1. A trowel
“You can’t plant anything without a good trowel. My favorite is the Victorian trowel from Dewit. Its tough, boron-steel blade makes digging holes or scooping potting soil a breeze and the sharpened front edge cuts through roots quickly. I’ve had one in my arsenal for years.” —Steve Bender, Senior Editor at Southern Living
To buy: Dewit Victorian Trowel, $35, houzz.com.
2. Hand pruners
“Every gardener needs a pair of hand pruners for basic cuts of small stems or stiff leaves and Felco pruners are the best. This Swiss brand may cost more than ordinary pruners but they are well-designed and sturdy enough to perform countless quality cuts on every type of plant. With replaceable parts, including the blades, you will get years of use from a single pair. Felco 2 is the tried and true version, but they also come in assorted shapes for different hands and uses, such as my Felco 9, which is specially designed for lefties like me.” —Daryl Beyers, Lead Landscape Designer for Poundridge Nurseries, Inc.
3. A spade
“Tall thin spades are my favorite tool for digging, and the Clarington Forge Transplanting Spade is the best. I have heavy clay soil and a sharp spade that you can put some weight on makes digging a hole possible in my garden.” —Judy Kameon, Elysian Landscapes
To buy: Clarington Forge Transplanting Spade, $78, shopterrain.com.
4. Irrigation vessels
“I love using these terra cotta Oya Grow irrigation vessels in raised beds. Just bury them in the beds at the time of planting and fill them to the top with water as needed (usually every 5 to 10 days).” —Kathleen Ferguson,Kathleen Ferguson Landscapes
To buy: Small Oya, $25, pottedstore.com.
5. Stirrup Hoe
“Also called a Stirrup Hoe or Scuffle Hoe, this long-handled tool is used to uproot small weeds, loosen the soil before plantings, fluff mulch, or aerate garden beds. The stirrup-shaped blade is fastened by a hinge to a long wooden handle allowing for a back and forth action as you scuffle your way through the top layer of the soil and tear through that pesky patch of weeds. I also use it to work fertilizer or compost down closer to my plant roots. The long handle allows me to work standing straight which puts less strain on my back and the hinge action gets more work done with less effort than an ordinary hoe.” —Daryl Beyers
To buy: Hula Hoe, $25, gardeners.com.
6. Gardening knife
“This stainless steel knife is great for weeding, dividing plants, scooping soil to fill tight spots, and it has handy measurements on the blade—it’s probably my most-used gardening tool.”—Kathleen Ferguson
To buy: Hori Hori Garden Knife, $29, duluthtrading.com.
7. Watering can
“Growing plants need frequent watering, which is why a sturdy, well-made watering can is indispensable. I like models that come with removable brass roses (sprinkler heads) and hold at least 2 gallons, so you’re not running back to the spigot for refills every two minutes. I prefer the classic, rust-resistant galvanized option, but they also offer brightly colored versions.” —Steve Bender
To buy: Large Classic Watering Can, $54, kinsmangarden.com.