If you’re like me, gift giving often engenders stress as you search for a seemingly perfect present. I’ve learned an important lesson over the years: Don’t make assumptions that your recipient bought themselves everything they need for outdoor relaxation or gardening hobby.


Even though I have an embarrassingly endless collection of garden “stuff,” I still have a garden wish list of things I don’t always buy myself, such as new tools.


High-performance name brand tools, like Felco, Fiskars, Corona and Cobrahead, are top-of-the line products. From snips for deadheading blooms to weeders, pruners, loppers and tree saws, quality tools sometimes take a back seat to something on sale or found on an end cap at the dollar store.


Some gardeners might make do with one or two tools to accomplish multiple tasks. Having the proper tool for different jobs helps you work smarter, not harder. I don’t know a single gardener who hasn’t left his or her tools in the rain at some point, leading to rust or corrosion. Quality tools always make a great gift.


If you would rather opt for a less practical but substantial gift, a bench or rocker offers a space for meditative time or a place to sit outside and watch the kids or grandkids play, or a place from which to throw the ball for your dog as long as he wants to fetch it.


If you’re not in the market for a more substantial gift, consider putting together a collection of thoughtful items in a gift basket or ceramic pot. Creating a hand-curated package present — a hook, bird feeder and bag of seeds — makes an enjoyment-ready gift. No batteries necessary.


Gardening is rough on your feet. And your back, legs, arms and hands — you get it.


Wouldn’t your friend or family member enjoy a self-care gift basket of special gardeners soap, hand cream, a wide-brimmed hat and garden gloves?


Don’t rule out clogs and boots. Just like your everyday shoes, wearing shoes with proper support can help prevent aches and pains And, the variety of fun designs can make the gift creative and personal.


Bird, bat and butterfly houses and feeders provide entertainment for adults and children alike — and bonus time away from electronic devices. Research continues to confirm the dangers of too much screen time and lack of personal interaction and outdoor time.


If you don’t have trees appropriate for hanging houses and feeders, shepherd hooks are available in a variety of sizes. Clear plastic hummingbird feeders with suction cups also bring these fascinating feathered friends as close as your window.


Like indoor décor, personal garden style is a carefully cultivated reflection of each gardener. Look around inside and out to ensure you understand your recipient’s style. Is their garden filled with casual beachy colors, or does it have an elegant, monochromatic, formal feel? Is there a rich collection of décor in cottage garden style or is it a minimalist contemporary style?


The restorative sound of bubbling water flowing through a fountain creates a peaceful background for reading a book or enjoying morning coffee. No need to spend big bucks for an oversize, professionally installed concrete one; there is a slew of lightweight patio fountains that don’t require digging. My husband built me one from a 5-gallon bucket kit several years ago. I enjoyed its melodic rippling water, as did a number of Rio Grande leopard frogs that took up residence each summer under the rock waterfall.


Other thoughtful potential garden décor items include gazing balls, birdbaths, obelisks and statues.


Nurseries and garden centers carry a variety of interesting gifts, but don’t pass up antique shops or similar stores for found objects and treasures that can be recycled or repurposed and personally tailored for your recipient.