13 Different Types of Rakes for Outdoor and Gardening Needs

Kenneth Wilson

Whether it’s your first time taking care of a garden or you’ve been doing it for a long time, one lawn equipment that you will need is a rake.

A rake is like a huge fork but with multiple tines. Most people know that this is used to collect leaves, but that’s just one type. I’m not just talking about the material, there are also different kinds of rakes - and it’s not just for scraping leaves.

So here are the different types of rakes and their uses to help you determine which ones you will need to maintain your garden.

Leaf or Lawn Rake 

Let’s start with the most common type of rake: leaf rake. Also called lawn rakes, you’ve probably seen this, even once, in your life. It’s a lightweight fan-shaped rake with flat and springy tines spreading outward. 

The main purpose of this type is to gently scrape leaves without damaging the grass or digging into the soil. Aside from raking leaves, this can also be used on dead grass or turf. But instead of removing it, this will be used to expose the dead patch to air, providing it with more nutrients and water.

If you need this rake, you should know that it can be made out of different materials. You can choose from bamboo, wood, plastic, or steel. The great thing about plastic or wood is that they are more rust-resistant compared to steel leaf rakes. If you prefer the metal ones, make sure to oil and store this equipment properly to prevent the tines from rusting. 

Plastic and wood are also lighter and less expensive, but if you prefer a more durable type, go for metal leaf rakes. The steel ones are best for those who have to move large piles of leaves, especially when it is wet or heavy.

Garden or Bow Rake

The next type is the garden rake. Also called bow rake, this one is heavier and sturdier than leaf rakes, but aside from appearance, it also has a different function. It’s designed to work with soil, such as loosening, leveling, or breaking up compacted soil. Since soil is heavier than dry leaves, most garden rakes are made out of metal with short and rigid tines pointing downward. You’ll also notice that the tines are spread more widely than leaf rakes’.

Aside from soil, this rake can be used to spread mulch, gravel, sand or other material evenly for gardening or landscaping projects. If you don’t have a leaf rake nearby, you can also use this to collect leaves, grass, or other debris found in your lawn.

Hand Rake

A hand rake is the mini version of standard-sized rakes. There is a smaller version of a garden or bow rake, and they have similar styles and functions. It’s also used for gardening tasks but on small spaces such as planting beds and borders. So if you need to turn and till the soil in pots or tiny flowerbeds, this is quite useful, especially if you like indoor gardening or vertical gardens

Other people also use hand rakes to remove weeds, old roots, or other debris in pots and flowerbeds. It’s going to be easier and safer for your plants to use a rake with a small head than with a standard-size garden rake. This type also has sturdy tines, so you can use it pull out stones or dig into the soil and other unwanted debris. 

Another type of hand rake is a smaller version of the lawn or leaf rake. They have similar functions, but the hand rake can be used in small areas and when you need to reach into plant beds and borders or need to get closer to the surface. There are times you need to clear leaves and debris surrounding your plants, and you don’t want to damage them with a large leaf rake.

You can also use this type to scrape leaves and other unwanted materials, as long as it is lightweight. Some also use it to remove dead plant materials and when scarifying (removing debris).

If you find a durable hand rake, you can use it to disturb the surface of the soil. This will disrupt dead plants in the shallow part. You can also use it to pull out thatch build-up but only work on the smaller areas. If it is spread in big patches, you may need to use the next type of rake. 

Thatch Rake

Before we discuss this type of rake, let’s first define the word ‘thatch’. Thatch is a layer between the surface of the soil and green vegetation filled with living and dead stems, crowns, and roots. 

It’s usually one-inch deep, which prevents air, water, and other nutrients from reaching the soil to keep the lawn healthy. That’s why it should be removed, and this is the main purpose of a thatch rake.

This rake has sharp tines that efficiently remove thatch from the lawn as well as prevent damaging new growth. To do this, you need to rake the grass and dig deep to penetrate the thatch and loosen it. You can also use other types of rakes, but it may not be as effective.

