Sometimes garden tools are like shoes — they can be a bit of an obsession. Every gardener knows this. You come across a new gadget and you think you simply must have it or your garden will fall into ruins. But, the truth is, there is just a handful of tools that you really need — seven, to be exact. Here are our top 7 garden tools every gardener should have.
7 Garden Tools Every Gardener Should Have
- Bypass pruners. These handheld pruners have blades that bypass one another, hence the name. They’re great for making cuts ½” in diameter, which is what most of your cuts are.
- Garden rake. Garden rakes have a fan shape with flexible tines, ideal for raking leaves and other garden debris. It’s probably the very first tool you ever bought when you moved into a house, right?
- Hard rake. Hard rakes have rigid tines that are best for raking up larger debris and smoothing out the soil surface. You can make do with a garden rake for a while, but the hard rake is indispensable.
- Pruning saw. Got cuts bigger than ½” in diameter? You’ll need a pruning saw. Don’t even try to use your handheld pruners for these bigger cuts — you’ll be frustrated and may even ruin your other valuable tool.
- Digging shovel. For digging holes for trees, shrubs, and other large plants, you’ll need a shovel. While I previously said that the garden rake was likely your first purchase upon moving into a house, it was more likely to be a garden variety shovel. Pun totally intended. There are lots of shovel types out there — look for the one that has a rounded blade with a bit of a point to it.
- Garden fork. Garden forks have rigid tines that resemble an actual fork, and I love them for loosening up the soil and carefully digging around plant roots. Sometimes a shovel is too much action around tender plants, and other times, a shovel’s blade can’t penetrate hard soil very easily. Enter the garden fork!
- Hand trowel. I use my hand trowel for planting anything smaller than a 1-gallon pot. Small plants often come in 4-or-6” pots, and annuals often come in 6-packs — all requiring small, shallow holes for planting. Hand trowels make this task quick and easy and are essential garden tools.
Gifts Your Garden Lover Will Dig
Looking for great gifts for the gardener in your life they wouldn’t think to buy themselves? Look no further!
1. Magazines & Books. I defy you to find a gardener who doesn’t like garden magazines or drool-worthy garden books. These publications are eye-candy and provide hours of inspiration for plant combinations, garden design, DIY projects, and how-to’s. Does the gardener on your list have a particular plant obsession like coleus, cacti, or ferns? Get them a book that focuses only on that one plant so they can expand their knowledge.
2. Gift Certificates/Cards. If the person is notoriously picky or you’re unsure of what they already have, consider a gift certificate or gift card to a seed company, specialty plant company, or a garden supply store. Now your aunt can order those iris bulbs she’s been eyeing forever.
3. Garden Art. Although art is typically a personal purchase, sometimes inspiration can take over. Think wind chimes, glass water floats, peace poles, and garden signs. For years, I coveted those “head planters” — you know, the ones where the top of the head is open for planting a fern that looks like hair? Deterred by the price tag, I was finally given a gift certificate at an upscale garden shop, and I bought one for myself. Best. Gift. Ever.
4. Garden Journal. So many garden journals, so little time. Look for a journal that mirrors the person’s personality — sentimental gardeners will love journals with garden quotes, while rugged types will cherish a leather-bound version and practical people will appreciate a spiral book with a laminated cover.