A quick list of garden hand tools

How much you enjoy gardening can depend heavily on whether or not you're using the right garden hand tools for the job. Here's a quick list of must-have tools.

A quick list of garden hand tools


  • The trowel is an essential tool for planting and lifting small plants, especially in confined areas such as windowboxes and other containers.
  • Choose a sturdy trowel with a long blade, but make sure the blade's not too broad.

Hand fork

  • Use your hand fork to till the soil (a garden claw is also good) and to loosen the soil when weeding around small plants.

Long-handled pruner

  • Use your pair of long-handled pruners to cut branches that are too high up to reach otherwise.
  • You can also use the extra leverage that this tool gives you to cut branches that are too tough or thick for regular pruning shears.


  • Shears are used for clipping and shaping hedges and trimming small patches of grass.
  • It's important that your shears are well-balanced or they'll be tiring to use.

Hose with trigger nozzle

  • A hose with a trigger nozzle saves water and is compulsory in some cities and towns.
  • When not in use, neatly wind up your garden hose and hang it on a large hook or bracket securely attached to a wall near your outdoor tap.


  • A four-tined, strongly made fork is invaluable for aerating lawns, turning over a plot between crops, breaking up clods of earth, lifting root crops and large plants.
  • This tool's also useful for shifting garden mulch and compost.


  • A flat spade is an indispensable tool for breaking up or removing soil and for digging holes for planting trees and shrubs.


  • A lawn rake is designed for collecting fallen leaves and lawn clippings and for removing moss and dead grass.
  • Garden rakes have short sturdy teeth and are used for seedbed preparation and soil levelling.


  • Hoes are used for tilling, cultivating and weeding.
  • There are several types of hoes.
  • These include the Dutch hoe, which is used to cut through weeds at soil level.
  • The mattock is also a kind of hoe, and is used with a swinging action to break up areas of hard ground and to dig out deep-rooted weeds.

Watering can

  • Watering cans are ideal for irrigating small gardens and potted plants, and for watering during hose bans.

Pruning saw

  • Use a pruning saw for cutting off branches that are too thick for pruning shears.

Pruning shears

  • Pruning shears are used for pruning woody stems up to about 10 millimitres (3/8 inch) thick and soft shoots of any thickness.
  • Pruning shears must be kept clean, rust-free, oiled and sharp.
  • Dull pruning shears will make ragged cuts and damage your plants.


  • Wheelbarrows are vital for transporting plants, soil, compost, garden debris and other tools.
  • The most suitable wheelbarrow for heavy work is one with a single wheel and an inflatable tire to cushion the load.
  • Barrows with two wheels are very stable and easy to load and unload, but are less manoeuvrable on uneven ground.


  • A well-made bucket is useful for transporting small loads without having to fetch your wheelbarrow.
  • You can also use a bucket for mixing fertilizer and as a receptacle for weeds.

Keep this quick list of garden hand tools in mind to choose the best ones for your gardening jobs.

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