The Top 10 Tools Every Gardener Really Needs.

Many tools are unnecessary. The Top 10 Tools Every Gardener Really Needs tells you which tools are worth it and how to use one tool in multiple ways! Consider putting a few, or all of them, in your arsenal.

Want more inspiration for starting your garden? Check out The Garden Checklistand these tips on Managing and Monitoring Your Garden, and don’t miss Five Steps to Create your garden!


So, how much fun is it when you get all pumped and suited up to go work in your garden,
you get out there, and you realize you don’t have the tool for the job?!

At times, we improvise. We use kitchen knives for digging taproots, or forks to cultivate… try to chop through that branch with that rusty old ax (You know that’s just for rustic garden decor, right?)

We have all been there … Well at least I have! Improvising is great- there is a lot of troubleshooting that goes on in the garden. There are also some great tips in the Garden checklist on reusing items you have in the garden to save money!

 Good quality tools will last you forever and save you tons of time and effort. The first three tools in the top 10 tools every gardener really needs are actually used for wildfire management, so you know they are efficient and they will last a long time!

Let’s start with the number one top 10 tools every gardener really needs- you guessed it:

Top Tools for your Garden

1. Shovel

When in doubt, use a shovel. But not any old shovel!
Consider a fire shovel.

You also want a shovel handle that is at least shoulder height, so you have plenty of leverage.
Short handled shovels are out!

Not just for digging, but also for cutting roots with it’s sharp pointed edge.
Use the shovel at an angle to clear debris.
Mark your shovel with inches and feet and use it as a measuring tool!

From time to time, you will need to sharpen the edge of your shovel, and also clean and oil the handle to keep it strong from all the abuse. Any wooden handle can be replaced on any tool.

2. Mcleod

A rake and a hoe in one, plus sharp edges allow for excellent results.

This is the most heavy duty rake around, you can use it for rocks and it will not bend. Use it for leaves and it will amaze you!

If you already have a leaf rake or a metal tined rake, those work great too. Leaf rakes are not great for rocks, but you can still use a metal rake for leaves and rocks!

3. Pulaski or pickaxe

Both can be used for tilling up the earth.

The pointed end of the pickaxe is great for getting up large stubborn rocks, and the sharp flat end doubles as a narrow hoe, which can till up soil and chop roots.

The Pulaski also has a sharp flat end (A little shorter than the pickaxe), and on the other end is an axe.

If you want to invest in an axe, you might as well get a Pulaski because it can double as an axe and a tilling tool.

If you have lots of rocks, get the pickaxe! You can still do a little chopping with the sharp flat end.

If you are lucky and don’t have too many rocks, a hoe will do the job.

Work smarter, not harder!

4. Clippers

Countless uses for these guys, clipping roots, string, pruning plants, harvesting, you name it.

Some clippers even come with a handy belt holster, so when you need to cut something you don’t have to search for the clippers, yet again. Not to mention how stylish you will look …

But seriously, if you are all about time and efficiency, having your clippers on hand is great!

5. Loppers or hand saw

If you have larger things that need to be cut, have some loppers.

The longer handles give you more leverage when cutting bigger roots or branches that get in the way of your garden space.

A hand saw also uses momentum to cut larger branches, and will cut even larger branches than loppers will.

You might not even need to cut anything at this point, but either tool is great to have on hand when you run into something.

6. Kneeling pad

I cannot express how much easier it is to garden with one of these, especially when weeding by hand trying to get all of those little darn weeds.

I will say that I did NOT have one of these this season, and longed for one each moment.

As you are moving in an orderly manner throughout your garden in the final details of weeding and picking out rocks, you will be on your knees a great deal.

Or, you will spending a lot of time squatting because you don’t want to kneel because you don’t have a kneeling pad!

7. Hori hori

This digging hand tool also doubles as a root cutter. With a 6” blade serraded on both sides,
one side also has measuring marks for planting seeds and bulbs at the correct depth.

This tool is awesome for planting rows and individual seeds, as well as digging up short taproots.

Yet, another tool that comes with a stylish belt holster (You’re starting to look pretty good, there!)

This one will last you forever.

The word “Hori” is Japanese for “Dig”, so this tool’s name means “Dig dig”! Gotta love your tools!

8. Dandelion digger

When you are dealing with looooong taproots, this is your best friend.
If you read our post on garden battle strategies, you will see a few example pictures of taproots that are extremely long!

They also break really easily if you use the wrong tool- I have done this waaay too many times!

If a piece of the root is left in the ground, it’s highly likely that it will grow back – stronger this time … weeds really are like monsters of the deep!

Once your garden is established, a dandelion digger is a great tool to use near your mature plants as it minimally disturbs the roots because of its long skinny fashion.

9. Trowel

I love my shovel. This is the shovel’s offspring, the hand trowel- equally loved for its convenience.

When you are moving dirt around, and moving it again, and again … it’s GREAT to have a hand trowel that holds dirt, rather than one that is very flat.

The flat ones are great for digging up plants and some weeds, but if you want your hand trowel to be able to hold some dirt for potting and transplanting, this is an excellent model.

10. Claw cultivator

Yes. Please!

It is hard to find a good one these days. If you can’t find an older one at a yard sale, (Those are the best!) this one is curved like the older ones.

Most of the current models have angled tines instead of curved ones. The curved tines hook onto weed roots more efficiently, and make for faster, easier work! Who doesn’t like that?

Mostly, the cultivator is great for the fine details of garden prep: weeding, picking rocks, mixing in soil or fertilizer, or potting plants. however, it is also used throughout the season for weeds with fibrous roots as well.

Claws also help conserve soil when pulling weeds out because you can shake excess dirt back into the garden before discarding the weed. This is harder to do when using a shovel or trowel.

Take care when weeding with your claw around the root systems of your established plants, as they could be damaged if disturbed too much. (See # 9 for a tool for weeding around established plants!)

Looking through these top 10 tools every gardener really need, you might find that you don’t even need all 10 of them! Get what you REALLY need to get started, and go from there!

Want to save this list for later?  Please pin this image to your Gardening Pinterest board:

Here are some helpful links for setting up your garden:

RELATED POSTS FOR Best Tools for your Garden:

THANK YOU FOR READING OUR TIPS ON setting up your garden!