Bow Rake Sitting On Mulch
bow rake
(Image credit: beardean)

Not all rakes are created equal. If you have a garden or a backyard, odds are good that you have a leaf rake. This is important and useful for picking up leaves and other yard debris. However, a lot of jobs that say they require a rake have something completely different in mind. One such rake is the bow rake, also known as the garden rake. Keep reading to learn more bow rake information, like how to use a bow rake and garden rake uses.

What is a Bow Rake?

A bow rake is shaped very differently from your average leaf rake. The tines are short, only a few inches (8 cm.) long, and they are parallel to each other, setting them apart from the fanning shape of a leaf rake’s tines. The tines are perpendicular to the long, straight handle. They are strong and rigid, usually made of metal. While using a bow rake to collect leaves is not unheard of, the sharpness and strength of the tines make it more suited to heavier duty projects. The side of the head opposite the tines is flat, earning it its other common name: level head rake. Bow rakes are both tough and useful. If you only have room for one rake in your shed, it should probably be this one.

How to Use a Bow Rake

There are quite a few common garden rake uses. It’s good for cleaning up a lawn in the spring. Running the sharp, hard tines over the grass will both pick up any debris and pull away thickly matted, compacted dead turf. It’s also very good for pushing around, grooming, and leveling material such as soil, mulch, gravel, and compost. The tines can be used for breaking up and spreading material, and the smooth side of the head can be used for more precision jobs of leveling the material out.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.