Gardening tips for beginners: The 6 basic tools you need to start gardening

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Lockdown has forced us all to stay at home more, and now we’re more appreciative of our gardens than ever. If you feel like giving your garden some TLC and planting some flowers or veg, you’ll need to have some basic gardening knowledge and tools. Express.co.uk chatted to garden designer Isobel Spandler to find out the six tools you need to buy before you start gardening for the first time.

Gloves

Gloves aren’t a tool, but they are a key part of gardening – no matter what job you’re doing.

Isobel said: “Gloves are not strictly speaking a tool, but are essential that is important to get right because there is nothing worse than working in wet gloves with cold fingers.

“To protect your hands the ultimate gloves are Le Mieux Yardmaster Thermal Work Gloves.

“They are not gardening gloves, but they are tough, thermal lined and waterproof.

“They are a bit thick for fine work, so you can just take them off or keep a pair of ‘second-skin’ gloves such as Niwaki Breathable Gardening Gloves for the fiddly stuff.

Yardmaster Thermal Work Gloves – £11.50 from Lemieux Products

Niwaki Breathable Gardening Gloves – 4 sizes – £6 from Trouva

Bypass Secateurs

Bypass secateurs are another essential tool for beginners, as they’re needed for pruning, clipping and tidying.

Isobel said: “Considered an ‘investment’ piece by some gardeners, it can be worth spending a bit more on these so expect to pay upwards of £20.

“Secateurs do need maintaining – keeping them well-oiled and sharp will prolong their lifespan.

“Some come supplied with spare blades and springs, and a brightly coloured handle also helps if you tend to throw your secateurs in with the garden waste!”

Isobel recommends the Burgon and Ball Bypass Secateurs, which are RHS endorsed.

Bypass Secateurs – £20.99, Burgeon and Ball

Hand Trowel

A hand trowel is just about the most useful tool in the potting shed, so make sure you’ve got one.

Isobel explained: “You need a hand towel for weeding, planting, potting on, planting up, the list goes on.

“ If you choose correctly this tool will be with you for years. Always go for a contoured wooden handle for comfort and a stainless-steel body for robustness and rust resistance.

“It may not be as cheap as a plastic version but far better at the job, as the steel trowel will allow you to cut through tough soils.

“Expect to pay between £10 and £15 for a good quality trowel such as the Kent & Stowe Capability Trowel.”

Kent & Stowe Capability Trowel – £12.99, Marshalls Garden

Hoe

If you are intending to grow vegetables, you need a hoe in your arsenal.

Isobel said: “A long-handled Dutch hoe is vital for chopping down weeds between your rows of veg seedlings.

“The easiest of all the hoes to use due to its sharp, wide, open blade – a basic one, such as Drapers Carbon Steel Dutch Hoe, from the local DIY store is sufficient to start off with and should cost no more than £20.”

Watering Can

Of course, we all need a watering can in our gardens every now and then.

Isobel said: “Our variable weather means you cannot guarantee rain when you want it, and if your gardening style includes pots or you only have a small rooftop or balcony, a watering can is going to be needed.

“Do not go too large: if you only have a sink in which to fill it, it needs to be able to fit under the tap.

“Also look for a screw off rose so that you can lightly sprinkler seedlings or take the rose off and rapidly water shrubs and large pots.”

Spade

A spade is one of the most obvious tools a beginner gardener needs.

Isobel said: “If you are planting anything larger than a small perennial, you will need to invest in a spade.

“I inherited mine but if you are investing in a new one, think about its purpose as well as yourself.

“A digging spade has a flat blade and is useful for moving and turning soil whilst a border spade is a smaller and lighter tool, more useful for working in a restricted area, for longer days or for a smaller gardener.”

Isobel recommends a Kent & Stowe spade. She said: “They do good value versions of both (under £30) with steel blades which are good for clay soil and do not rust so easily.”

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