Gardening experts reveal the 3 essential tools every busy gardener needs in their shed this season

Struggling to find the time to garden? These are the essential tools needed to cut down the time without sacrificing results

picture of trowels in a wheel barrow to show essential tools every gardener needs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Are you dying to get into the garden but can't find the spare time to spend hours digging and sowing? We spoke to garden experts to find out what essential tools you need to reduce your gardening efforts without cutting down on your results.

Trying to keep up with the garden trends of the year can be impossible when you're short on time as it is. When you don't have the spare time to start your succession planting schedule, trim the out-of-control privacy plants or finally cut those conifers back, even entering your garden can feel overwhelming. 

So what can you do to simplify things and speed up the process? Well, several tools can help reduce the amount of time you need to be in the garden no matter the task. 

As recommended by gardening experts, here are three essential tools that will support even the busiest bees in their gardening journey to tackle all endeavours. 

Three essential tools for the gardener limited on time

Whether you know every easy gardening tip every gardener should know or are just starting in your vegetable growing journey, there are certain tools everyone needs. 

When it comes to knowing how to care for your alluring plants on a limited time scale, certain gardening tools will help make hour-long tasks much quicker. 

Here are the three essential tools every busy gardener needs...  

1. Secateurs

gardener with gloves snipping a flower with saceteurs

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to how to prune roses to maximise blooming or cutting back smaller shrubs in your garden it can take a lot longer than you'd like to get the job done. Having a pair of secateurs can make these jobs so much quicker and a lot more stress-free. 

"Secateurs will become an essential part of your gardening kit as you prune and tidy plants. With garden clippers - like scissors - you can cut with one hand. They're worth investing in and will last you a long time," says Jane Dobbs, lead gardener at Allans Gardeners

Jane also points out that a high-quality pair of secateurs is perfect for easily trimming away dead or overgrown branches to promote growth and vitality. 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Key by Spear & Jackson Wooden Bypass Secateurs: £22.99 at John Lewis 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Key by Spear & Jackson Wooden Bypass Secateurs: £22.99 at John Lewis 

These secateurs are made with drop-forged carbon steel for strength and feature FSC-certified ash wood handles which are finished with a protective lacquer. The pair also close safely with a reliable hook-catch lock. 

2. Claw Cultivator

woman using a handheld claw cultivator

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you don't find yourself pruning that often, perhaps you're more into the rewilding trend and love the wildflower look, then using a claw cultivator for flower beds is a great time saver. 

Harry Bodell, professional gardener at PriceYourJob, says, "If you have lots of flower borders or a patch for growing veggies, a claw cultivator will speed up the prep and tidying of these. Shaped like a bent fork, it can pull up weeds as well as break up and aerate the soil."

Should you have a wider border then Harry suggests going for a long-handled version so you can reach the back without having to strain too hard. 

Hardys 32" Manual Garden Tiller: £14.99 at B&Q 

Hardys 32" Manual Garden Tiller: £14.99 at B&Q 

Using a long-handled cultivator like this will make quick work of prepping flower beds whilst not straining your back. The soft grip handles on this particular item will ensure comfort when tackling tougher patches of dirt. 

3. Hand trowel

picture of hand trowel in a vegetable patch in a community garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A true basic, the hand trowel might just be the most essential gardening tool you can buy – whether planting wildflower borders or cultivating and growing vegetables, a trowel is a must-have. 

Jane says, "A hand trowel is indispensable in any garden as it’s used for digging, planting up beds and pots and helps with the weeding (to help get rid of weeds effectively). All things that are hard to do by hand."

When it comes to what type of trowel to go for, Jane suggests choosing one with a serrated edge as it will make it much quicker and easier to dig through clay soils as it works like a knife. 

"This also enables you to chop through the tough roots of weeds such as dandelions and can help remove the stems of spent perennials and annuals as you tidy your borders," she continues. 

Greenman Multipurpose Hand Trowel: £15.95 at Amazon 

Greenman Multipurpose Hand Trowel: £15.95 at Amazon 

This hand trowel really does it all, from cutting through root balls to using the fishtail tip to lift rooted weeds. There's even a twine-cutting notch that doubles up as a bottle opener, perfect for a mid-gardening beer. 

Whilst these three tools are particularly essential there are several more that will improve your gardening experience and make the hard work a little easier, whether that's spades, forks or even a lawnmower. 

However, if you're looking for more sustainable garden ideas and have a smaller budget, why not look out for second-hand hardening tools that will do just as good of a job without the big price tag? 

Emily Smith
Digital lifestyle writer

Emily joined woman&home as a staff writer after finishing her MA in Magazine Journalism from City University in 2023. After writing various health and news content, she now specialises in lifestyle and home writing where she covers all things cleaning, interiors and homeowning.