My mission in creating Gardenette is to show people that gardening doesn't have to be complicated. The same philosophy applies to the tools; none of these plug in and all fit on a single shelf.
When it comes to brands, I really don't care. I have a lot of Fiskars products but it's because I shop at Home Depot.
Yard sales, garage sales, and estate sales are a great place to get good deals. Take the tools to a place you can get the blades sharpened (most communities have one- locally owned hardware stores a great place to start) and you're off to the races. Any (or all) of these tools would make a great housewarming gift for a first time home owner.
Let's start with my all time, number one, most-used, MVP etc. etc...
The Smallish Shovel- this looks like your normal garden shovel but the blade is actually smaller- only about six to seven inches wide. I use this for everything! It's great for precision digging and can cut through roots in the ground. I have a regular sized garden shovel but hardly use it. If you see one of these, buy one!
pruning shears- the scissors of the garden. Great for cutting flowers, pruning small branches, and anything else that requires small precise cuts.
pruning saw- this one is great for getting hard to reach branches deep in the middle of shrubs and small branches of trees. Would a chainsaw be quicker? Yes. Am I afraid of chainsaws? Also yes. So please consider this safer, cheaper alternative.
action hoe- can't argue with a name like that. This tool will change your life. Buy one of these and kiss weeding on your hands and knees goodbye. The movement is similar to a rake- run it over the weeds you want to dig up and it pulls them right out of the earth.
bypass loppers- these are great for cutting bigger branches. They come in different sizes for different cut ranges (the maximum diameter of a branch that can be cut). My pair goes up to two inches and I use the pruning saw for anything bigger.
garden trowel - if you have a choice, go for the narrower blade. This is a great tool for when you're planting in pots or fitting annuals in around your existing landscaping.
I did consider putting a hedge trimmer on here because it makes quick work of cutting back hostas in the fall, but if I didn't have hostas I wouldn't use it.
So there you have it. If you keep them clean and get them sharpened every couple years these tools should last a lifetime. Happy planting!