5 Essential Gardening Tools For Any Green Thumb

Horticulturist Kate Garland shares her top 5 gardening tools to help your garden flourish

Scottish philosopher, writer, historian and teacher, Thomas Carlyle, once said, “Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools, he is nothing, with tools he is all.” This sums up what most gardeners, both professionals and casual green thumbs alike, feel. Without the right tools, it’s difficult for gardeners to grow flowers, vegetables and herbs that become the envy of the neighborhood. ESTATENVY caught up with Kate Garland, Horticulturist from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, about her list of the top five gardening tools any gardener should have to build and maintain a thriving garden.

Top-quality watering wand and user-friendly hose set-up

Watering is a very important step in cultivating healthy plants. Make it an easy chore with the right implements. I prefer a long handle watering wand to reach hanging baskets and deep into wide beds. A small shut-off valve and quick-release for swapping out hose ends can be valuable, yet inexpensive additions, if you are using your hose for other jobs (washing the car, kids' sprinkler, etc.) If your hose set up is not working for you in any way, think of ways you can improve the situation at the beginning of the season instead of struggling with it daily. For example, if you find yourself dragging your hose over the prized iris on the corner of the garden bed, place a decorative post to guide the hose around the plants. Even better, consider installing drip irrigation.

Rain gauge

We often overestimate how much water Mother Nature provides during weather events. This age-old gardening tool will give you more confidence about making watering decisions. Most newly installed plants need about 1" of water a week for the first season.

Soil test

This isn't a tool in the traditional sense but is an important component of a gardener's virtual tool kit. Contact your local Cooperative Extension to see where they recommend sending soil samples to gather information about soil nutrition, pH, organic matter content, and to rule out lead contamination.


Yes, I'm from Maine and Mainers love tarps. A simple tarp comes in handy in so many landscape situations. I use it to keep soil off my lawn when dividing perennial plants. It's a great alternative to a wheelbarrow when I'm needing to haul a lot of lightweight debris to the compost area. It's very easy to clean and packable when the job is done.

Bypass pruners, folding saw, loppers

If you have woody plants and a DIY spirit, these three tools will cover your bases for your residential pruning needs. Consider spending a few extra dollars on these items because they may last you a lifetime.

*The opinions expressed above do not imply endorsement of any specific brand or product.