Essential Tools for the Garden

Gardening is one of my favorite past times. Doing it right is even more fun and growing with minimal effort is even more rewarding. Having the right equipment on hand while gardening will make everything go smoother which translates into healthier plants.

Here we overview some of the essential tools for gardening. We also go through some of the variations of the basic tools to find the absolute perfect tool for your project.



Shovels are a must for almost any project. I’ve always said that with all of the shovel work I have done in the garden, I should hang a shovel above my mantel one day. There is a lot of digging, moving soil, leveling, and general upkeep that all requires shovels.

Shovels usually consist of a metal, curved blade attached to a utility pole. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. Digging out irrigation might require a shovel with a narrower blade, while moving a lot of soil will require a larger blade.

Even more delicate things like transplanting will require even smaller shovels. Trowels can be used at this point to do some fine-tuned digging. You can even take it one step further and use a spoon for super delicate plants. Just don’t get caught digging a hole to China with a spoon.


Hoes are similar to shovels in that a blade is attached to some sort of pole for you to hold on to. They also come in many varieties to fit the project you are working on.

Hoes have a flat blade for their head and are usually attached at an angle. They typically are used for weeding and moving soil around established plants.


Hand pruners, loppers, and even scissors fit into this category. Gardening takes a lot of pruning, clipping, weeding, and debris removal. This work will require something to cut the material up before hauling it away.

There are different sizes, locking mechanisms, grips, and leverage angles you can get. So make sure to pick the right one for the project you are working on.


Rakes are used to scoop up debris, level ground, create uneven ground, and much more. This is another tool that has many varieties for the various projects you are working on. In fact, it is often a good idea to have multiple kinds laying around.

Rakes are similar to shovels and hoes in that they are attached to a long utility pole. Rakes fan out at their heads, forming a large area of small teeth, blades, or hooks. These smaller areas are used to scoop smaller debris from a larger area.

There is a right tool for every project and every tool has a unique style of working. Choosing the right tool will make the time spent in your garden more enjoyable. Many people even fall in love with their tools as they age and work alongside them. Do you have a favorite tool that you use?

Photos: Pleuntje,  Nadya Peek

PrintBy Jake Frazier

Jake Frazier is an outdoor enthusiast and the owner of Residential Ecology, a sustainable ecological resource management company. He uses existing natural systems to improve the quality of life for both humans and the Earth. Jake is interested in permaculture, living systems and exploring. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

2 thoughts on “Essential Tools for the Garden

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s