Essential gardening tool kit – the expert approved items for your garden

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A series of national lockdowns coupled with the booming property market has led more people to become garden-owners, turned plant enthusiasts. While there’s no one-size-fits-all guide to caring for your garden, there are a few essential tools you need to keep your borders, beds and lawns thriving. spoke to the experts to find out exactly what you need to care for your garden throughout the year.

Whether you keep a simple garden or a varied display of beds and borders filled with shrubs, trees and flowers – establishing a useful gardening toolkit is essential to a neat landscape.

Speaking exclusively to, Shannon Keary, creator of the esteemed gardening podcast ‘Diaries of a Lady Gardener’ shared her top tips for an all-purpose gardening tool kit.

With a huge following of more than 21.7k followers on her gardening instagram page, @diaryofaladygardener, the Devon based gardener is paving the way for a younger gardening audience.

For first-time garden owners, or those looking to invest in an allotment – Shannon’s top tips will set you up for success in all things pruning, planting, sowing and harvesting.

Essential tools for gardening

Spending more time in your garden will certainly lead to a few extra tools finding their way into your shed, but which items do you really need?

Shannon told Express: “I feel like you can accumulate a lot of tools as a gardener, some are ridiculously useful, and others pretty much useless but will still stay in your shed for many years to come.”

She added that a few of her all-time favourites are:

  • A hori-hori knife
  • A classic border spade and fork
  • A garden hoe
  • Snips/secateurs
  • A light 10 litre watering can

What are they used for?

Spade and fork

Shannon told Express: “Despite being a no-dig gardener there are still occasions where digging is the only way especially when you’re battling brambles and splitting plants. They’re super traditional but definitely a must-have.”

Garden hoe

Hand weeding can be back-breaking work so hoeing weeds little and often is an effective solution.

Shannon added that her no-dig method really helps to reduce weeds overall, but a hoe is essential to keep on top of them and make a relentlessly long task, into a five minute fix.

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Deadheading your flowers is essential to keep them blooming for as long as possible and snips are the best way to do this.

They’re great for cutting flowers to be used indoors in your favourite vase to spice up any room.


Secateurs are just as important for pruning soft woods, harvesting veg and so many other tasks.

Watering can

Shannon told “Despite the fact that the big plastic watering cans aren’t quite so easy on the eye, the fact that they’re lightweight and large mean that watering a big space is a lot less time consuming, especially in peak summer when you’re having to water everyday.”

Top multi-purpose gardening tool

When speaking to Shannon shared that her hori hori knife is her go-to tool that she just can’t live without.

She said: “It’s so useful in so many ways, whether you’re transplanting seedlings, measuring depths, cutting out vicious weeds, planting bulbs, pruning a woody plant; the list goes on.”

Why you should invest in good-quality tools

To avoid having to replace low-quality tools, go for the best you can afford and take good care of them.

Keeping snips sharp is best for a healthy plant with clean cuts when pruning.

Even the best quality tools will wear if you leave them out in the rain and don’t keep them clean so be sure to take care of them.

Shannon told “You don’t need loads of tools to get started, a trowel, spade, gloves, secateurs and a watering can is basic kit and you can do plenty with just those.”

Autumn gardening tasks

Shannon shared that from late-September to early October she’ll be focusing on giving her greenhouse/shed a good clean to get rid of any pests that might end up overwintering in there.

Her list of autumnal gardening tasks included:

  • Checking under benches/pots and making sure the glass/plastic is clean for maximum light
  • Sowing hardy annuals and biennials for next year
  • Review and optimise the space for maximum growing room
  • Getting her no-dig cleared from the summer produce
  • Plant beds with winter crops, filled with spring bulbs for some nice early colour next year and/or mulched
  • Water in some slug nematode

Shannon added: “A lot of people think that the gardening season ends in September but there is always so much you can get done while there’s less growing and it’s so rewarding physically and mentally.”

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