Common Gardening Tools

Many home gardeners find that planting and maintaining their own plants and flowers is a relaxing, enjoyable and gratifying experience. Gardening requires time, patience and a little hard work. There are a wide variety of tools available that help make that hard work easier. A few basics are staples of the home gardener's tool collection.

Garden Shovel

Digging is an essential part of gardening. Shovels are used to dig new beds, to carry soil and to fill holes. There are two common varieties of shovels used in gardening. The round-nosed shovel is used for digging holes for plants and for adding mulch, gravel or peat around plants. The flat blade of a square-nosed shovel allows gardeners to make clean, precise edges and lines; helps level soil; and carries gardening materials from one spot to another.

Garden Hoe

Gardeners use hoes to chop and remove weeds, for hilling soil around plants and to dig trenches for seed planting. The Dutch hoe is best used for breaking the soil surface and breaking up clumps of soil in large garden areas. Use a draw hoe or a short-handled onion hoe in smaller areas and in between plants. The Warren hoe is used to make furrows or holes for planting.

Spading Fork

The prongs of the spading fork allow it to easily open up rocky, clay-like soils in areas where a shovel may not do the job. Spading forks loosen solid soil and turn over soil in the garden. They are also helpful in breaking up large clumps of dirt and mud and in raking out stones and weeds from planting holes. Use a spading fork to spread organic matter, to move hay and manure, and to dig up bulbs and to lift ripe potatoes.


Gardeners fill the wheelbarrow with gardening tools, plants, seed, soil, mulch and a multitude of items that they need to have near them when working in their garden. Older wheelbarrows were made of metal and were very sturdy and heavy, which made them somewhat difficult to maneuver up and down hills and over rocky terrain. Today, lighter plastic wheelbarrows are available. Plastic wheelbarrows are long-lasting, rustproof and are slightly lighter, allowing for easier movement.


Moving or gathering up broken branches, leaves, sticks and twigs is made easier by using a rake. There are two types of rakes that are helpful in the garden. The leaf rake has long, plastic or flexible metal tines and is ideal for using to gather debris, leaves, grass clippings, gravel and mulch. A garden or bow rake has shorter, non-flexible tines that are attached the frame. Use a garden rake to spread and smooth out soil, mulch or other organic materials in garden beds.

Keywords: basic gardening tools, home garden tools, useful garden tools

About this Author

Amy Deemer has been writing since 1992. Her articles on family life and pets have appeared in the family section of "The Herald Standard" newspaper. Deemer has an Associate of Arts degree in liberal studies from Westmoreland Community college.