“A high-quality, sharp pair of pruners will make easy work of pruning shrubs and perennials,” says Christy Dailey, owner of garden design firm christy gardens in New York City. “A good clean cut is easier for the plant to recover from.” Pruners will also help you easily cut back dead growth.
Try this one: ARS HP-130DX 7-Inch Ideal Light Pruner, $29, amazon.com
This handheld tool has a pointed, scooped blade and can be used for a variety of tasks, from digging holes to removing weeds to transferring plants and soil. “A rubber-handled trowel is lightweight and comfortable to hold,” says Annette Gutierrez, owner of the garden store Potted in Los Angeles. “It will probably fit the bill for whatever you might need to dig into, except for planting a tree.”
Try this one: Gardenbrite Garden Trowel, $15, amazon.com
A long-handle shovel can be helpful if you’re working in a big garden or with a large volume of soil. Dailey suggests using a round point shovel for digging, breaking up soil, and planting.
Try this one: 48-inch Wood Handle Round Point Shovel, $22, homedepot.com
Plastic tubs make versatile garden tools. “You can use them for gathering weeds, potting, carrying soil, and storing tools or other garden items,” says Gutierrez. “We like the Tubtrugs brand, but any of these versatile plastic buckets will become your best friend.”
Try this one: Colorful Tubtrug, 11-Gallon, $17, gardeners.com
Chris Lambton, a professional landscaper and host of DIY Network’s Yard Crashers, suggests investing in a good rake for spreading mulch and leveling ground. And of course, it’s great for tidying your yard or lawn, too.
Try this one: Tru Tough 54-Inch Long Fiberglass-Handle Steel Garden Rake, $20, lowes.com
“The most important tools in the garden are your hands, which is why you need to protect them with a good pair of gloves,” says Johnston. “I like for my gloves to be fitted so that I can really feel the plants that I am working with. Second skin garden gloves are the absolute best—they are comfortable and dry quickly.”
Try this one: Nitrile Gloves, $6, gardeners.com
If you’re using pots or other containers, this handy tool will measure how dry the soil is. “No more wondering if the plant looks like it needs to be watered—now you’ll know for sure,” says Gutierrez.
Try this one: Etekcity Indoor/Outdoor Moisture Sensor Meter, $9, amazon.com