Tool Time for Gardeners

By National Gardening Association Editors

Many gardeners have their favorite tools, so it can be a challenge to find the perfect tool gift. However, even gardeners who rely on traditional tools may enjoy new tools that are designed for specific jobs, perform multiple tasks, or are engineered to be easier to use. Here are a few things to look for when shopping for gardening tools:

  • Ergonomically designed tools minimize strain on muscles and joints.
  • Padded handles add a welcome measure of comfort.
  • Brightly colored tools are less likely to get lost.
  • Multipurpose tools, such as adjustable-width rakes, mean fewer tools to carry out to the garden.


Many gardeners use their hand trowel every day, for planting, weeding, and moving and smoothing soil. Look for a lightweight trowel made from sturdy metal that won't bend, with a smooth or padded handle and comfortable grip.

Shovels and Forks

In theory, garden shovels and forks shouldn't be used to pry out rocks, but in reality they usually are, so choose very sturdy models. Garden spades come in various sizes for different jobs. Flat shovels can come in handy but are less commonly used in the garden than spades. Heavy-tined forks are very handy for breaking up compacted soil, while finer-tined versions are best for spreading straw or moving mulch.


A hose as a garden gift? It seems kind of silly until you consider that gardeners uses hoses almost daily, and a kinked, leaky hose is a source of constant frustration. Give your gardening friend a high quality hose with quick-release brass connections and a sleek watering wand, and he or she will think of you fondly at every watering. A fancy brass watering can is both utilitarian and beautiful. Soaker hoses make easy work of watering.

Pocket Tools

A really good pocket knife is indispensible in the garden, for harvesting vegetables and cutting twine. Add a screwdriver or tiny scissors and it's usefulness is multiplied. Or, go all out with an all-in-one pocket utility tool that includes pliers, several screwdrivers, a mini saw, and an awl, and you'll save your gardening friend countless trips back to the garden shed.

Other welcome gifts include a bulb planter, mini rototiller, kneeling pad, garden cart or wheelbarrow, tool caddy, garden apron, hose reel, and solar landscape lights.

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