How to Choose Basic Garden Tools

How to Choose Basic Garden Tools
  • Opening Intro -

    Planting a garden can be satisfying, allowing the gardener to enjoy the fruit of her labors in short order.


A rich mixture of perennials and annuals can keep your garden looking great from early spring to late fall, with strategically placed shrubbery helping to complete its special look.

What if you’re new to gardening? What should you plant? Before you begin planting, you’ll need to have some basic tools on hand. Buy them new and you may easily spend more than $100 before even the first seed or plant gets in the ground. Read on for some ideas on how to choose affordable basic garden tools.

Manage your expectations. Novice gardeners are sometimes intimidated when it comes to getting their first garden going and may look at a neighbor’s garden longingly, wanting the same look for their own gardens. In reality, most established gardens have taken shape over the years and continue to evolve as owners replace drought ruined plants or incorporate changes reflecting their current tastes. Start simple and your vision will expand as your understanding and appreciation for gardening grows.

Make a list. With your expectations in line, you’ll want to assemble the tools needed to help get your garden started and keep it maintained throughout the summer months. A spading fork is useful for breaking up and turning over dirt. A hoe will help you with your weeding and provide a cultivation for water and nutrients to penetrate. A watering can help you reach those areas of your garden beyond the reach of your garden hose and may be more gentle on delicate plants and young seedlings. A round-ended shovel is useful for planting shrubs and trees and a bow rake can cover more ground than a spading fork while doing the same thing: tilling soil. Lastly, a pair of garden shearers will allow you to prune branches, remove foliage and deadhead flowers and bushy plants.

Shop used. With your list in hand, visit local garage sales and consignment shops before buying anything new. One important reason for buying used is that you may find you really don’t like to garden. Why invest big bucks in what may turn out to be a one-year wonder? That’s why when you head off to the garage sales you’ll be buying what the other one-year gardeners have decided to sell. You may be surprised: many people try gardening, quit and then sell their tools the following spring. At cheap prices too!

If gardening turns out to be a delight for you, then you’ll be buying additional tools down the line including dandelion poppers, a bulb dibber, a rototiller and other fun “gardening” toys. But, not yet — use this year to discover if you do, indeed, have a green thumb.

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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".