Five Essential Starter Gardening Tools for Beginners

April 16, 2021 Updated: April 16, 2021

Gardening is a fun and inexpensive hobby with the potential of offering hours of fun and entertainment. What better way to enjoy the fresh air this spring than by trying your hand at growing some new plants? You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on purchasing supplies. This article will introduce you to the five most basic, essential tools that are both versatile and affordable, ensuring you get the best head start, at a minimal cost.


One of the most important tools you’ll need to embark on your gardening journey is investing in a shovel. This affordable, versatile tool will help you dig, scoop dirt, and loosen the soil. Some even come with measure lines to help you determine soil depth before planting a new plant.

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Shovels come in many shapes and sizes depending on your needs, but a general all purpose one can be a good starter tool for those larger jobs. (Sue Hughes/Unsplash)

Shovels can come in different sizes, from 27-inches to 46-inches, giving you more options when it comes to choosing one that best suits your requirements. There are lightweight shovels that cost cheaper and tend to be easier to handle but there are also heavier, sturdier ones that are also incredibly durable, capable of lasting almost a lifetime.

Ideal for shoveling large quantities of dirt and digging up bare ground, this is the perfect tool if you happen to have a backyard as it’ll enable you to unleash full gardening power.

Hand Trowel

This is another key tool that you should consider adding to your starter collection. Hand trowels are lightweight and powerful tools, very similar in appearance to a shovel, except that they are smaller and intended to be used for smaller gardening projects. Garden hand trowels are commonly used for digging small holes and planting bulbs, and annuals, or perennials. Consider using a larger tool, such as a shovel for digging and transplanting shrubs and trees.

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Tools, like the shovel are one of the most basic and most used tools. (Gryffyn, M/Unsplash)

The shovel part of the trowel can be made out of plastic or stainless steel, with the latter being the most durable material. They are also less prone to breakage and rust, making them an ideal investment that will pay for itself many years over. Store your hand trowel in a clean, dry place after using it, such as hanging it inside your shed or garage.

Garden trowels can also aid in weed removal by helping you dig them up from the roots. There are many trowels with various shaped blades, each useful for different garden projects. Narrow blades may work better at digging up weeds, while flatter ones are ideal for removing weeds with longer taproots. However, a regular, spear-head trowel is ideal for starter gardeners and can be the most versatile one for most beginner requirements.

Gardening Gloves

Owning a pair of sturdy, garden gloves is very important and keeps your hands protected from thorns, splinters, and blisters. They also help keep your fingernails dry and clean from dirt that may harbor harmful bacteria such as worms and parasites from the soil.

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Gloves are a necessity, to protect your hands while gardening, esp when pruning with shears. Pictured are bypass pruning shears. (ecowarriorprincess/Unsplash)

Gloves made out of a water-resistant material will help keep your hands dry when watering plants. The fit and size of the gloves are equally as important as they must provide you with the best possible protection without slipping off during use. Gloves should be durable but not bulky. They should fit snug and give you easy access to use your fingers adequately. From small, detailed work such as sowing seeds, to more labor-intensive projects like transplanting a tree root ball into the ground.

Most home and gardening stores will provide a range of styles and sizes in various price ranges, so be sure to browse them and pick out one that best suits your requirements.

Pruning Shears

Hand pruners are an incredibly useful tool to have in your starter toolkit. Small and compact but equipped with sharp, stainless steel blades, they are useful for trimming thin branches, stems, and leaves from plants. They are capable of cutting twigs up to ¾ inch—any more than that and you’ll require a more heavy-duty tool, such as a lopper.

Pruning shears come in two different blade types: bypass and anvil, the most common one being the bypass pruners. They make the ideal starter gardening hand tool as they require minimal hand exertion and make strong, sharp cuts. Anvil shears are more prone to resulting in plant stem breakage, if not properly sharpened or positioned, making them more suitable for experienced gardeners dealing with thicker, hardier branches.

Watering Can

Water is the number one ingredient besides sunlight, for healthy plant growth.

If you live in a small home with no access to a yard or watering hose, it would be ideal to invest in an inexpensive watering can for tending to your plants’ watering requirements.

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What symbol screams garden and gardening more than the watering can? Gardens large and small have them, for all kinds of uses. (Tetiana Shyshkina/Unsplash)

There are watering cans made out of plastic and some with galvanized metal, to minimize rust. The plastic ones tend to be more affordable and lightweight, but less durable as compared to metal cans. Plastic watering cans should be stored away after use to prevent them from becoming damaged by excess heat and sunlight.

By investing in these basic tools, you will be on your way to becoming a gardener in no time. After all, plants only require water, sunlight, and a sprinkling of good nutrients—why should you need more?