Essential Garden Tools-My Bucket List

I love my garden tools.  I have done a lot of gardening- for myself and for others and have tested out many different kinds of tools.  Now after many years, I will reveal to you what tools have made the cut and are still in my bucket!

garden bucket with tools

Tubtrug bucket full of garden tools

First of all, there is the bucket.  I re-used an old black tree pot from the nursery for many years and I didn’t mind it at all.  But when tugtrug came out with their buckets in bright colors, I switched.  Just because of the color.  In my old bucket, I had drilled two holes and placed a 6 in piece of black pipe vertically in the bucket to hold up my pruning shears.  I have not tried that with the trug.  But I do like the trug and the happy colors!

Here is the link for these:

You’ll notice some of my old tools have been painted orange and that is so I don’t lose them in the garden- or find them in the compost pile.  You would be surprised how easy it is to do that!

If you want to see a visual of all the items I use and love go to my Pinterest site, called and check out the board called “Bucket check”.

  • Folding hand saw by Barnel   I have used this saw for more than 10 years and it is still sharp and wonderful.  There are a lot of brands out there, but this one has really held up.  The folding part is essential because it can sit at the bottom of my bucket and not snag or get caught by anything.
  • Felco pruners and holster  These are the best pruners I have ever used.  I originally started with Corona brand and they dulled quickly and rusted.  That will not happen with Felco.  I have 2 pair, one that has the ergonomic shape to help my sore hands.  The blades can be removed and sharpened or replaced.  My original pair are now more than 12 years old and working wonderfully.  The holster is a must have- so you always know where they are.  I have friends who didn’t buy the holster and so they are always putting the pruners on the ground.  BAD idea- they get lost, wet, dulled quicker, etc.
  • “Hacker” from   I have FOUR of these because I keep one in the house, in the bucket in the backyard shed and one for a friend or husband who might actually want to help me with weeding.  The pointed end is great for pin point weeding or for digging a trough for planting seeds.  The flat end I use for  scraping the soil and weeding a lot of shallow weeds out and to tamp down the soil after planting.
  • hand rake from  The recurring theme here is: don’t go for the cheap stuff.  And certainly true for this rake as well.  I have tried the others- they are heavy and hurt your hands and wrist, they are clunking and awkward.  These are nicely balanced, light and durable.  I have had these for more than 10 years.
  • Hand rake. The best lightweight option

    Hand rake. The best lightweight option

  • twine  Ok, any twine will do!  It’s nice if it’s contained in a can so it doesn’t sprawl out all over the bucket!  But a ziplock bag can do the trick as well.
  • Atlas Nitrile garden gloves  I use nitrile gloves for gardening.  When I prune roses, I use leather gloves with gauntlets.  Once again, don’t go for the grocery store gloves.  I tried them out, they were only 2 dollars!  But the shape was all wrong, I could hardly move my thumbs!  Get several pairs, wash them regularly and your hands won’t stink.  I wash in cold water, and air dry.
  • Fiskar garden shears  If I hadn’t lost a few pair, I could probably say these have lasted me 10 years, but alas, they are hard for me to keep track of!  I love these, they are nice and sturdy, great for deadheading, opening feed sacks, cutting lilacs and other flower bouquets.  I love them and stow them in my back pocket not in the bucket while I’m working so they are right there when I want them.  I lose them when I am wearing the wrong pants with a shallow rear pocket or no pocket at all.
  • Garden shears

    Garden shears

  • rectangular kneeling pad
  • knee pads by Kneelon I have not tried this brand, but they have been recommended by other gardeners and so I am going to get some!  I have used several different store brands and not been impressed.  Some the velcro wears out, or the elastic bands stretch out and they become useless.  Just this week, I bought pants with knee pad pockets, I’ll see how they work out.  At least they shouldn’t cut off my circulation like some of the elastic ones can do.
  • Saboten hedge shears  Broken record alert!!  Don’t go for the cheapest shears, get the best and they will last forever.  I love these.  When I was a personal gardener, we used them all the time for perennial pruning, ornamental grasses, carpet roses, lavender deadheading, shaping up the hydrangeas.  Lightweight, balanced, sturdy.  Just remember to sharpen them every year!
    My favorite shears

    My favorite shears

  • wooden handle tool

    The winged weeder is great for edging and weeding while standing up!

    The winged weeder is my favorite tool when I am weeding large areas. It cuts off the weeds at the ground level, but doesn’t leave a gaping hole where the weed used to be. I use it to edge between the garden bed and the concrete sidewalk, too. It’s nice and sharp!

Now you have my bucket list of the best garden tools around.  What a great gift it would be for mother’s day!!  She will love it!

Posted By


I love gardening and when it comes to vegetables, organic gardening is important to me. I am an Advanced Master Gardener with the University of Idaho, and my favorite garden activity is pruning. When I'm not cutting down plants, you can find me shooting photos on my Canon DSLR or out smashing overheads on the tennis courts.


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  1. Really good list. I love my garden tool, too. But in my list does not have shears and twine

    • Thanks, Joseph! You just never know when you need to tie up the tomatoes, clematis or melons on the trellis….

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