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The Best Garden Tools for Beginners

Discover the best garden tools for beginner gardeners. These practical tools will last many seasons and help achieve your garden goals. I’ll show you how to jumpstart your gardening with all the things you need the most.

Chive blossoms blossom on top of chives ready to be harvested.

Although I have only gardened a handful of seasons myself, I have found that there are several very necessary tools in order to be successful. You can be the most seasoned gardener in the world, but without certain tools the job could not be done. At least not efficiently. 

Gardening requires a good deal of planning and work prior to and throughout the growing season. By having some of the best garden tools at your disposal, you’ll be able to get this work done much more easily.

Work harder, not smarter, right? At least that’s my motto.

From the beginning I thought that gardening would be as easy as dropping some seeds into the ground and picking fruits and veggies when they were ready. All done! Nope…

A seedling sprouts from the earth.

Not only do the arrangements take care and preparation, but there is also a list of other tasks to accomplish to get the beds ready. Soil preparation, for one. Composting and fertilizing. Planting, weeding, watering, troubleshooting diseased plants and pests. Then there’s harvesting. Then there’s more harvesting. Then, maybe more planting if you grow throughout multiple seasons. 

I couldn’t imagine doing this without all the best garden tools. Very thankful to have these by my side during all of the laborious work.

Today, I am going to share with you some of my personal favorite tools. These are particularly great for the beginner gardener, as I still consider myself a novice. I believe in sharing all the learning moments and tips with you on my gardening journey…

Vegetable seeds lay across a table.

The Best Garden Tools

Corona  SoilRIPPER 8-in Steel Hand Tiller

This hand tiller works great for breaking up soil if I’m adding bulbs, bushes, or trees around the patio or house. I love that it’s self cleaning and easy to use. It is also very affordable and durable. 

A hand tiller is shown with red handles.

If you have any smaller sections of land that need soil broken up, this will work great. Also, if your soil is looser, it could even work in some larger areas. Though it’ll require more energy and time than a traditional tiller. I think this is great for beginners who are just starting out and maybe don’t have a ton of space to garden.

Cultivator 

Okay, so this may be an unpopular opinion: You can use a cultivator in place of a tiller. That’s if you’re doing some backyard gardening rather than trying to prepare soil in a larger space. 

Since I am a suburban gardener, I can still get by using a cultivator, which is more affordable and lower powered, to prepare my two garden beds. 

Is it technically the right thing to use? Not really. Cultivators are made to blend and aerate the soil before planting, while a tiller is higher powered and suited for breaking and loosening up soil. They are similar, but have their respective differences. However, we could not afford a $600-$1,000 tiller for our backyard garden. For now, a cultivator will just have to do.

Before making this decision, consider how often/long you will use it, how much land you need to till, and your budget. I am willing to bet that although this more budget-friendly cultivator works great for now, we will need a replacement in 2-4 years. By then, I will be able to invest in something higher-powered that will last for a decade or more.

A cultivator is shown from Home Depot.

So far, we like this Legend Force cultivator. My husband did have to go through our clay soil twice to make it work (and we still have a few grass patches–oops!). However, as I’ve said, it was a good compromise between a hand tiller and a high-end, gas-powered tiller. We will see how long it lasts!

A cottage style picket fence lines a property where gardening occurs daily.
A picket fence lines the property around a cottage, with its gate opening to a suburban garden.

Rake

Any garden rake will do for this. It doesn’t need to be expensive, just durable. A rake is one of the best garden tools because it allows a gardener to smooth out soil after tilling. Additionally, I use it to spread out compost and/or topsoil in garden beds when I need to. 

Simply start on one side and work from one end of the garden to the other. Use long, even strokes to really smooth soil over evenly.

Hoe

A hoe is an essential tool for any gardener. It’s one of the best garden tools you can use to break up chunks of soil. It’s especially great for our clay soil that is dense and tends to clump up. 

