Even though winter is upon us, there is no better time to think about giving a touch of spring as a Christmas gift to your gardening enthusiast. Receiving gardening tools as a Christmas gift will get your gardener excited about the upcoming months leading to spring and summer.

While gardens and gardeners come in all shapes, sizes and needs, there are some garden tools every gardener should own because the right tools make the job easier. A handful of inexpensive tools will do the trick to handle the most common lawn and garden maintenance issues.

And, just like us, garden tools come in all shapes, sizes and ways we can use them, but one thing gardeners all agree upon is that we want the garden tools to last and to work as hard as we do. The right tools help to avoid strained back muscles, scratched hands, and other backyard annoyances, so having the right tool to do the job is a priority.

Gardening Tools that are a Must

Shovel – Any gardener will tell you that a shovel is a necessity for any garden or landscape work. It is best used for planting or digging out trees and shrubs, mixing large quantities of dirt, creating a dugout for an annual or perennial garden, composting and so much more. You should look for a sturdy tempered-steel round-point shovel that is 44 to 48 inches long in the shaft that you can grip comfortably and lift with as little effort on your back as possible.

Hand Pruner – Hand pruners are a versatile tool that can be used for many purposes in the garden, but they are best used for snipping and removing dead and unwanted branches from trees and shrubs in an easy stroke motion. They come in many sizes and blades such as hand-held bypass pruners that have a smooth operating blade and comfortable grip for your hand.

Hand Trowel – A hand trowel is designed for digging small holes, transplanting seedlings, planting flowers and bulbs in garden beds or performing similar tasks. Many gardeners find hand trowels immensely useful and indispensable. Look for a hand trowel with a comfortable grip and a narrow, sturdy blade that will pierce the soil more easily.

Garden Utility Bucket or Caddy – A utility bucket or caddy is ideal for carrying your hand tools around the property, freeing up your hands while gathering clippings and weeds. Some caddy type models let you carry a beverage or cell phone in designated pockets. The standard utility bucket lets you carry your tools and toss a lot of debris in it as well. Look for easy to clean canvas construction in caddy models or go for a basic 5 gallon plastic bucket with handles.

Leaf Rake – The most basic of tool for any property is a leaf rake. It is best used for gathering leaves, lawn clippings, spreading mulch around the gardens and other ground-covering materials around planting beds. You want to look for a rake that has a medium size head width in either metal or plastic tines because super-sized leaf rakes can be difficult to maneuver.

Garden Rake – These rakes are best used for working the soil in planting beds, pressing sown seeds into the soil and removing dead grass from the lawn. A flat head rake is useful for leveling soil, while a bow-head garden rake is often easier to maneuver.

Watering Can – A medium sized watering can is ideal for transporting small quantities of water from an outdoor tap to thirsty plants that are potted or in the garden. Look for a 1.5 or 2 gallon plastic or metal watering can with a sturdy handle for a comfortable grip and ease of transportation.

Garden and Work Gloves – Gardeners will tell you how important a good pair of garden gloves is for working in the outdoors. They protect your hands from being stabbed by thorns and branches and shield them against chemicals and poisonous plants. You can buy cotton gloves with rubberized grips, which are inexpensive, but they soak up water and wear out quickly. The best type is a pair of leather or synthetic gloves for greater protection and durability.