Pacific Northwest Regional Reports

Novel Garden Tools to Get Excited About This Year

These options are specifically crafted to minimize strain and effort and to maximize comfort and efficiency

new gardening tools
Every gardener should have an arsenal of tools that are comfortable and efficient. Perhaps this is the year to upgrade your tools to ones that are a better fit.

For at least 12,000 years, humans have been clearing brush, digging dirt, planting plants, cultivating, weeding, growing, and harvesting—in a word, gardening! And for almost as long, these same humans have crafted tools to help them carry out each specific gardening function. We have developed tools to help break up and dig soil; gadgets to cut stems, branches, and roots; and devices to remove unwanted plants. The best tools increase efficiency and proficiency, and they are constantly improved upon, evolving alongside gardening and the gardener, and making every gardening task easier to accomplish.

Whether you’re a newbie just embarking on your gardening journey or an experienced horticulturist, you know that having the right gardening tools at your disposal makes tending to your garden and plants a far more rewarding experience. There are thousands of handy items in every garden center or hardware store, all designed to be useful somewhere in the landscape. But with innovations, upgrades, and refinements arriving every year, it’s difficult to know where to start when searching for new or replacement gardening tools.

I live in a fabulous climate where year-round gardening is possible. I’m also fortunate to have been a gardener for almost 40 years. And for this very reason, while recently shopping for replacements for various worn-out, broken, and lost garden tools, I found myself most attracted to those made with ergonomics in mind. The following may not all be brand-new to the market, but they’re recent discoveries for me that I wish I’d come across years ago.

round shovel handle Radius Pro Round Point Shovel in three different colors author with shovel

Radius Pro Round Point Shovel

Because it has been a while since I last purchased a round-point shovel, I had never come across an O-handled version. I’m amazed at how much more gripping power there is, how easy it is to push the stainless-steel blade into the soil (and it’s super easy to pull out again), and how the grippy ergonomic handle puts so much less stress on my wrists than previous (admittedly clunky and old) shovels. This well-made tool is the perfect size and weight for my needs, and it comes in a range of happy colors.

Radius Pro Round Point Shovel

Price: $68.74 at the time of writing

#15 Felco Pruners

#15 Felco Pruners

Although on the pricier side, these pruners are well worth it and so beautifully made! The rotating ergonomic grip moves smoothly as you squeeze, minimizing strain, yet the cutting power is as good if not better than every other pair of Felco pruners I’ve ever possessed. Said to be well-suited for those with smaller hands, these work perfectly with my own not-so-small ones. The signature red handle is so cushiony and comfortable, it makes tidying up my 65-plus roses almost effortless. The product description claims you should only cut branches less than an inch, but I can attest that these pruners easily handle 1-inch-diameter limbs.

#15 Felco Pruners

Price: $85.75 at the time of writing

Fiskars Ergo Weeder

Fiskars Ergo Weeder

I garden a lot and have abundant weeds consistently threatening to overtake my perennial and vegetable beds—and I love this slim little weeder. It is solid, sturdy, comfortable to use, beautifully balanced for easily levering-out tricky taproots (e.g., dandelions). The slender design is perfect for squeezing into the gaps between my intentionally planted vegetables, annuals, and perennials. It also makes a wonderful mini-dibbler, as it has the perfect girth for planting out onion or leek seedlings.

Fiskars Ergo Weeder

Price: $9.99 at the time of writing

Pulaski Landscaping Axe

Pulaski Landscaping Axe

The gnarliest landscaping jobs are made much easier when you have this sturdy, stainless-steel landscaping axe/mattock combo at your disposal. At 4 pounds, it’s relatively lightweight, yet it is well balanced and heavy enough to reduce muscle strain. Use it to break up hard clay (with the mattock blade) or to chop through roots (using the axe blade). A cushion grip and a 36-inch fiberglass handle give it extra gripping and swinging power. Pulaski axes are famously known for their firefighting attributes, so yes, you can do that too.

Pulaski Landscaping Axe

Price: $64.99 at the time of writing

For more on great gardening tools, go here.

For more on Pacific Northwest gardening, go here.

—Fionuala Campion is the owner and manager of Cottage Gardens of Petaluma in Petaluma, California.

Photos: Fionuala Campion


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