Top 10 Essential Tools for Beginner Gardeners

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Top 10 Essential Tools for Beginner Gardeners


Got a gardening project in mind but no idea where to start? Our top ten 10 essential tools for beginner gardeners is everything you need to successfully contend with whatever mother nature throws at you!

Tools for Beginner Gardeners: Gloves


Gloves are a crucial tools for beginner gardeners. These handy little components act to protect us from a number of different factors that have the potential to be harmful.  Failure to purchase these essential tools could leave your skin susceptible to cuts, splinters, stings, bites, chemicals and even fungal infections!


There are multiple styles of gardening gloves on the market. Depending on the jobs that need tending to in your garden, you may decide to seek a pair designed specifically for the task at hand.


For your first pair however, we recommend sticking with the traditional gardening glove. They are made of multiple materials, extremely versatile and the most commonly available. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when seeking out your perfect pair.


Flexibility: In order to complete any tasks in your garden with ease, your fingers need to be able to move freely. When trying gloves on, attempt to make a fist with your hands.  If this movement feels difficult or is restricting, these aren’t the gloves for you.


Padding: The majority of gardening gloves will be padded to offer you protection against the elements. Whilst you want a good barrier to defend you against injury, you want to avoid overly bulky gloves.  You need to be able to use your fingers for delicate operations too like working with seeds.


Fit: Avoid wearing loose fitting gloves. Make sure your hands are not sliding around inside the glove. Looser gloves tend to slip down or off altogether, leaving your hand vulnerable to injury. You also don’t want them so tight that they restrict movement or rub and cause blisters. You want to find the happy medium.


Wrist Strap: For the ultimate protection consider a glove with a velcro wrist strap.  This will keep the outside elements from being able to enter the glove and getting on your hands.

Pruning Shears


A good gardener would be lost without their shears. These multi functional tools are designed for trimming branches, re-shaping bushes, eliminating diseases and maintaining the good growth of your plants making them one of the ultimate tools for beginner gardeners.

Similarly to gloves, they come in a few different varieties. Depending on the size of the job you intend to complete you may want to opt for a particular set of shears.  Here is a quick guide to the types of shears on the market and their purpose.

A bonus essential tool for beginner gardeners is our Gardener’s Guide to Pruning

Bypass Pruner: 

These are the most common tools for beginner gardeners and will make an ideal first pair. They work similarly to scissors, so they are ideal for making clean cuts with precision.  They are most effective when used to cut small branches and twigs from trees or bushes.

Anvil Pruners:

An essential tool for cutting any hardened dead wood.  They’re not recommended for use on live wood.  They are a bit bulkier than a Bypass Pruner and so are best avoided if trying to achieve close cuts.  They are ideal for cutting removed branches into smaller pieces, making them easier to dispose of.

Ratchet Pruners:

These work in the same way that Anvil Pruners do with one small difference.  Ratchet Pruners are designed to cut the wood in stages, which makes the job a lot less strenuous.  If you are someone with a lot of pruning to do, or hands that tire easily these are the pruners for you!

Soil Testing Device


If you are reading this blog, there is a high probability that you are itching to start filling your garden with all kinds of plants! Before you leap into your garden and begin digging for victory, we suggest you invest in a soil testing device.


Whilst some debate whether this step is essential, we can assure you, getting your hands on one of these could save a lot of heartbreak and cost later on down the line. A soil testing device is one of the most overlooked tools for beginner gardeners to utilise. 

It is a great idea to investigate the nutritional properties of your soil before purchasing any plants.  Some soils may lack certain requirements essential to the healthy growth of your desired project. Armed with this knowledge, you can take steps to amend the situation and provide any minerals to your soil that it may lack.


Figuring out the PH level of your soil will help you to identify which nutrients are most prevalent.  This will also help you to decide which plants are most suited for growth in your soil.  Daffodils, Azaleas and Hydrangeas thrive in soil that is slightly acidic.  Whereas Honeysuckle, Lavender and Lily of the valley prefer Alkaline soil.

Hand Trowel


This humble tool is one of  the most simplistic tools for beginner gardeners everywhere! They are perfect for completing tasks like digging holes for planting, clearing soil and transplanting herbs and plants.  They also provide an advantage when tackling encroaching weeds.  Their size makes them ideal for competing tasks in smaller patches of soil.


