What Are the Most Useful Garden Tools?

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Choosing the Best Garden Tools for Your Patio or Backyard

Gardens help enhance the colorful look and refreshing feel of your outdoor oasis and can even be a functional addition to your home if you’re growing fresh fruits, veggies and herbs for your kitchen. Many people decide to take up gardening when they want to start a new hobby that boosts their mood and promotes a relaxing, low-stress environment in their backyard.

Having the proper gardening tools is essential when it comes to maintaining your lush lawn, thriving vegetable patch or beautiful flower beds. Depending on the size of your garden and the types of plants you’re growing, however, certain garden tool sets might work better for your purposes than others.


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Learn about the best tools for spacious backyard gardens vs. smaller patio garden boxes.

Garden Tool Sets and Individual Items

Whether you’re an experienced gardener or are looking to start growing flowers, herbs and produce for the first time, there are some staple garden tools that every plant enthusiast should have. Although garden tool sets at your local store might come with all sorts of handy items and accessories, these are some of the most common tools people use to tend their gardens.

Garden Hand Tools

As the name suggests, garden hand tools are small, hand-held items gardeners use when getting up close and personal with their plants. Tools in this category typically include:

  • Hand Trowel: A hand trowel is a tiny shovel that lets you break up the soil and dig small holes so you can plant seeds. You can also use them to transfer small plants from indoor flower pots to your outdoor garden.
  • Pruning Shears: When stems and branches in your garden become overgrown, you can use pruning shears to trim the plants and keep your garden tidy.
  • Weeders: Hand-held weeders let you cut and remove weeds from your garden, ensuring that your plants continue to thrive.
  • Hand Rake: Along with loosening up hard soil in your flower beds, hand rakes make it easier to remove dead leaves and debris from your garden.
  • Watering Can: Different plants require different amounts of water and sunlight. Using a watering can lets you control how much water each section of your garden gets so you can avoid overwatering and underwatering your greenery.

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Hand-held tools let you trim, prune and weed individual plants, making them great for potted plants and small gardens.

Lawn Care and Landscaping Tools

Some garden tool sets feature larger equipment for those taking on bigger landscaping or gardening projects. Lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, long-handle shovels, spades and rakes are common staples of these collections. Many large garden sets also include a long garden hose or sprinkler so you can water your lawn and all your plants simultaneously.

Gardening Accessories

Other garden tools and outdoor accessories help the gardening process run smoothly by bringing an extra stylish or practical touch to your yard or gardening space. For example, bins and baskets let you collect harvested fruits and vegetables, while gardening gloves help prevent you from pricking your fingers, getting blisters, and getting insect stings and bites while you’re working in your garden.

Sun hats protect you from harsh sunlight, while aprons help keep your clothes from getting dirty while working with soil and fertilizer. A garden stool, bench or kneeling pad gives you a place to rest while tending to your plants. You can also use labels to mark the different plants in each part of your garden and fun lawn ornaments and garden statues to spruce up the space.

Benches, sculptures and fountains can also make gorgeous garden tools.

What Garden Tools Do I Need?

Wondering what tools to use for gardening in your particular setup? Generally speaking, the answer depends on the size of your space. A set of garden hand tools is excellent for those with vertical gardens on their balconies or apartment patio gardens featuring planters full of lush greenery. Meanwhile, garden tool sets with larger equipment work better for those with big lawns and backyard gardens.

The types of plants you want to grow can also determine what garden tools would work best. A set of loppers would be perfect for trimming trees and large bushes, while hand-held pruning shears are better for tending delicate flowers and herbs. Likewise, a spray hose lets you water climbing plants on your garden wall, wind screen, pergola or gazebo faster than if you used a watering can.

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You typically need a combination of garden hand tools and larger lawn care equipment to tend to your yard and plants.

Maintaining and Organizing Your Gardening Tools

Whichever garden tools you pick, you need to make sure you perform regular maintenance to take proper care of them. One of the best ways to keep your tools in peak condition is to rinse the soil and fertilizer off of them after each use. You should also use specialized cleaning agents to scrub, oil and sharpen your garden tools and keep them from becoming rusty and dull over time.

A garden tool organizer is another important item for maintaining your gardening equipment. Whether you’re winterizing your backyard or just want to declutter and organize your patio, the following garden tool care and organization tips can help you keep your equipment out of the way and safe from the elements between uses:

  • Use dry rags to remove moisture from your metal garden tools and help prevent rust. If you notice any rust spots, use sandpaper or steel wool to remove them.
  • Disconnect and drain your water hoses and sprinkler systems, then patch up any holes and use a storage reel to prevent kinks and creases in the hose.
  • Before cleaning and sharpening the blades, run gas-powered weed whackers and lawnmowers until the fuel runs out. Remove spark plugs and batteries to keep them from accidentally starting while in storage
  • Mount large garden tools on racks in your garage or garden shed to keep them off the floor in case of floods. Place smaller garden hand tools on a console table or workbench, or stow them in a water-tight storage chest or bench.

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Console tables with storage shelves and drawers are great for elevating potted plants and organizing garden tools.

Garden tools are important for the health and beauty of your lawn and flower beds. Consider what types of plants you’re going to grow and how much room you have to work with, then decide what equipment you need to create the garden you want. Also, remember to care for and organize your tools to ensure their lasting quality.