard work tasks. These tools aren’t essential, but they will help you enhance your garden and backyard.
Compost bins solve a number of problems. First, they give you a convenient place to get rid of your kitchen scraps and garden waste. Unlike a compost pile, a bin keeps the waste safely contained so that pests like rats and raccoons can’t get it. In addition, a compost bin prevents bad odors from permeating your yard. And perhaps most importantly, a compost bin creates nutrient-rich soil for your garden that you don’t have to pay a penny for.
Like compost bins, compost tumblers turn organic waste into soil. However, tumblers can get the job done faster than a bin because when you spin them, they help break down the organic material and introduce oxygen into the mix. With the right combination of heat and oxygen, the organic waste turns into soil in no time. Tumblers have handles or cranks on the side for spinning, a base or a stand to keep them off the ground, and either one or two chambers.
Garden Hose Nozzle
You can water your garden with just a hose alone, but you might have to use your thumb to adjust the spray, and that can be cumbersome. A hose nozzle gives you much more versatility and allows you to make adjustments with ease. You can opt for a simple metal nozzle that you twist to change from a steady stream of water to a fine mist or a plastic spray nozzle that can create gentle rain showers for watering plants or high-pressured sprays for cleaning.
If you don’t have the time or energy to manually water your garden and lawn, a sprinkler will do the hard work for you. Tare numerous types of sprinklers to choose from including stand-alone sprinklers that you can reposition, rotary sprinklers that cover a great deal of ground, in-ground sprinklers that will water at set times, and even sprinklers that you can control with smart devices anywhere you have Wi-Fi.
Hate raking? A lawn sweeper may be the perfect tool for you. These innovative machines have brushes that rotate around and suck up leaves, twigs, pine needles, and other yard debris into a hopper bag. There are push-behind models that you maneuver yourself and tow-behind models that you attach to a tractor or riding lawn mower. Lawn sweepers make clean-up easy whether it’s autumn leaves or grass clippings from the lawn mower.
Spreading seeds, fertilizer, or ice melt by hand can be time-consuming and hard on the body, not to mention inefficient because it’s hard to spread materials evenly and consistently. A spreader solves all these problems. Most models have a hopper that holds your material and a mechanism that drops or throws the material in an even pattern. Spreaders can be hand-held, push-behind models with wheels, or tow-behind versions that you hitch to a vehicle.
Whether you’re clearing branches or taking on DIY projects like building a treehouse or repairing deck boards, a handsaw is a straightforward piece of equipment that will help you cut through wood and other materials fast. Hand saws come in a variety of styles from classic versions with rounded handles and long wide blades to streamlined versions with angled handles and thin blades with razor-sharp jagged teeth.
Loppers are technically a type of pruning shears, but they deserve their own mention because they can handle thick, woody stems and branches that might be too tough for other types of pruners. They feature long handles and tough cutting blades that can chop through branches anywhere from half an inch to an inch thick. Loppers also give you a long reach, enabling you to get at high branches.
Once you start amassing a number of gardening tools, you might find that you’re running out of storage space in your house and garage. A tool shed gives you a place to safely store all your tools where they are out of the elements and away from your kids, pets, and car. You can build your own tool shed from scratch or purchase a ready-made model that requires minimal assembly and planning.
Give your plants some respite from cold winter months and heavy rains by building them a greenhouse. It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s actually easier than you think with a greenhouse kit. These comprehensive kits include everything you need to build a greenhouse in just a few hours including frames, panels, shelves, doors, and even gutters. Greenhouse kits come in all shapes and sizes for large and small backyards.
Soil Test Kit
Are you having trouble keeping your outdoor plants alive and thriving? The problem may be the pH balance and nutrients in your soil. A soil test kit can tell you exactly how acidic your soil is and if it’s lacking nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Some kits also measure moisture levels and sunlight intensity. You can use a DIY home kit or a mail-in kit that you send to a lab to get your results.
Nothing ruins a backyard gathering faster than a swarm of hungry mosquitos. If you’re not a fan of harsh-smelling repellents or smoke-producing coils, a mosquito fogger offers a quick and easy way to get rid of these pests. A mosquito fogger turns liquid insecticide into a fog or fine mist that can get inside nooks and crannies to kill mosquitos outright and prevent them from coming back. They can be heavy-duty backpack models or lightweight handheld versions.
Gutter Cleaning Tools
It’s easy to forget about your gutters, but the longer you let them pile up with debris, the more chances there are that they will overflow and cause damage to your house and garden. A good set of gutter tools will enable you to get in deep and clear out dead leaves, sludge, and objects that are blocking the flow of water. You have plenty of options to choose from including telescoping wands, hose attachments, blowers, vacuums, claws, and scrapers.
Garden Kneeling Pad
Avid gardeners know that spending long periods of time on the ground weeding or planting can take a toll on the knees. That’s why many invest in a good gardening kneeling pad to take the pressure off. Garden kneelers are made of soft, supportive material that is easy on the knees and prevents fatigue. They can be pads that you wear or simple mats that you set on the ground where you want to work.
Having the right set of gardening tools is essential for creating and maintaining a beautiful backyard. If you’re new to gardening and yard work, starting with the basics is a great way to get started. As you become more familiar with your property and your gardening needs, you can add to your tool collection accordingly.
When shopping for gardening tools, there are a few things to consider, such as quality materials, durability, comfort, and ease of use. Investing in high-quality tools made from durable materials can save you money in the long run by reducing the need for frequent replacements. Additionally, choosing tools that are comfortable and easy to use can make your gardening experience more enjoyable and efficient.
Of course, the specific tools you need will vary depending on your property and the type of gardening you plan to do. If you’re not sure which tools are essential for your needs, be sure to check out our comprehensive guides, where we list our top picks for various gardening tools.
In conclusion, having the right set of gardening tools is essential for creating and maintaining a beautiful backyard. By starting with the basics and considering factors like quality, durability, comfort, and ease of use, you can build a tool collection that meets your specific gardening needs. With the right tools and knowledge, you can enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding gardening experience.