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Beginners Guide to Gardening Tools

When it comes to gardening, having the right tools is key. They make the process of planting and harvesting much easier, whilst helping to keep plants healthy. Without them, you’ll be spending a lot of time and effort for little reward. Garden tools are essential if you want to get the most out of your gardening experience. This beginner’s guide to gardening tools will help you find the right tools for your needs, no matter what level of experience you have.

The benefits of using garden tools:

What garden tools are essential for beginners? 


You should always wear gardening gloves to protect against cuts, harmful chemicals, insect bites, and skin irritants. In a gardening environment, nasty fungi and bacteria exist and without gloves, you expose your skin to serious harm. Shop gardening gloves here.

Hand trowel

Used to dig small holes and remove weeds. It is similar in shape to a spade or shovel, however, it is much smaller and intended for use with one hand. Click here for more information on our hand trowels. We also recommend Ash and Steel’s hand trowels.


This is a tool that helps to prepare the soil and remove any weeds. It has a simple structure with a long handle and either a paddle blade or stirrup attached to the end. Click here for more information about the hoe’s we sell. We also recommend Ash and Steels garden hoes.


This can help cut back plants in the garden, ideal for trimmings, pruning, and clipping hedges and other shrubs.


These are used for pruning shrubs and small trees. They are fundamentally pruners with long handles allowing you to reach further up into the tree.

Garden fork

This tool is used to loosen and turn over the soil. It is used similarly to a spade but its tines allow it to be pushed into the ground easier, removing stones and weeds. Click here for more information on garden forks. We also recommend Ash and Steels garden forks.


This tool is ideal for digging holes and removing plants from the ground because of its flat head design. It is better suited to working with loose soil that isn’t rocky or compact. Click here for more information on spades. We also recommend Ash and Steel’s spades.


This tool is comprised of a row of either metal or wooden teeth that are connected to the end of a long handle. In order to break up compacted soil some rakes have sharp metal tines, whilst others have flat heads. Click here for more information on our Rakes. We also recommend Ash and Steel’s rakes.


This piece of garden equipment has many functions including moving heavy amounts of rocks, soil, compost, mulch, etc from one area to another. It can also be used to dispose of garden debris or to haul bricks.

Having the right garden tools is critical for plant establishment and care. I have always invested in the best tools and dedicate time to ensuring they are maintained

Chris Bonnett, Gardening Expert for The Express Newspaper

Care guide for your garden tools:

Simple steps to properly clean your gardening tools?

In order to keep your plants in perfect condition you try and get into the habit of cleaning them regularly.

Step 1

After gardening, it’s important to clean the blade of your garden tool before storing it. Removing any leftover soil will help keep your tool clean and ready for the next use. Using either a putty knife or plastic scrapper, scrape away any stuck mud.

Step 2 

After scrubbing off excess dirt they may still require a washdown. Make sure to dry your tools after washing them in order to prevent rust and handles from swelling up.

Step 3

Inspect your garden tools for possible rusting. if any rust is present you will want to remove it by soaking the tools overnight in a 50%/50% water and vinegar mixture. You then need to take a steel wool or wire brush to scrub in circular motions the rust spots away. Soak the tools again and dry them until completely dry

Step 4 

If your tools feel sticky this could be leftover plant sap residue and will require you to wipe off. You could do this using an old cloth dipped in turpentine or a remover such as goo gone.

Step 5

It is very important you remember to disinfect your tools to kill bacteria and fungi that can cause problems. This can be done by submerging the tools into a bucket of chlorine bleach and water for 10 minutes.

Step 6 

Traditionally, tools are coated with a thin layer of oil to further protect them from oxidizing, although this depends on the metal’s quality.

Take a look at our Guide to Cleaning your Garden Tools for more tips.

Storage inspiration for your gardening tools:

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best storage ideas for you! You can choose to store your tools in whatever works best for you!

1. Garden shed

A garden shed allows your tools to be out of sight and locked away, which could be especially important if you have children. If you are into DIY projects you could consider making your own shed to save money and customize it exactly how you want. Click on this link to learn more about building your own garden shed.

2. Bike storage unit

If you’re looking for a way to store your bikes and gardening tools in one place, a bike storage unit could be the perfect solution. Not only will it keep your garden free from clutter, but everything is kept in one place.

3. Hanging your gardening tools

Here is another quick and easy way to organize your tools. Try using old wood and nails to hang them up. This low-cost solution is perfect for small spaces or if you just don’t have room for a whole storage unit. You may even consider making use of old wooden pallets since these are relatively cheap and easy to get your hands on. You can even decorate wooden pallets to incorporate them seamlessly into the surroundings.

Sharpening your garden tools – the basics:

Sharp tools are not only safer to use but are also more efficient therefore we suggest you invest in the correct sharpening tools for the tools you want to sharpen. It is a good idea to resharpen your tools during December at the end of the gardening season to prepare you for the upcoming spring.

What can I use to sharpen my gardening tools?


What is a hone and how to use it? A hone is a fine-grained hard stone that can be used to sharpen. Honing keeps the blade sharp by pushing the edge back to the center. By realigning the edge of the blade, you will ensure the best results from your gardening tools.


What is a whetstone and how to use it? These blocks of stone sharpen gardening tools using either water or oil depending on which type of lubrication will best suit the gardening tool. these are used on steel tools such as knives.


What is a file and how to use it? Files are made with high-carbon steel and are often the most efficient at sharpening tools (grinders for example can be too wide). Whilst sharpening with a file, you should ensure your tools are firmly secured ideally using a vice. You should use a shallow angle and cross-file the whole side of the tool.

Read our guide on Sharpening Garden Tools to find out more.

Caring for your wooden handles on garden tools:

Every garden season you should rub oil into your tool handles to preserve the wood which will help extend the life of the tools. After each use of your tools, you could also consider wiping the handles down with an oily cloth. On another hand, you may prefer to simply wipe down the handle after use and then lightly spray it with penetrating oil.

How to oil wood handles on garden tools

Linseed or tung oils are the perfect treatment to preserve the life of wooden garden tool handles. Apply and rub in a generous amount every year to lengthen the life expectancy of your prized tools.

Updated on August 14, 2023

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