Rakes: What is a rake used for?
Rakes can be used at home for various clearing and gardening tasks. They can also be used in industries such as agriculture and landscaping.
If you were to look up the definition of rake in the dictionary you might get something like this:
A tool that consists of a pole-like structure with a toothed crossbar or fine tines that will be tied to the end of the pole. The rake is often used to push or brush together cut grass, loose soil, gravel or debris.
They are versatile tools, and in today’s world the rake can be used for far more than a standard definition, but at the same time, not all rakes can be used for all jobs.
Let’s look at the different types of rakes and how they might be used.
Lawn Rakes / Leaf Rakes – Clearing Debris
Raking leaves from gardens and paths is easier if you use a leaf rake, sometimes called lawn rakes. These are generally what a lot of people think of when they hear rake.
The tines, which is the official name for the teeth of the rake, tend to fan out from the bottom of the pole, usually connected together with a crossbar, often made out of metal.
In many rakes, the tines will have a bend, usually around 90 degrees that give the rake a claw-like feel and it’s this angle that allows the rake to move along the grass, picking up debris like leaves but without damaging the grass.
Another option is the garden rake or bow rake. This has shorter, thicker tines, typically around 3inches long, they tend to have a bend about half way down the tines to give it a slight claw to avoid overly damaging the ground.
Soil Rakes – Raking Soil
Garden rakes can be used to break up clumped soil and remove stones.
They are more robust and are able to break up dry or clumpy clay soil. Very often, they are used for turning top layers of soil.
The tines of these rakes can break up large clods of earth, and remove unwanted materials, to prepare an area for planting or sowing seeds. Soil can also be levelled with a rake, or graded to create sloping or raised planting beds.
It often makes sense to get a better quality garden rake because it can be hard work raking some types of soil, you want a Garden rake that is ergonomic and comfortable to use, you don’t want to start getting blisters on your hands.
Thatching Rakes – Scarifying Lawns
Scarifying is great for your grass lawns because it will remove any excess material or debris from the lawn which gives your “live” grass space to breathe.
It also massively helps to minimise any moss or disease your grass has because and allows your grass the room to breathe. When you remove the thatch, you remove these spores which stops them breeding and spreading.
Thatching rakes have sharp tines which can cut through the roots of dead grass (thatch) but will leave the live grass.
The other added bonus is that build-ups of these can make lawns look untidy and affect the health of the living grass. Rakes used for this purpose should be strong enough to pull out the unwanted debris.
Various Rakes – Leveling Ground Surfaces
Various rakes can be used for levelling ground materials, such as tarmac rakes, asphalt rakes, and landscape rakes.
In gardening and landscaping, you often need to level or grade a ground surface material, to prepare it for things like laying or seeding grass, laying paths, or building a shed.
The type of surface you want to level will determine which rake is most suited to the job. The ground surfaces that some rakes can be used to level include soil, bark, pebbles, gravel and tarmac.
Zen Garden Rakes – Decorative Gardening
And now for something different. Zen gardens are used for relaxation, rakes are important for creating patterns on the ground of zen gardens.
One type of garden where the rake plays a particularly important role is the Japanese Zen garden or rock garden. Rakes are vital in their creation and maintenance.
Gravel, or sometimes sand, are used as a base to arrange rocks, moss, trimmed trees, small bushes and water features. The gravel or sand on the ground is specifically raked to create simple patterns, usually representing ripples in water.
Barbecuing, no seriously… it’s a thing (apparently)
We asked around the office and a handful of people have admitted to doing this.
A more unusual use for rakes is to use their tines like skewers for cooking on a barbecue. As long as the tines are metal and clean you could thread on your sausages, marshmallows or other food items and hold them over the barbecue until they are cooked. Just make sure you cook your meat properly!
It’s quite practical for “fire pits” or cooking fires outside when you don’t have all the normal BBQ tools at hand.