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9 Essential Gardening Tools Everyone Should Have at Home

Get your garden blooming and blossoming with these expert-approved tools.

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Spring is back in full force, and with any luck, so is your garden. However, unless you're tending to it regularly, your landscaping can quickly become overgrown and unmanageable during this season of rapid growth. That's why right now is prime time for a little outdoor spring cleaning—clearing away dead plants, pruning trees and shrubs, adding fresh layers of mulch, tending to your hardscaping, and planting any annual additions. Before you begin, there's just one more task to complete: Getting all the essential gardening tools for the job.

Of course, walking into a home improvement store can prove overwhelming, with seemingly endless options to choose from in the gardening section. But experts say there are just a handful of versatile gardening tools that everyone should own. Read on to find out which nine essential items to invest in if you want your plants to thrive all summer long.

Experts gave us advice on what you might need, and we picked some of our favorite products. Prices are current at the time of publication but are subject to change.

RELATED: What Is Mulch, and How Can It Transform Your Garden Into a Paradise?

Digging fork

digging fork

Before you plant anything new in your garden, you'll need to turn over your garden beds by breaking up the existing soil for more aeration and drainage. David Whitwam, founder of Whitwam Organics, says the best tool for the job is a digging fork—at first glance, similar to a pitchfork, but stronger.

While pitchforks are ideal for pitching loose materials such as leaves, hay, straw, compost, or manure, digging forks have four tines that are about as thick as a finger, Whitwam explains. These sturdy tines make the digging fork ideal for turning over large areas and installing plants with deep root structures.

$59.99 at Amazon
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Grampa's Weeder

Grampa's Weeder

A pair of product reviewers known only as "Dave and Sissy" on TikTok and Instagram say that Grampa's Weeder is another crucial gardening tool to add to your arsenal. They recently shared a rave review of the product with their audience of 1.2 million followers.

"If you have a lawn or garden or know someone who does, you need to see Grampa's Weeder. This incredible tool allows you to pick your weeds while standing up, eliminating the stress on your back and knees," Dave explained. "This tool has been removing weeds since 1913. I could not believe how easy and effective it was to use… Just center on the weed, press, and lean."

"It's genius," he adds, demonstrating the tool's impressively quick weed excision. "If you're a weed puller and you don't have this, you'll be saying, 'Where's this been all my life?'"

$44.99 at Amazon
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Gardening gloves

beige leather gardening gloves

Gardening can be a thorny business—often literally. That's why you should always wear protective gardening gloves when tending to your yard. There are many materials to choose from, some popular options being leather, bamboo, or cotton gloves reinforced with nitrile rubber or neoprene.

Before you buy a pair, consider how you plan to use your gardening gloves. For example, leather pairs (like the ones pictured here) may prove too bulky for precision tasks but typically provide the best coverage for pruning projects or bulk debris removal.

$15.64 at Amazon
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RELATED: 8 Best Fire Pit Ideas to Turn Your Backyard Into a Cozy Hideaway.

Hula hoe

gardening hoe

Next, the experts recommend picking up a hula hoe—also known as an action hoe or a stirrup hoe—which is good at cutting weeds off at the roots, according to Whitwam.

"The most effective way to use it for weeding is to scrape the area, then come back a few days to a week later, and remove any plants still alive. If you remove the plants right after using it, you'll be picking up plants that would have died in place anyway," the gardening expert tells Best Life.

Luay Ghafari, a garden consultant, educator, author, and founder of Urban Farm & Kitchen, says the stirrup hoe is one of his favorite tools to use in gardens with ground-level flower and vegetable beds.

"It's called a stirrup hoe because of the shape of the blade, which looks like a horse saddle stirrup. The sharp bottom edge is perfect for cutting weeds at the ground level. Because the weeding is done while standing up, it's a perfect tool for those with back problems," he notes.

$27.98 at Amazon
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Spearhead spade

Spear Head Spade Gardening Shovel

Spearhead spade shovels are another essential gardening tool. They can be used to prepare garden beds or dig deep trenches for drainage or piping.

"Spade shovels are good for turning soil that has been inundated with roots or has become extremely compact. They also can cut through roots pretty easily, so they, of course, are great for creating holes," says Whitwam.

$60 at Amazon
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Flat spade

Flat shovel

Flat spades differ from traditional round digger shovels in that they feature a flat, rectangular blade rather than a curved, concave blade. This allows for more precise use and deeper penetration into the soil.

"Flat shovels are good for moving soil, mulch, and compost around," Whitwam explains. "They double as a way to flatten soil and spread compost evenly in the garden."

They're also great for creating straight edging around your garden beds.

$36.99 at Amazon
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RELATED: 13 Low-Maintenance Outdoor Plants for Beginners.

Hori Hori knife

Hori Hori Knife

Ghafari also recommends a Hori Hori knife—a highly versatile stainless steel blade traditionally used in Japan. It features a serrated edge on one side for digging, weeding, and cutting and an engraved ruler for measuring.

"It can be used for digging trenches, weeding, and cutting foliage, roots, and branches," explains Ghafari. "I also use it to split perennials for transplanting in the fall. It's truly a multi-purpose tool, and I use it all season long. The Japanese steel means it will last many years."

$24.60 at Amazon
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Ratchet pruning loppers

Ratchet pruning loppers

Cutting back branches can help make way for new growth—but pruning can be a physical challenge. Experts say that ratchet pruning loppers can make quick work of thick branches, allowing you to get the job done without the struggle, strain, and risk of injury.

In fact, a recent product demonstration and review on American Contractor Show called this gardening and landscaping tool a "game changer," citing its ease of use and safety.

"You get yourself a hunk of limb in there, take a deep breath and give it your best shot," says the demonstrator. "Nobody makes it through on one pass, so people go looking for leverage in all the wrong places against their body, the ground, the building."

"Now I want you to watch that pin," he says, pointing to the ratchet function as it effortlessly tightens the grip of the sheers. "Every time you pump the handle, you get the same amount of leverage you got on the very first squeeze. You're taking a half an inch cut instead of trying to do two inches at one time," he explains.

$69.99 at Amazon
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A selection of hand tools

set of three gardening tools with pink and black handles

Finally, whether you're a beginner gardener with only a budding interest in plants or a seasoned expert in all things botanical, you should definitely have a selection of hand tools, including a hand trowel, a transplant shovel, and a hand rake. These compact, simple, low-cost additions to your tool shed are great for precision projects, meaning you'll be ready for a range of hands-on gardening tasks.

$13.99 at Amazon
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Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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