How to choose an essential garden tool kit

From traditional to state-of-the-art, garden tools can last a lifetime, so it’s well worth seeking out the best quality products for the essential garden tool kit. And you don’t need a shed stuffed with every tool on the market – just a few essentials for planting, pruning and watering will do. So before you get out in the garden, start planning your scheme and go all Spring Watch, take a peek at our list of essential garden must-haves...

[Above image: Broste Copenhagen]

Trowel and hand fork

These dinky little tools should feature in every garden shed. Perfect for digging and planting between other plants in a flowerbed, weeding and popping blooms in a patio pot, they always come in handy. Carbon fibre or stainless-steel heads are essential if you want tools that last. [Garden Trading Company]


No gardener could live without these handy little pruners. Ideal for cutting stems up to finger-width, deadheading your faded flowers and tidying-up oversized shrubs. If you only have the space and budget for one set, choose 'bypass' secateurs, which are easy to use and multifunctional. Brightly coloured handles are a good idea, and save hours searching around for your tools in the border, while high-carbon steel blades stay razor sharp and won’t rust.

[Spear & Jackson]

Border spade

It may be a tad smaller than the average garden spade, but that’s its charm. Lighter and more user-friendly, a border spade makes digging planting holes a breeze. Look out for one with an integrated wooden handle and shaft, which will give it more strength, and a rustproof stainless steel or carbon fibre steel head with a sharp blade.

Border fork

Again, small is beautiful and with this essential fork you can break up compacted soil, dig out unwanted plants and make air holes in your lawn to keep it looking lovely. Check products for the same features as your border spade with regards to materials and design, and you can’t go wrong.

[Wilkinson Sword border spade and fork]

Ratchet loppers

Also known as 'power loppers'. If you have large shrubs in your garden, invest in a set to save yourself a lot of time and aching limbs. These clever cutters slice through thick stems like a knife through butter, and take all the hard work out of pruning. Lightweight aluminium, telescopic handles allow you to reach just that bit further to tackle wayward branches. [Wilkinson Sword]

Watering can

Well, it may seem obvious but everyone needs a good quality watering can. Go for a large galvanised or powder-coated can that can take up to nine litres of water - so forget the gym subscription, and develop shapely Elle Macpherson arms while keeping your plants happy. Why go for a big can? Because it saves time running to and fro with a little one, since plants generally prefer a good long drink, rather than a quick shower. Also opt for a one-handled can, with a vase-shaped, detachable rose head. A smaller watering can with a long neck is a good investment for house plants, windowboxes and hanging baskets.

[Courtyard Charms green watering can]

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Zia Allaway, Garden Expert

View all posts by Zia Allaway, Garden Expert