So you want to kickstart your garden. You're going to need the right tools to do so, but your nearest Home Depot or local gardening supply store is overstocked with stuff you may or may not need. You can break down garden tools into three categories: those for prepping, those for maintaining and those for cleaning. So whether you're new to the whole gardening thing, or you've been doing it before pandemic gardening was cool, here are the eight must-have tools you need to get a garden that's the envy of the neighborhood.


Trowels are basically like tiny shovels. They're good for breaking ground so you can plant some seeds or plants, and you can use them to move small amounts of soil around. You can also use trowels to help dig up old plants or make it easier to pluck out weeds. When you're shopping for this type of garden tool, look for one that's sturdy and has a comfortable hand grip — developing hand blisters after constant use is one of the worst feelings in the world.


Don't you dare call a spade a shovel. Spades distinguish themselves from shovels because of the former's squared-off blade. You won't be able to do much digging with a spade, given the shape of its blade, but they are good for turning soil, as well as breaking up clumps and roots.

Gardening Gloves

Getting down and dirty in the garden is fun and all, but gardening gloves are a definite must-have to protect you from battering your hands, protecting them from sharp objects and preventing too much gunk from accumulating under your nails. Look for gloves that are breathable, flexible and comfortable so garden work doesn't feel too much like a chore.


You'll be familiar with rakes if you've ever had to clear away a bunch of leaves in the fall. The toothed bar is good for gathering debris en masse with as few passes as possible. Rakes are good for keeping soil level and smoothed out, especially before planting.


Grab a shovel the next time you need to dig a deep hole, fill pits or move away mounds of debris. Look for a shovel that doesn't strain your back and helps you move things with ease.


A pruner, also known as pruning shears, a hand pruner or a secateur, is a type of scissors to be used specifically on plants. A good pair will be super sharp to cut through thick branches as easily as they can cut through twig-like stems.


A hoe kind of looks like a spade with its blade bent at a 90-degree angle. The rectangular blade breaks up clumps and is excellent at smoothing the surface of soil, cultivating soil and removing weeds.

Garden Fork

A garden fork is just like a dining fork, except it utilizes its strong, sharp prongs to break through earth and not food. Use a garden fork to create holes in the ground for seeds, move things around or uplift weeds. Garden forks are one of the most utilitarian garden tools thanks to its multitude of uses.

Tyler Chin is Gear Patrol’s Associate Staff Writer.