Whether you're a well-versed gardener or just discovering your green thumb, having the right tools on hand can make or break your gardening experience.
To help get your garden into the best shape possible this spring, we spoke to gardening expert and volunteer chair of Trees for Life Mark Cullen to learn the ten gardening tools you should never be without.
From hand pruners to gardening gloves and everything in between, read on to discover which ten garden tools are always worth investing in.
1. Square mouth spade
A square-mouthed garden spade is "a lot more versatile than a shovel," explains Cullen. "The reason it's my number one [tool] is that you can do everything with a spade that you could do with a shovel and more." It's "great" for digging holes, planting plants, diving perennials and more, says Cullen. "Everything a shovel does, a square-mouthed spade does and more. You name it!"
This reviewer-loved option from Canadian Tire features a durable tempered steel head and a weather-resistant varnished ash hardwood handle. With an average rating of 4.4 stars, shoppers call it a "great little shovel" and say it does an "amazing job" in the garden and beyond.
2. Leaf rake
A leaf rake is "really helpful in the spring when you're cleaning up debris from the surface of the soil in your garden," Cullen tells Yahoo Canada. It's "extremely helpful" for removing winter debris, cleaning up trimmings and prunings, and pulling "grass blades back up" after the snow has melted.
This sturdy wooden fan rake has a 52-inch handle and 22 tempered steel tines, easily grabbing any leaves or debris in its path.
3. Hand pruners
"A pair of hand pruners is extremely helpful for a lot of things," Cullen explains. "Number one: Cutting flowers to bring indoors. A pair of hand pruners on a woody stem is a piece of cake." The gardening expert advises that if you have to prune something up to the thickness of your baby finger, "a pair of hand pruners does the job best of all."
Backed by more than 20,000 reviews, these "Amazon's Choice" hand pruners are made of premium titanium steel and boast ergonomically designed non-slip handles. Amazon shoppers "love the grip" and say the pruners "tick every box."
4. Bastard file
A bastard file is a "heavy-duty metal file" that partners with any tool that requires a "really sharp edge," says Cullen, like a hoe and a shovel.
Ideal for sharpening knives, shears and saws, this Mastercraft bastard file features single-cut teeth to produce a smooth surface and an ergonomic handle for comfortable handling.
5. Hard rake
Cullen notes that a hard rake is "really good" for levelling soil, removing debris from the ground surface and levelling out mulch. The New Canadian Garden author tells Yahoo Canada that a hard rake is "really handy" in a vegetable garden. "I wouldn't go in a vegetable garden without a hard rake to get the soil nice and level before I create a row of vegetables," he says. "The hard rake does that job best of all."
A trusted pick among Canadian Tire shoppers, this Yardworks rake has a tempered steel head for rugged strength and durability. It's "strong and reliable," according to one reviewer.
6. Long handled shovel
Simply put, "everyone needs a shovel," Cullen says. For moving soil, "there's no substitute for a good sharp shovel." Cullen, the volunteer chair of Trees for Life, advises "putting an edge on" your shovel via a grinding wheel and then keeping it sharp with a bastard file.
This round-point, long-handle shovel has a 57-inch fibreglass shaft and an ergonomic, tear drop-shaped handle with grip areas for both hands. According to one Canadian Tire shopper, it's "probably the most well -priced shovel you can get."
7. Garden fork
A gardening fork is "really great" if you're moving plants around your yard and "don't want to disturb the roots too much." If you want to pick up and move a plant, Cullen says not to use a spade or shovel but rather "use a gardening fork." Plus, it's "great" for turning compost.
This spading garden fork has four 10-inch steel tines that are designed to break up tough soil and clay with ease. The hardwood D-grip handle provides support, comfort and control during digging, turning and aerating soil.
8. Long trowel
Cullen says it's worth investing in a good quality trowel. "If you have a cheap little trowel, you're probably digging three, four or five times" more than you would with a large high-quality trowel. "It saves you a lot of work and time, and it's a lot more fun," he tells Yahoo Canada.
This 22-inch long handle trowel features a powder coated steel head and a tubular steel handle with a plastic grip. "This tool allows for leverage and is my 'go-to tool' for digging small holes," writes one Home Hardware reviewer.
9. Water-resistant garden gloves
According to Cullen, water-resistant gardening gloves are "great" when you need to be in the soil and have a "tactile experience." The gardening enthusiast says he keeps a pair in "every corner of [his] garden and in every garden shed" so that he never has "to go very far to find one if they aren't already in [his] back pocket."
These top-rated water-resistant gardening gloves are partly made of post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and white goatskin leather. These "great fitting" gloves are "tough enough for any [kind of] yard work," writes one shopper. Plus, they're "very comfortable to wear for long periods of times."
10. Garden hose
"The difference between a cheap garden hose and a quality garden hose is really the difference between a tricycle and a Mercedes," explains Cullen. "It's that dramatic." A cheap garden hose won't uncoil, kinks very easily and doesn't seal properly, whereas a quality garden hose "acts like real rubber" and "will last a lifetime," he says.
This top-rated and Canadian Tire-tested polymer garden hose will not kink under pressure, holds no memory, and boasts a 150 PSI working pressure. It's the "best hose I've ever owned," lauds one shopper. "No kinks, spools really well, [and is] high quality."
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.