So - you’ve made the decision to start gardening but don’t know where to begin. Well, let’s start with the things you can’t do anything without: tools. A few key tools will help you tackle the main gardening jobs season after season.
Here we’ll talk you through the basics and lay out a list of the most essential gardening tools that you should have.
A beginner’s list of basic gardening tools and equipment
Here’s a handy list featuring seven of the most essential gardening tools and what they’re for.
No gardener can garden without their gloves. They’ll stop you getting thorned or stung and will provide general protection as you rip up weeds, prune prickly hedges or gather materials for the compost heap. Some are extra tough for more demanding garden jobs, but a regular pair of gardening gloves will suit you fine for everyday tasks.
Pruners - otherwise known as secateurs - are essential all year round. Plants always need pruning and deadheading to keep your garden tidy and to promote healthy growth. You might come across two types of pruners - bypass and anvil - but the bypass type will do for everyday pruning. Anvil pruners are more suitable for cutting through tough or dead wood.
Hose or watering can
These are certainly essential for maintaining a healthy garden. Along with sunlight, plants need water most of all, and a top-up every now and then will help them thrive, particularly during the warmer months. Potted plants and hanging baskets especially need plenty of water, as do fruit trees and bushes to bring on plump, juicy fruits. A watering can will work well, but a hose can help speed up the job - just make sure you choose the spray setting rather than full flow to avoid damaging delicate root systems.
A hand trowel is an essential tool for lots of jobs, including weeding, digging small holes to plant bulbs and scooping up soil when potting plants. Stainless steel ones are excellent as they’re durable and long-lasting.
With a garden fork you’ll be able to maintain the soil and prep your garden for planting. It will easily cut through stony ground and can be used to dig up large weedy areas, break up compacted or clay soil and aerate it. Opt for a hand trowel if you have a very small area to tend; go for a fork with a long handle if your area is larger. That way, you can use your body weight to press into the fork and dig down deep.
One of the most essential gardening tools for sowing, a rake breaks down soil into a fine texture and levels it off so it’s flat, which is perfect for starting off your seeds. You can also use a rake to gather up leaves during autumn of course, and use the back of one to tamp the ground and firm it down before laying turf.
While a hand trowel is good for weeding small areas, a Dutch hoe is a must-have if you’ve got a larger area and don’t want to end up with backache. Lightweight to use, it clears weeds quickly and easily. It’ll also help you dig shallow troughs for sowing seeds - simply tilt it diagonally and drag it evenly across the soil to create a line.