What Are Rakes Used For: Different Kinds Of Rakes For Gardening

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When a lot of people hear rake, they think of the big plastic or bamboo thing used to make leaf piles. Yes, that is a perfectly legitimate kind of rake, but it's far from the only one, and not really the best tool for gardening. Keep reading to learn more about the different kinds of rakes and tips for using rakes in gardens.

Different Kinds of Rakes for Gardening

There are two very basic types of rakes: Lawn Rake/Leaf Rake – This is the rake that most readily comes to mind when you hear the word rake and think about falling leaves. The tines are long and fan out from the handle, with a cross piece of material (usually metal) holding them in place. The edges of the tines are bent over at about 90 degrees. These rakes are designed to pick up leaves and lawn debris without penetrating or damaging the grass or soil beneath. Bow Rake/Garden Rake – This rake is more heavy duty. Its tines are wideset and short, usually only about 3 inches (8 cm.) long. They bend down from the head at a 90-degree angle. These rakes are almost always made of metal and are sometimes called iron rakes or level head rakes. They are used for moving, spreading, and leveling soil.

Additional Rakes for Gardening

While there are two main types of garden rakes, there are also other types of rakes that are a little less common, but they definitely have their uses. What are rakes used for other than the above-mentioned tasks? Let’s find out. Shrub Rake – This is almost the same as a leaf rake, except that it’s much narrower. It’s more easily handled and fits better into small places, like under shrubs (hence the name), to rake up leaves and other litter. Hand Rake – This is a small, handheld rake that’s about the size of a trowel. These rakes tend to be made out of metal for heavy duty work – and they’re a little bit like miniature bow rakes. With only a few long, pointed tines, these rakes are perfect for digging and moving soil in a small area. Thatch Rake – This mean looking rake is a bit like a bow rake with blades on either end. It’s used for breaking up and removing thick thatch in lawns.

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.