Must-Have Tools for First-Time Gardeners

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Stars danced in my eyes, but not the ones adorning the Christmas tree. Though the world outside the cold window pane appeared dry and brown, in my mind I dreamed of green.

I knew in just a few short months I would begin my very first garden, and I couldn’t wait. I had asked for a few garden-related items for Christmas, but realistically I had no idea what I would need. This was all so new!

After six garden seasons, I’ve tested several garden tools. Some I’ve tossed into the donate pile, but others have earned a permanent place on my gardening shelf. In retrospect, it would have been nice if someone could have told me exactly what I would need for my garden.

Do you have a first-time gardener on your Christmas list? Are you planting a new garden and need to pass on some gift ideas to loved ones? In this post, I share my most recommended tools for first-year gardeners.

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Let’s Get Practical

Perhaps these items might seem optional, but for me, good garden gear is a must-have. A new gardener sometimes needs that extra motivation to get out in the garden, especially on those muddy spring days.

Garden Gloves

For me, garden gloves are a must-have. There are so many options, but my personal favorites are the Wonder Grip Nitrile Garden Gloves.

Garden Boots

Whether I’m romping in the muddy spring ground or wading through itchy, overgrown grass, I turn to my Slogger garden boots every time. They are waterproof, last for years (I’ve never had to replace a pair), and they withstand the wet and sweat of garden feet.

Slogger Garden Boots

Kneeling Pad

Gardening can wreak havoc on your knees, but a kneeling pad is an inexpensive way to give comfort for those hours of planting and weeding.

Let’s Get Planting

The up-and-coming gardener will want to reach for tools at the ready when planting season begins. This starts with the most basic of tools. Grab several of these and put it together in a fun gift bag!

Hand Shovel

I’ve used several types of hand shovels, and my favorite one has a sturdy, stainless-steel head and a comfortable handle. Since this is the one tool a gardener will turn to year after year, it makes sense to get a good one. You could invest in a high-quality shovel like this one:


A garden rake is a staple item in any gardener’s tool shed. For a small gardener, an inexpensive purchase from a home supply store will work just fine.


The garden hoe is another item I couldn’t do without. I use it to clear patches of my garden, dig furrows for my potatoes, and prepare a row for seeds. My biggest challenge with the inexpensive hoes at garden centers was eventually, the head disconnected from the handle.

For smaller gardens, these hoes will work fine for many years, but if you want to choose a hoe that will last a lifetime, I recommend the high-quality Rogue Hoe.

Garden Kits

For a newbie gardener, a garden kit is an excellent choice to get him or her started. From complete tool sets to all-in-one starter planting kits, you can view lots of fun options here. 


Many new gardeners start growing in containers. But the biggest hurdle is obtaining those containers. You could buy a self-watering container (like this one from FarmDaddy), larger planters at your garden supply store, or a pack of the very popular Grow Bags.

Let’s Get Prepared

For a new gardener, many times we can’t see past the planning and the planting part. But when mid-season comes, it’s frustrating to realize you have to buy additional items. Having these supplies on-hand will alleviate many headaches in the height of the garden season.

Tomato Stakes or Trellis

If your gardener plans to grow tomatoes, most likely he or she will need a method to support them. Though I’ve tried many options for trellising my tomatoes, for the beginner I recommend keeping it simple. Plain tomato stakes will work at the very minimum, but nice, sturdy tomato cages will last for many seasons.

Twine or Tie Tape

Twine can be used for pea trellises, cucumber trellises, and many tomato trellises. Tie tape is also handy to have when long tomato vines go rogue.


It took us this long to get here, but eventually your gardener will need some pruning sheers to harvest some of those vegetables! My favorite is the Barnel Bypass Pruner.

Let’s Get Planning

To set a beginning gardener up for the highest chance of success, planning is crucial. Plus, it’s so much fun, especially on the cold days of winter. If you’re purchasing a Christmas gift, the beginning gardener in your life can enjoy these right away.

Garden Planner

There are lots of options for garden planners and journals. You can see lots of fun options here. 

I used simple garden printables and even transitioned to a nice planner for years, but I realized nothing really suited me like I wanted. So I created my own planner! It’s called the Simple Garden Planner, and you can see how I use it here.

Simple Garden Planner

Beginning Gardening Books

Aspiring gardeners thirst for help in planning their dream gardens, and many turn to books. Here is a list of my top recommendations for beginning gardeners:

9 Books for Beginning Gardeners

The Beginner’s Garden Shortcut

For non-readers, beginning gardeners may learn better through teaching. In my online course, the Beginner’s Garden Shortcut, I teach through video lessons how to get started gardening – from planning to planting. Get more information on this online course here. 

This is my list of must-have tools for a beginning gardener. What would you add to my list?

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  1. The Hula Hoe is the best weeder i’ve ever used. Usually found on line or garden stores. Must have. Also a little stool to sit on while pulling weeds.

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