Best Tools for Gardening Beginners

The equipment every newbie needs

A bad workman blames his tools. There’s some merit to the expression. But in some cases, you do need good tools to help you do your job properly. It’s even a little arrogant to assume that you don’t need help from time to time. Otherwise, you run the risk of being a tool yourself. 😉

Take gardening, for instance. Sure, you could go out there with your bare hands, unleashing havoc upon your unsuspecting shrubbery in some weird form of anger management. But you’d be far better off stocking up on a few gardening essentials first. Especially if you’re a beginner gardener.

Don’t know where to start? That’s ok – this post should clear up any confusion!

I think someone needs to add some window cleaner to their toolbox!

5 tools for new gardeners

I recommend gathering these bits ‘n’ bobs before stepping foot into your garden. (Well, unless you need to cross your garden to get to the car, to get to the store to buy these goods!)

But definitely have them ready before you commit to your first gardening session. Because you don’t want a lack of preparation putting you off what’s bound to be your new favourite hobby!

1. Gloves

Like a glove!

What? It’s 40 degrees outside and I’m sweaty enough already. Why on earth do I need to wear gloves?!

Calm down, I’m not talking about winter woolies here. No, I’m referring to a specific type of gloves called – erm – gardening gloves. No surprises there.

Gardening gloves are designed to protect your delicate digits from thorns, splinters, stings and scratches. If you’re worried about getting your hands dirty for some reason, or about breaking a nail, they’ve got you covered in that department, too.

Tips for finding your perfect pair:

  • Gardening gloves should be bulky enough to offer protection, yet flexible enough so that you can work with your hands properly.
  • They should fit you – well, like a glove. Too tight and you’ll get blisters, too loose and they’ll keep slipping off.
  • Look for a breathable, waterproof fabric to keep your hands cool ‘n’ comfy.
  • Choose longer cuffs to prevent excess soil getting in and to save your poor wrists from the clutches of Mrs Rose Thorne. That ol’ cow.

2. Pruning Shears

You got to trim it to win it!

Before Ed appeared with his gorgeous ginger ways, there was another thing sheeran around town. Pruning shears, that is. (Sorry. That was a particularly bad one.)

Anyway, these lads know all about keeping things Evergreen, too. (Again, sorry.)

Let’s move on. Basically, without a good set of shears, no one’s going to take you seriously as a gardener. Not even Mrs Rose Thorne. Your wild weeds and your boisterous bushes will laugh in your face. But if you step out in the sunlight, armed with the latest Scissor Sister… well. Shit’s about to get real.

Pruning shears help you nip problematic weeds firmly in the bud. Reigning in plants that are frankly, getting too big for their boots and keeping everything in order. Lovely jubbly.

Tips for finding your perfect pair:

  • If you need to cut away dead wood, go for anvil-style pruners. They’re made so that a sharp blade meets a flat surface – much like a knife on a chopping board.
  • To cut back live plants or green wood, choose bypass pruners. These bad boys are more like scissors, with a sharp blade passing by a sharp-edged flat surface. Edgy.
  • If you’ve got limited mobility in your hand – for instance, if you have a condition like arthritis – go for a set of ratcheting pruners. They’re pretty brutal. Just like ol’ Nurse Ratched and her shocking ways.
  • Remember, the size of your tool matters. You want a set of pruning shears that fit nicely in the palm of your hand.

3. Hand Trowel

trowels in the sand
Did someone say sand trowel?

Before you even consider throwing in the towel, invest in a trowel! These nifty numbers make every novice gardener’s job sooo much easier. Why? Well, you don’t have to scrabble around in the soil, wasting excess energy on pulling and patting with your fingers. Your hand trowel saves you the effort.

Use them as a makeshift tray for carrying bedding plants and herbs around. Call on them to plant any containers you need to contain stuff. Tackle Weedy Winston and the rest of his green gang simply by turning them over a new leaf. The power is in your hands.

When trawling for a trowel:

  • Remember to choose one that fits easily in your hand. It’s called a hand trowel for good reason.
  • Pick the blade that’s fit for purpose. A broad blade is handy for moving lots of soil, while a long, narrow one is great for rockier soil (or for dealing with Weedy Winston & Co.)
  • Don’t be swayed by the cheapest version. A hand trowel is one of the most important pieces of gardening equipment you’ll buy, so you want one that’ll last. So look for a stainless steel one – or at least one with a stainless steel head – that’ll be durable and dependable in any weather.

4. Watering Can

Double watering cans! This guy is next level.

Next to badass tools like your pruning shears and your hand trowel, you might scoff at the humble watering can. Who are you gonna scare with a little water? The Wicked Witch of the West?!

But that’s not the point here. The watering can giveth, not taketh away. It’s not something that your garden fears – it’s something it depends on, as its main source of life. And for that reason, it should be revered.

Speaking of reverence, the very act of walking around your garden with a watering can in hand, sprinkling droplets onto the upturned faces of your precious plants, is a great exercise in mindfulness. It’s quite a calming experience, and one I’d highly recommend after a stressful day.

Yes, you can! Canny shopping tips for the right can:

  • Decide whether you want plastic or metal. Metal is more durable – but it’s also heavier. So if you’re as ripped as The Rock, go for a metal one. If not, you can console yourself with the fact that plastic ones come in super-pretty colours!
  • If you do buy a metal can, make sure to galvanise it to prevent rusting. That’s definitely what The Rock would do.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew – ie, don’t buy a can that’s too heavy to carry.
  • Test it out – checking that the position of the handle will allow you to carry a full can and also enable easy pouring. Do your best “I’m a little teapot” impression in the shop if you’re not sure.
  • Decide if you need one or two – bigger cans with sprinkler heads are great for outdoors while smaller, long-necked ones are handy for houseplants.

5. Sunhat

Girl in sunhat
Now, that is how your rock a sunhat! This girl knows her stuff!

If you’re going to be a serious gardener, you’ve got to look the part. You’ve already donned your gloves, you’re clutching a trowel in one hand and a pruning shears in the other. Your funky new watering can rests at your feet.

But you’re missing one key thing – a sunhat, of course! What’re you going to do, expose your poor head to the harsh sunlight and allow it to burn? No, no, no – don’t do it. Especially if you’re the type who needs extra protection for your scalp. Cover it up.

Yes, you can! Canny shopping tips for the right can:

  • Choose one that you can actually see in. Floppy Audrey Heburn styles are great and all, but not if you accidentally end up stabbing yourself in the foot.
  • Straw hats are nice and breathable, but just make sure the crisscross pattern isn’t set too wide apart – otherwise, hilarious tan lines await.
  • Don’t be afraid to don a bonnet – hats that you can secure with a ribbon or tie beneath your chin means you can get gardening without the fear of sudden hat fall. Phew.

Ready, Set, Hoe!

Start out with these 5 basic tools and you’ll be a gardening god (or goddess!) in no time. They’re really all you need at this stage in your journey.

Then, when you’re ready, you can incorporate even more tools in your box. Yay!

Until then, use the tips I’ve shared to guide you in your shopping quest. Get started sooner rather than later and don’t worry… if your garden isn’t an instant masterpiece, you can always blame your tools. Or me. 😉

Happy growing!