Garden rakes are stronger than most rakes, although they won’t usually be as strong as rakes designed specifically to be used with concrete or tarmac. They can be used for various gardening and landscaping jobs.
Soil can become hard and compacted over time, or if it contains a lot of clay or water. To make planting easier and to provide better growing conditions the tilth of the soil should be quite fine. A good quality garden rake should be strong enough to break up clumps of soil and pull out stones and other debris. Garden rakes can also be used to mix fertilizer and compost, or spread mulch over soil to retain moisture and improve its quality.
A garden rake’s rigid tines can be pressed into the ground to pull out weeds and other unwanted plants. Garden rakes can be used to disturb ground coverings, but their wide heads can also pull up plants which you want to keep if you are not careful.
Gathering leaves and garden debris
Garden rakes can be used to gather leaves and other light materials, but they won’t be as effective as a leaf or lawn rake for this job. They usually have a wide gap between their tines, meaning that smaller debris can slip through and the rigid tines can damage lawns. They will, however, be quite effective at gathering and moving heavier debris, like dead plant roots and stones. Check out our best leaf blowers guide
Spreading ground covering
Ground coverings such as chipping and bark can be moved, gathered into mounds or spread level with most garden rakes. You can scrape over ground materials with the tines and flat edges of the rake, moving, levelling or grading across a surface. Garden rakes can also be used to spread fairly heavy materials like gravel and pebbles.
A garden rake can be held vertically to tamp or compact soil. This is useful for firming the soil in a bed once seeds have been planted, or to create a firm surface for laying out turf.
Removing pond weed
Garden rakes can be used in ponds and lakes to remove weeds and other unwanted vegetation. The tines can gather plant materials as the head is moved through the water. Garden rakes will be more effective than using your hands but will be difficult to move through deep water.