Top 10 Essential Garden Tools Every Gardener Should Own

Whatever your age, there's nothing better than heading outdoors and being at one with nature. With summer fast approaching, there's no better reason to get stuck in and begin to spruce your garden up ready for hosting countless barbecues and play dates with family and friends.

But most importantly, not only is it rewarding to transform your garden into a stylish haven to relax and entertain, it's great for improving mental health. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) are encouraging people of all ages to take up gardening as a hobby, whether it be planting shrubs, mowing the lawn or growing your own vegetable patch.

In the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show, there was a strong emphasis on mental health and getting outdoors as a family. This is clear to see from the garden the Duchess of Cambridge designed and created that went down a treat with her three children and local school children in particular.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society, "The RHS 'Back to Nature Garden' is part of the RHS's partnership with NHS England, which promotes the physical and emotional wellbeing that access to green spaces and gardening provides. After Chelsea, some of the planting and landscaping will go to an NHS Mental Health Trust, as part of a national competition run by the RHS."

So, why don't you recreate this in your garden this year? First things first, you must ensure you have the following 10 essential garden tools. Read on to find out our top gardening essentials for any gardener - beginner or experienced.

Our Top 10 Must-Have Gardening Tools List:

1. Gloves

Before you begin any garden work, you must protect yourself from any potential hazards such as thorns or stinging nettles. Therefore, one of the most basic gardening tools you require is a pair of gloves - but not just any old gloves, they must be fit for purpose.

Our top tips:

  • They should be durable, but not too bulky
  • Ensure they fit perfectly - you don't want them to keep falling off or cause blisters
  • Choose a water-resistant and breathable material
  • Longer cuffs are ideal
  • Store your gloves out of sunlight, away from water and insects

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2. Shears

Hand shears are helpful for maintaining shrubs, to prevent them from getting out of control and keeping them in shape, such as a sphere. There are different kinds of shears you can buy, but the two main types are:

Anvil pruners: Best for dead wood and can cause crush injuries to fresh, green stems and branches.

Bypass pruners: Ideal for live plants and green wood.

Our top tips:

  • Pruners should easily be able to fit in the palm of your hand
  • Ratcheting pruners can help to increase hand cutting power; perfect for anyone with reduced strength
  • For cleaner and more effective cuts, pruners should be sharpened regularly

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3. Hand Trowel

One of the most essential tools for the garden is a hand trowel. This garden hand tool is useful for moving plants and herbs, taking out weeds and depositing soil - a fantastic all-rounder for the garden.

Our top tips:

  • Ensure you purchase the right trowel for your needs - wider blades can move more soil, or a narrow blade to dig up weeds or rocky soil
  • It's worth noting that stainless steel trowels are more durable and last longer
Hand Trowel

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4. Spade

A garden spade (or shovel) makes digging holes or moving small mounds of dirt or soil from one area to another a much easier job. This essential garden tool can be quite expensive, but a good spade can last forever if looked after properly.

Our top tips:

  • Ash hardwood handles are most durable; they absorb shocks and vibrations
  • Treads on top of the blade give a sturdier and more comfortable foot surface when needing an extra push into the ground
  • Bear in mind that longer handles provide more leverage but are heavier

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5. Fork

Whether you need to turn over your vegetable patch, loosen the soil a little, or remove any pesky weeds, a garden fork is the best gardening tool for the job. These come in smaller handheld sizes or a large spade size for bigger jobs.

Our top tips:

  • Forks with straight prongs are good for digging - especially compact, rocky or clay soil
  • Square prongs are stronger than flat tines which can bend when they hit a rock or strong root
  • Forks with a slight curve are useful for scooping mulch/compost

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6. Rake

When leaves fall from the trees, or you want to keep any bark in order, a sturdy rake is the ideal garden tool. The rake comes in several different styles and sizes for a range of jobs but to begin with, a standard leaf rake is a good place to start.

Our top tips:

  • Adjustable rakes do more than just raking: they can reach into narrow areas and gather large piles of leaves or weeds
  • Steel prongs are stronger and more effective than plastic alternatives

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7. Hoe

Hoes are useful in preparing garden and flower beds for seeds or plants and are great for cutting down weeds - particularly taller weeds which require more than a hand trowel.

But knowing which kind of hoe is right for you is highly dependent on the garden you have. For instance, if you have a perennial garden, a more delicate thinner hoe may be ideal, however a vegetable garden may require a sturdy wide hoe.

Our top tips:

  • A sharp blade works best and makes it easier to use
  • Flat hoes are good for turning the soil in vegetable gardens
  • Ensure you find one with a comfortable handle and a long reach

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8. Garden Hose

Water is key for plants to prosper so it's important that your garden hose can reach and spray every area. It's advisable to have an adjustable nozzle so you can control the water pressure for each area of your garden to give each of your plants the water they require.

Our top tips:

  • Roughly measure from your tap to the furthest point in your garden before making a purchase
  • Bear in mind that the hose length will inevitably affect water pressure
  • It's worth noting that vinyl hoses are more lightweight and less expensive, but don't last as long as rubber hoses
  • In order to get the most out of your hose, store it coiled up and out of direct sunlight
Garden Hose

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9. Watering Can

There are two types of watering can: plastic or metal. There are varying styles, sizes and colours too, to suit you and your garden. Bear in mind that there are a number of different nozzles to choose from, such as a sprinkler head or a thinner, long-necked option - select carefully!

Our top tips:

  • Plastic is lighter than metal, but won't have a longer lifespan
  • Metals should be galvanized to resist rusting
  • Consider the size of the can relative to your strength
  • The handle positioning is important - think about how you will be carrying the watering can and pouring
  • Two-handled designs are ideal for children or elderly gardeners
Watering Can

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10. Wheelbarrow

Even if you don't need one at present, buying a wheelbarrow is always a fantastic investment to make. Whether you need to move extra soil around your garden, transport plants or lift heavy objects, it's often deemed a necessity for hauling items around your garden easily - especially if your garden is large in size.

There are varying types of wheelbarrow so you must consider which style works best for you. Traditional dual-handle and single wheel styles can be harder to balance heavy or uneven loads, whereas single handle two-wheel models are easier to balance and are better for those with little strength.

Our top tips:

  • Store it in a clean and dry area to prevent rust
  • Keep the wheel inflated properly for easier manoeuvring

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