Look for a trowel with a stainless steel head.  This style will be more durable and will ensure you get plenty of use out of it.


For bigger gardens you might find a spade more useful.  Spades are designed to cultivate rather than move earth.  They are great for digging larger plots for planting and re-shaping beds.

Watering Can


Whilst a watering can may seem pretty old fashioned, it is still a hugely popular sidekick in the gardening community. They are sturdy, easily portable and can be used in all gardens large or small.


Watering cans are traditionally either made out of metal or plastic. Plastic cans have the benefit of being lighter, making them easier to carry than metal versions. The downside is they tend to be less durable and will need replacing more frequently.  

If you opt for a metal can, you may need to galvanize it. This will provide the ultimate protection against rust.


Watering cans come in all shapes and sizes.  When shopping for the ideal can, consider the areas you will need to water and then factor in your strength.  It goes without saying the weight of your can will increase with the addition of water. Try not to be overly ambitious with size as this could cause strain or injury.

Garden Fork


Essential Tools for Beginner Gardeners: Garden Fork

It wouldn’t be very Fork-ful of you to attempt gardening without one of these essential tools for beginner gardeners.  Garden forks come in two sizes..

A Hand Fork…

is mainly used for working topsoil, removing weeds, taking care of unwanted growth and removing roots to stop regrowth. They are also great for making holes for planting, they are perfect for mixing any desired additives to your soil as well as aerating it.  Again, making sure your fork has a stainless steel head will improve the life of this irreplaceable tool.

A Digging Fork…

can do everything a hand fork can, but on a much tougher, larger scale.  This is optimal for digging up large plants, bulbs and stubborn roots.  They also are helpful for removing decaying leaves and other forms of debris from your garden.



Wheelbarrows are one of these tools for beginner gardeners that really can take the weight off your shoulders. They are by far the most favorable way to transport heavy items such as compost or mulch around.  They also assist in the moving of any cleared debris and are a safe way to carry multiple plants from A to B. Be sure to store your Wheelbarrow somewhere clean and dry to prevent damage from rust.



Rakes are affectionately regarded as the gardeners hairbrush.  They are most commonly known for their effectiveness in clearing large piles of fallen leaves. But this function merely scratches the surface.  Rakes can also assist in smoothing and shaping soil, catching hold of fine debris and are a safe way to evenly distribute fertilisers through soil. This makes the garden rake one of the most multi-functional tools for beginner gardeners!

There are a huge variety of styles and shapes of rake available on the market. For starters we recommend sticking with a standard leaf rake.  It will be perfect for all the functions outlined and is suitable for all garden types.

Moisture Meter


A moisture meter is a foolproof device that takes the guesswork out of watering your plants.  More experienced gardeners may be able to judge soil moisture without the help of a meter, but in the early days they are undeniably vital tools for beginner gardeners!


This tool has the ability to measure the moisture level within the area of the plant’s root systems. Not all plants require the same water to thrive.  A moisture meter indicates which plants are in need of water and which plants could benefit from less. Whether you are growing pot plants, or have large flower beds, a moisture meter is an accurate indicator of your plant’s water requirements.

 Tool Cleaner


All good gardeners know that clean tools for beginner gardeners are an absolute must when attempting any kind of outdoor work.  Failure to keep tools sanitised could be detrimental to your plants.  You could be unknowingly spreading infections and diseases around your garden that could threaten the life of your plants.

It is best to keep cleaning your tools regularly, before and after using them to complete a job as well as several times in between.  You don’t need any fancy materials to achieve this.  Regular soap and water is all it takes to keep tools hygienic.  

You may, however, decide you want to experiment with some stronger cleaning agents.  Disinfectant wipes are lightweight and easily portable tools for beginner gardeners, making them more desirable for some. This however could prove slightly expensive, depending on how large the project you are working on is.


Some gardeners recommend bleach to ensure completely bacteria free tools.  This is slightly more corrosive of an option for your tools and is best avoided unless completely necessary.

And there you have it, our top 10 list of essential tools for beginner gardeners! Now all that’s left to do is get out there and start creating!

Author: Emma Watson-Thomas

Content writer for Lloyd Tree Services.

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