I like using a hoe for controlling weeds, too. Honestly, this has saved me so much time this year in the garden. Squatting down for an hour or more to pick every single weed by hand is not fun and can be laborious. Though using a hoe also requires some energy, it is much more efficient. I use a paddle hoe to slice off weeds at the root. For specific tips on using a hoe in your garden, visit this website here to learn more.

Digging shovels, square and pointed

Everyone needs a shovel to garden. Affordable and versatile, this is a must have for any gardener. We even use a square digging shovel for other landscaping projects when precision is needed. Straight-edged with perfect corners, this shovel is great for accuracy when creating borders and working around edges.  

Obviously, we use it for gardening too. It digs holes, carries dirt when we need just a little from one spot to the next. I have also used it to move compost to the garden. This will be one of the first things you invest in.

Additionally, it may be wise to invest in a pointed digging shovel if you have soil that contains rocks and lots of roots. The sharp point will help break this up much more easily than a square one. 

I do not have a preference on brand when it comes to shovels, but we own a Craftsman shovel and another lesser known brand, too. When shopping for shovels, select the most durable one you can find in your budget.

Marigold seedlings begin to sprout from their container pots.

Hand trowel

A hand trowel is perfect for the beginner gardener, especially if you’re sticking to container gardening. I like using a hand trowel that has measurements. This allows the gardener to see how deep they are digging and comes in handy when planting seeds or transplanting seedlings. These are great to use for simpler tasks, too, such as transplanting flowers into planter boxes or around patio spaces.

A hand trowel is laying out alongside other gardening supplies.

Gardening gloves 

Gardening gloves will save your hands if you’re doing lots of shoveling. They can help prevent blisters and also shield hands from getting dirty. I use them if I’m going to be messing with my compost or transplanting plants/bushes. I sometimes like to have more free range when working and will remove them for certain tasks, but they’re great for protecting the hands in many instances. If you’re still squeamish about worms and other bugs this may be a good idea to invest in these. I personally use Digz gardening gloves.

Gardening gloves make the best garden tools list and are pictured laying across a table.

Pruning shears

Pruning shears are on my list of the best garden tools because they allow me to properly prepare my trees and bushes in the spring. Pruning them in spring allows me to set them up for success, allowing them to grow correctly and more efficiently. I also use them to cut flowers throughout the seasons. 

A seed packet box stores seeds for next season.

Garden hose with adjustable nozzle

The garden hose is an essential tool for watering your garden between rain showers. Summers here in the Midwest can often get dry and very hot. We definitely make good use of our gardening hose. Just be sure you buy one that is long enough to extend to your garden.

Having an adjustable nozzle allows me to control the range and power of the stream, allowing more even, consistent watering. This is one of the best, most essential garden tools for a gardener. 

Watering can 

A watering can is so beneficial to have around. I use it daily to water outdoor hanging planters and containers around my patio. I just sometimes don’t want to carry a heavy hose halfway around the house to water a handful of smaller plants and flowers. Smaller ones work great for indoor plants as well. I have had success using both metal and plastic watering cans.

A watering can makes the list for best garden tools and is pictured on a hardwood floor.

Wheelbarrow 

A beginner gardener may not always need a wheelbarrow their first year. If you’re just dabbling in gardening, maybe this isn’t necessary. 

Believe me, after you become addicted to gardening, using one of these will come in handy for lots of projects, though. 

If you have several acres, this is probably one of the best garden tools you could have on hand. Wheelbarrows are used for hauling soil, compost, and other supplies to and from the garden. We don’t use ours a ton since we have a hilly yard, but it especially came in handy when hauling gravel to our patio last year when we built our pea gravel patio space. We use one similar to this wheelbarrow.

A box sits on a table for storing garden seeds.

More Gardening Inspiration

Beginner Gardening Tips for Organic Gardening  

How to Make an Indoor Succulent Garden  

My 2022 Garden Plans  

What I Learned From Gardening in Clay Soil  

How to Start Composting

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