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The Essential Novice Gardener Checklist

The Essential Novice Gardener Checklist

Gardening checklist

Spring is here, and growing season has begun. Don’t know where to start? We surveyed expert gardeners for their essential tools and tips. Let this checklist help you create your very own gorgeous garden.

Garden tools

Hand tools.

You’ll need a shovel, spade, rake, hand trowel, pruners, shears and a wheelbarrow or tarp to transport dirt. Tip: Buy a bottle of linseed oil and grease your tools at the end of the season, so they don’t rust. If you don’t do this, they’ll be ruined by next spring.

Electric tiller

An electric tiller.

Bad back or bad knees? Use an electric tiller to loosen topsoil and break new ground, instead of using a shovel.

Garden shears

Sharp scissors or clippers.

Use them to snip smaller weeds and overgrowth.

Rubber gloves

Gloves with rubber palms.

Thorns hurt! Opt for cotton gloves for breathability; rubber palms will help with gripping.

Rubber clogs

Rubber clogs.

Unlike sneakers, you can slide these off as soon as you get into the house — no tracking dirt. Plus, you can walk through a wet lawn without damaging the clogs with moisture.



You’ll need a set of at least two to keep larger lawn areas hydrated. Make sure your sprinklers have metal spikes to keep them firmly anchored in the ground.

Lawn bags

Lawn bags.

Don’t forget these to gather up excess leaves.


A barrel-style composter.

This is a great way to put your old kitchen scraps to good use! Enrich your soil with homemade compost using leftover organic materials from your kitchen, like fruit and veggie scraps, grains, coffee grounds, spices or corncobs. (Never use weeds or meat.) Make sure to add an equal amount of leaves, straw or wood chips for quicker composting, and keep the compost damp. Turn the barrel once weekly to mix the ingredients. Compost should be ready in about a month. It’s a handy way to nourish your garden and help the environment.