What garden tools do you really need?

There are so many different garden tools and gadgets out there, but if you’re a beginner in the garden, these essential tools you need to get started. Seasoned gardeners know you can make it work with just these tools – you don’t need to buy every trendy new item that hits the market!

Garden Tools for Working with Soil

Hori Hori Knife

Hori hori roughly translates to “dig dig.” This is truly a multi-purpose tool. I use it to measure planting depth (the blade has inch marks making this super easy), loosen up soil, cut open bags of compost, saw off small branches – you name it! 

Spade Hand Trowel

Spade hand trowels are used to dig out weeds, and mine is a staple in my garden bag. Barebones Living has the only trowel I have not broken in my years of gardening, making it a must-have in my kitchen garden.


A cultivator is essentially a rake that allows you to get through dense, rocky soil to remove weeds. I use a cultivator all the time to keep Creeping Charlie out of my garden (Creeping Charlie is an invasive weed species, not a weird neighbor, just to be clear.)

This gardening tool is also great for deep digging when you want to aerate the soil in your garden. Soil aeration helps to aid optimum nutrient absorption in your plants.   

Watering Can/Hose Nozzle

If there’s one garden tool I’m particular about, it’s my hose nozzle. I physically cringe when I see people blasting their plants away with a jet of water straight from the hose. What you really want is a gentle shower – something that mimics rain, the natural source of water for plants! You’re looking for full-flow watering without visible damage to plants or disruption to the soil. And with seeds and seedlings, you need to be even more gentle. 

I have two different hose nozzles that I use. One nozzle head has 400 holes and one has 750 holes. The more holes in your nozzle head, the more gentle the waterflow – so I use the 750 nozzle for seeds and seedlings and the 400 nozzle for established plants in my kitchen garden.

Garden Tools for Plant Care


I have two sets of pruners. One pair is heavy duty and can be resharpened. I also have a smaller pair with needle-nose clippers to precisely snip off individual leaves, which is great for harvesting lettuce and herbs.

Garden Gloves

I admit, I don’t always wear garden gloves. There’s something I secretly love about the dirt under my fingernails after tending the garden! But, when I’m continuously working with tools I usually throw on a pair of garden gloves to avoid blisters.  

It took me a while to find a pair of garden gloves I love. We all have different hand sizes and dexterity levels, so try out a couple different brands if you don’t like your first pair.

Plant Tags

Plant tags are so easy to DIY, but there are also a bunch of cute options out there to purchase. You can go as fancy as you want, or just use a Sharpie and a tongue depressor. Whichever way you do it, definitely make sure to find some way to mark your seeds and seedlings when planting. Even if it’s just a temporary measure until you map your garden in your garden guidebook, it’s better to be safe than sorry and forget what you planted where! 

Rubbing Alcohol

Use rubbing alcohol to disinfect your garden tools. If you’re pruning diseased leaves, the last thing you would want is to spread the disease to healthy plants in your garden. If you don’t clean your garden tools between plants and in between uses, your chances of spreading disease skyrocket.  

Do you have any garden tools you think are a must-have that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments!

Check out some of my other favorite garden products here!