The Professional Gardener’s Tool Box – Basic Hand Tools

Bahco Pruner and Flex Tuff Gloves

Most of the gardening that I do regularly, for clients and for myself, involves repetitive tasks. I spend most of my indoor gardening time thinking about the more artistic side of things – design, choosing plants, and artistic pruning – tasks that are unique to each space and plant. But outdoors, my time falls into a soothing rhythm of weeding, trimming, deadheading – the usual gardening suspects.

Perhaps because of that contrast between what we focus our thoughts on and what we spend our time on, I notice that people’s gardening hand tools are often sadly out of shape; 20-year-old pruners that haven’t been sharpened, a $3 trowel and bent dandelion fork for weeds, and a crushed kneeling pad so inconvenient we often forget to bring it outside.

This has got to change, people! Let’s acknowledge right now that the repetitive gardening tasks that we do are a beautiful way of honoring our gardens and getting to be outside to appreciate them regularly. Don’t give yourself and your garden short shrift by puttering along with poor tools. Sharp, ergonomically-designed tools will save you time, make gardening easier on your body, and make tasks that used to be chores into a pleasure.


This week I’ll share with you the basic garden hand tools I can’t live without. In my career I have tested tons of different tools – the latest types that come in at my local nurseries, the small unknown brands my clients rave about, and the tools my pro gardener friends swear by.

Here’s what’s coming:

Where to toss the weeds? Buckets and bags to hold green waste

Hand pruner showdown – Felco VS Corona VS Bahco

Protective gear that won’t slow you down – Gardening knee pads and gloves

What to brandish at your weeds: hori-horis, soil knives, and trowels

Lookin’ sharp – how to sharpen your tools with a Speedy Sharp

Come back Saturday for our first installment!


9 responses to “The Professional Gardener’s Tool Box – Basic Hand Tools”

  1. Excited about the pruner showdown… I’ve been a longtime Corona user b/c even though they’re a touch heavy, they fit my hands well. But, I’m always up for some new insights based on other people’s faves and rationale. Also curious to see how you think trowels, etc. stack up to hori-horis. See you this weekend!

  2. I tend to use Fiskars pruners. Their blades don’t last as long as Felcos but I like buying new. Which is odd, as I’m generally cheap and don’t like shopping. And, I’ve said it before, but dandelion forks rule!! As do trowels.

    Monica’s last blog post..Fairy Door Trek

  3. Darn, and I thought the Lookin’ Sharp section was going to be about some snazzy new gardening clothes. Sharp pruners are, of course, a lot more important! I am a first time caller, having seen your comment at Town Mouse/Country Mouse. You’ve got a lovely blog here! P.S. I had a Felco forum on mine earlier this winter and it was fun seeing the opinions.

    Daffodil Planter’s last blog post..Congress to Buy Sheep for the White House Lawn

  4. I’m loving the product reviews and have already decided to buy myself a pair of Bahco pruners as a little treat. Here’s a suggestion for a future review: hose nozzles/watering wands. If I could find one that would last me a season without sending water shooting up my sleeve by August I’d be thrilled.

  5. This seems like an excellent sequence Gen! Because of the characteristics of package farming, I use their hands almost specifically. And I was just informing a buddy that I need to find out something to use to throw my cuttings in as I go. Can’t wait around to see what you recommend! Quite exciting details you have described, thank you for publishing. It’s really an excellent and useful part of details. I am satisfied that you just distributed this useful details with us. Please keep us advised like this. Thanks for discussing.