Garden Tools 101


I’ve been on the hunt for that great, new gardening tool for this upcoming season. And I’ve found myself overwhelmed by the number of tools out there. It got me thinking, what’s with all these tools anyway? I mean, gardeners long ago got by using just their hands and maybe some sort of shovel.

I’ve found a lot of products, read a lot of reviews and I’m unsure of what all the fuss is about. Seems to me like all you need are a few staples, like a pruner, trowel and shovel.

RP Photo

If you’re a beginner gardener, like me, this garden tool basics story on our website will come in handy. Find out exactly what a hand fork is used for! And if you’re a seasoned pro, it might be a good refresher on your basic garden tools.

I’d like to know– what’s the one garden tool you can’t live without? And what “new” garden tools have you tried lately?


  1. Jill StaakeJill (Southeast) says

    My Cape Cod Weeder is the best tool I’ve ever owned. It cuts through tough weeds, churns up the soil, and even digs holes for planting. If I could only have one gardening tool for the rest of my life, this is the one I would pick, hands down.

    P.S. If I could have only TWO gardening tools, I’d add these Fiskars Bypass Pruners.

  2. says

    I use every common gardening tool. (Some uncommon too) Never so much into the handheld gimmicks and one time TV only specials but actual tools. I’m currently adding very nifty traditional Japanese tools to the arsenal. As for gimmicks, I actually do endorse the Garden Weasel (with center weasel removed)…LOL. (works more as advertised)

    If given the choice, one I cannot live without? The sod lifter.

    A tool I’d never seen nor handled until the mid-late 1980’s that I found quite intimidating at first. I was taught how to use these backwards of their intended use as bed edging tools. There is none finer if one already knows how to edge with a garden spade. Using these as designed allows for easy bed enlargement while maintaining use as an edger (vids forthcoming to the wp blog or newer blogger). There are but a few on the market, I can only recommend the longest for a tall person and the shorter for folks of smaller stature. Any will work, comfort adds to function. Whichever works for you but you won’t likely be able to do comparison shopping at a nursery or garden center. If shopping online there are less than 6 major different mfgs., compare overall length to tools you’re familiar and comfortable with.

    For the actual “lifting of sod”? They work, not something any human should torture themselves with unless we’re talking a few square feet. For bed edging, retouch? Incredible once you’ve got the hang of it. Faster than a spade with the exception of heavy clay soil. Even in clay, retouching an edge can be amazingly fast compared to anything, power tools included. (and yes, I’m comparing to a high-quality $500 bed redefiner that makes a disturbing mess of a fancy edged border)

    Can’t attach images or video here but I will add both to my garden-related blogs before spring is gone. It is the one tool I must have in my inventory that most folks don’t even know exists. Everyone has a long handled round point shovel, I have a few but I don’t even need them as I use my garden spades for 90% of my actual digging. Theoretically I believe I could live without a round point shovel. Compared, a sod lifter is worth it’s weight in gold. I do use a string trimmer for “perfection” touch-up regardless of my edging tool preferred for each job. Photos can’t show what video will in regard to time spent, ease of use, and desired results.


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