You’ll want to have at least one of these valuable and versatile tools on hand to keep your landscaping looking its best year in and year out.
Why buy a landscape rake?
Getting your beds ready for planting and keeping your yard and garden looking their best means a lot of moving, spreading, and leveling of soil, mulch, compost, and gravel, as well as removing stones, weeds, dead growth, and debris. While you can accomplish these chores by hand, doing so is highly time-consuming, not to mention hard on your knees and back. A handheld landscape rake not only allows you to accomplish all of these tasks more quickly and efficiently but makes this labor easier on your body as well.
Since they’re multipurpose and versatile, you can use landscape rakes for a variety of different yard and garden jobs, from cleaning up your yard after a storm to preparing garden beds for planting to creating new walkways. They work on grass, gravel, sand, and even the surface of ponds and other bodies of water. Professional landscapers use them in their work for a reason.
If you own extensive property, you can also find landscape rakes that can be fitted to your riding lawn mower or garden tractor as an alternative to handheld models. These are very similar to the larger ones farmers use with their tractors to prep the fields for planting.
What should you look for in a landscape rake?
- Head: The rake head is a bar, usually made of aluminum or steel, that attaches to the handle with a ferrule; the head may also include braces that connect to the handle for extra stability. The top of the head is usually flat so that it can be used for grading, but some rakes have another set of smaller tines on the top of the head for finer raking. The important features of the head are the sturdiness of its construction and its width. Wider heads mean you can move more material in large spaces. Narrower heads are useful when you’re working in confined spaces between plants and garden rows. Steel heads are more durable, but they’re also heavier.
- Tines: The tines or teeth of a rake will be the same material as the head, and they’ll vary in length, spacing, and shape. All three of these factors will affect the sort of tasks that a landscape rake is most effective at performing. Smaller spaces between tines mean the rake captures finer material, which is better for removing weeds, dead grass, and debris. If the tines are curved and pointed, they will dig into the ground more, ideal for prepping garden beds for planting; straight tines with more rounded tips will dig in less. Alternatively, some landscape rakes made specifically for leveling and evening out grass and soil will have completely flat heads without tines at all.
- Handle: A handle’s performance is determined by the material it’s made from and its length. Typically, rake handles are made from wood, aluminum, or fiberglass; sometimes, they’re made from wood coated with fiberglass. Hardwood handles tend to be heavy, but they’re more durable. Aluminum handles are also durable but considerably lighter. Fiberglass is the lightest material of all but more brittle. For the greatest ease of use, a rake’s length should be no longer than slightly over the top of your head and no shorter than about chin level—a length that touches your nose will be just right. Handles with ergonomic features and soft grips to improve comfort are especially useful when you’re moving heavy rocks and debris. Rubber or silicone grips are the best options, as both are comfortable, durable, and shock-absorbing.
How are landscape rakes different from leaf rakes?
The main difference is in the design. Rakes used for garden landscaping have metal teeth or tines attached to a rake head at a 90-degree angle, as opposed to the large, triangular, usually plastic heads with long, thin teeth of leaf rakes. The teeth of a landscape rake are also spaced out much further apart from each other than those of a leaf rake; the thinner, more tightly spaced tines are more useful for collecting leaves, while the wider ones are designed for spreading dirt and gravel. Landscape rakes also tend to be stronger and more durable overall since they’re used for more heavy-duty tasks.
TRG Inc Groundskeeper II Rake
This versatile landscape rake will be a workhorse for pretty much any of your landscaping and gardening.
Pros: Don’t be fooled by this landscape rake’s lightweight frame and slender tines; it’s still plenty effective at clearing out debris. The tines may be slim, but they’re also made of stiff metal, and their extra-long length is perfect for clearing out sticks, bark, mulch, and leaves while allowing grass and greenery stems to slide between the tines unharmed. It’s even capable of moving around gravel if you so desire. And the long, slender tines are especially perfect for clearing out leaves and twigs that are stuck in bushes or undergrowth without harming or damaging the plants.
Cons: Though the fiberglass handle of this rake helps to ensure that it’s lightweight and easy to carry, the flip side is that this means a less sturdy handle than models with hardwood or metal ones. There’s also no soft, ergonomic grip to make the handle easier and more comfortable to grasp.
Bottom Line: For those that need a very lightweight rake, this garden rake, weighing in at just over a pound, is a perfect choice. It won’t put undue strain on your arms and wrists, but the long, slim tines are perfect for removing debris from your garden and bushes.
Professional EZ Travel Collection Telescopic Folding Rake
The head of this rake is highly adjustable, able to fold and expand into different sizes to better suit different tasks.
