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What Are the Different Types of Garden Tools?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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The different types of gardening tools include short- and long-handled hand tools as well as garden power tools. Common garden tools include the shovel, spade, trowel, spading fork, rake, hoe, weeder, tiller and pruning shears. These tools are used with other gardening items such as a wheelbarrow, hose and watering can to create and maintain yards and gardens.

Shovels, spades and trowels are the three types of garden tools that tend to cause the most confusion in matching the correct name with each tool. Garden spades look like shovels except they are much flatter. Spades are square edged and are ideal for digging along edges of flower beds or for creating precise, straight-sided holes for planting. Shovels have a deeper center and are more curved than spades because they are made for scooping and moving piles of dirt and debris. Trowels look like spades and may be wide or narrow, but they are longer and more pointed for use in lifting plants and in digging small holes for planting bulbs or seeds.

A spading fork is flat and square like a spade, but has long metal fork tines. The spading fork is the ideal garden tool to use for breaking up chunks of dirt. A garden rake has metal fork tines and the raking head is angled to cover a large surface. Garden rakes are used for raking over soil to help remove rocks and even out the level of flower beds. Lawn rakes, which may be made of bamboo, plastic, or lightweight metal, differ from garden rakes in that they are not made for use in soil, but are used to rake up leaves on grass lawns.

Hoes are flat-angled garden tools with a distinctive solid metal shape that varies from rectangular with curved top edges to diamond-shaped. They are good tools to use for digging up weeds and for smoothing the soil around plants. Some types of garden hoes have a flat metal section on one side and a double-pronged weeding tool on the other. All hand-held garden tools have straight handles or D-shaped ones. The best one to use depends on what a gardener is able to work with the most efficiently and comfortably.

Popular power garden tools include grass trimmers for cutting areas of grass lawns that are difficult to reach with a lawn mower. Gas-powered rotary tillers are machines used to chop up larger areas of soil to prepare them to be used for planting seeds, plants or bulbs. Pruning shears are available in hand and power-controlled types. Pruning shears are necessary garden tools to have for any garden because they are used for trimming plants and removing dead branches. Pruning shears or clippers also help gardeners give hedges a neat shape.

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Discussion Comments
By anon179930 — On May 25, 2011

I think the most important tool among all of the mentioned tools is a spading fork. It really helps in getting rid of dust and doesn't require as much human power. A definitely recommended tool!

By Babalaas — On Jan 13, 2011

@ Comparables- I would agree with istria that the mantis is a great lawn and garden tool, but it is not appropriate for every soil situation. I sold my mantis shortly after I bought it because I had a lot of plants with deep roots, and rocky soil. I would need to stop what I was going every half hour to free a rock or untangle roots form the tines.

The Machine worked great, and it functioned exactly as it was supposed to, but it is better suited for small gardens with imported soil. It is not good for tilling in soil with lots of clay or rock.

By istria — On Jan 11, 2011

@ Comparables- You must be talking about the mantis tiller that you often see on those infomercials. I own one and I love it. My garden is a little smaller than yours is, but it has other attachments for edging, and aerating the lawn. There are a few small caveats to owning one though. The engine is as finicky as any small weed whacker or weed eater so you will need to tune it up about once a year. It is the best garden tools that I own. I would recommend it.

By Comparables — On Jan 11, 2011

I have a small garden and I was wondering if anyone has used on of those little hand held rotary tillers. I am looking to buy some new lawn and garden tools, and I am wondering if this will be a worthwhile investment. My garden is about 25 feet by forty, and I have a few small herb and flowerbeds.

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