8 Tools for the Beginner Backyard Gardener

If you are a beginner gardener, or if you are thinking about getting your hands dirty in the backyard after not having gardened for a while, you’ll need some tools.

The question is, which ones do you really need and which ones can you avoid spending money on?

Garden magazines and websites are filled with wonderful-looking, latest-and-greatest specialty tools. In time, you might find one that you can’t live without.

But for those gardeners just starting out or getting reacquainted with a backyard garden, let’s stick to the basics. Focus first on the core tools that will get the gardening job done. Here are eight of them:


Gardening means thorns, splinters, scratches and blisters from digging. Buy a durable pair that fits well and allows mobility and dexterity. Brush them off and dry them properly before storing and they will last the whole season.

Hand trowel

This is the “go-to” tool for planting, shaping holes and eliminating weeds. Stainless steel is the best bet if your budget permits.


These short-handled, square shovels are great for digging holes and moving mounds of dirt. Look for a strong steel head and a thick fiberglass handle. A good one will last forever.


A steel rake is great for breaking lumps of soil and sifting out rocks and bits of stick. A fan rake whisks away leaves and plucked weeds to keep your garden tidy and attractive.


Great for breaking up soil, turning it and creating rows ready for planting.

Hose and adjustable nozzle

Your hose must be able to reach every part of the garden. An adjustable nozzle or rain wand lets you control the reach and pressure of the water stream to avoid battering plants.


These are the perfect tools for pruning bushes and tree branches up to two inches in diameter. Great for shaping these plants and keeping them from shading the garden.


Simply the best tool for moving hundreds of pounds of material such as soil, mulch and stone without strain. Handy for transporting trays of new plants and tools. A good wheelbarrow will last a lifetime.


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