Pros: The biggest advantage this particular rake has to offer is its telescopic feature; you can change both the length of the handle and fold up or expand the head as needed. You can extend it to its full length and width to rake up pine needles and twigs in the yard or fold it down for hard-to-reach places or for raking in between flower beds. It’s lightweight, weighing in it at just over 2 pounds, but it’s still sturdy thanks to the aluminum alloy build. It has a nice rubberized grip for your hands. Even better, this rake is on the lower end of the price scale, especially considering how customizable and multifunctional it is.
Cons: Be careful not to leave this rake out in the rain; while aluminum isn’t as prone to rusting as some other metals, it’s not 100% rustproof, nor has it been treated to resist corrosion. And even when fully extended, this rake is only 30 inches long, about half the average length of most landscape rakes.
Bottom Line: Not all lawn care and landscaping tasks are created equal, and sometimes you’ll need different sized tools for different projects. Rather than buying separate rakes for separate chores, the adjustability of this lightweight landscape rake allows you to customize it to better suit the task at hand.
Midwest 10036 Aluminum Landscape Rake
The rounded yet powerful tines of this landscaping rake make it the ideal choice for grading and sculpting land for planting.
Pros: This tough steel rake will dig into your soil to prepare it for planting or into your lawn to remove dead grass. Yet, due to the rounded edges of the tines, you won’t have to worry about it gouging and tearing up your lawn or garden. Overall, the design is perfect for grading your home landscaping but still suitable for removing gunk and weeds from lakeshores and ponds, and you can flip it over to use the flat side of the head for finishing and leveling. It’s not as heavy as you might expect from an all-metal rake, and the handle has an effective grip that’ll prevent it from slipping out of your hands while working.
Cons: You will have to pay a bit more for the heavy-duty quality of this rake. And it will require some assembly. You should be able to put it together yourself with tools you already have on hand, but some users report having issues lining up the assembly holes or tightening the screws properly.
Bottom Line: Bow rakes are the workhorses of garden landscaping; they’re used to spread mulch, remove weeds, tamp soil, break up dirt clods, and remove rocks and roots from cultivated beds. And once you’ve used this sturdy, heavy-duty bow rake, you’ll understand why.
SurmountWay Lawn Leveling Rake
This stainless steel rake is the tool of choice for leveling and evening out your lawn or soil.
Pros: If you need to level your lawn or garden, you can’t go wrong with this rake. Its flat head and rustproof stainless steel body were designed to evenly flatten and level grass, soil, topsoil, compost, dirt, and even sand. And it’s suitable for spaces like golf courses, farms, and football fields, not just home lawns and gardens. There are five different size options available depending on how large or small of an area you need to be leveled, and all five sizes have a length-adjustable handle to customize it to your height and task.
Cons: While this is a sublime rake for flattening, leveling, and smoothing, it’s not equipped for other lawn care and yard work tasks. Also keep in mind that you will have to assemble the handle and attach it to the head, and the connection point between the handle and head isn’t the sturdiest.
Bottom Line: Whether you need to patch up spots in your yard where your dog has been digging, smooth out uneven patches created by your lawnmower, or create terraces in your garden, this leveling landscape rake has you covered. It works equally well on just about any type of grass, soil, or sandy surface that you might need to flatten out.
MotoAlliance Impact CAT-0 Landscape Rake
Larger lawns and properties may be too big to manage with a regular handheld rake, which is where this attachment for motorized vehicles comes in handy.
Pros: This landscape rake is slightly different from the others on this list, as it’s designed to be attached to the back of an ATV or lawn tractor instead of manually operated like handheld rakes. This makes it an ideal choice for large, sprawling properties that would otherwise take hours or days to clean out or rake by hand. This rake is strong and heavy-duty, thanks to its replaceable spring steel teeth, and with the proper mounting equipment, it can be attached to pretty much any vehicle. It also offers five different angle options, allowing you to adjust the rake’s angle to better suit different kinds of tasks.
Cons: Like other vehicle attachment landscape rakes, this product is extremely pricey. If your machine doesn’t already have a CAT-0 or three-point hitch, you’ll have to purchase one before you can attach this rake to your ATV or tractor, which will cost more time and money.
Bottom Line: Sometimes, your lawn or property is too large to manage all your chores with handheld tools. That’s where this landscape rake attachment comes into play. When attached to an ATV or lawn or garden tractor, it can be used for a wide variety of landscaping tasks on larger swathes of land, wooded areas, horse rings, and more.
If you have soil, mulch, or gravel to spread, rocks to remove from your yard, or other similar tasks, investing in a landscape rake is well worth your while. You can’t substitute a leaf rake or garden rake for these particular tasks; due to the difference in designs, they simply won’t be as effective as a good, heavy-duty landscape rake.