Leaf Scoop Rake

With leaf rakes, you have to collect the leaves and then manually scoop it up. A new type of rake to make this job easier is the leaf scoop rake. With this rake, you can easily lift and move the leaves into a wheelbarrow or compost pile without having to worry about an aching back after.

You don’t have to bend anymore because the leaf scoop rake has a set of jaws that open and close, allowing you to grab a bunch of leaves. Compared to leaf rakes, this type makes it easier to scrape both wet and dry leaves, and other lightweight debris such as twigs and pine needles. If you’re planning on moving rocks or other heavy items with this rake, be prepared to buy a new one since it won’t be able to handle this job.

Source: Amazon

This rake will also be safer to use when collecting leaves along with vines or nettles that are sharp and may sting you. As a bonus, some children love to use this device, so you can turn this garden chore into a game - less effort for you and more time with the kids!

Shrub Rake

If you have shrubs all over your lawn, you may want to get a shrub rake. This rake looks similar to a leaf rake, but it has a narrower head and fewer tines. Most shrub rakes have a head that is less than 10 inches wide. The tines are also shorter to make it easier getting into small and tight areas such as between shrubs. 

With its small head, you can remove leaves and other unwanted materials without damaging the shrubs or plants. If you are planning to use it when removing small stones, you should get a shrub rake made out of metal. Otherwise, you can get a plastic- or wooden-tine one, which is more rust-resistant and gentler against shrubs.

For those who have back problems or prefer not to risk it, you can get a shrub rake with a longer handle so you don’t have to bend down.

Landscape Rake

Even if you don’t do a lot of landscaping projects, a landscape rake is a tool you will need. This type is used to spread or level coverings and materials such as mulch, chippings or bark over wide areas. Most kinds of landscape rakes are durable enough to spread different types of materials, but you will find some for specific coverings.

This rake has a large head to make it easier for you to spread materials such as compost. It’s best to use this material in your garden to improve your soil’s quality. Aside from spreading, you can use it to mix the compost or mulch into the surface of the soil, leveling or grading the surface, digging into the soil, or laying out new turf.

A landscape rake is sturdy enough if you need to remove stones or other debris from the soil. This means you can also use it to spread stones and gravel. For those who want to build a pathway in their yard, you would probably need this tool.

If you have a pond, you can use this rake to remove pond weeds and other aquatic plants. It’s easy to collect things because of its wide head. Make sure to get a metal one because you will be soaking it in water. 

You may want to use this rake to collect leaves, but it would be difficult. It has rigid tines that are spaced apart, which could damage the lawn and make it hard to collect leaves and small debris.

Specialized Rakes 

Concrete Rake

If you’re planning on installing a concrete pathway in your outdoor area, you might need a concrete rake. A concrete rake has one or more flat edge that is used to spreading and smoothing out wet concrete. There are types with a textured edge on top, but there will always be one flat side for pushing and pulling concrete into position before it turns hard.

Ash Rake

Source: Amazon

For those who have a barbecue grill or fire pit, you should get an ash rake. This rake is primarily used to safely clean these cookout necessities. An ash rake has a small head and short handle, making it easy to maneuver inside the grill, fire pit, or fireplace. Most people use this rake to pull or scoop the ash if ever you need to remove or relocate it. 

Lake Rake

If you have a garden pond, another type of rake you might need is a lake rake. Also known as aquatic weed rake or pond rake, this is a tool that will help you take care of your landscaping feature.

The main purpose of this rake is to remove weed and algae that grow in bodies of water such as ponds. There are two kinds of lake rake, which are long-handled or short-handled. For the first kind, this is to help easily reach all parts of the pond. For those who use it on lakes or larger ponds, they use this one while riding on a boat or from the shore. On the other hand, the short handle is attached to a rope which is then thrown into the pond or lake. This will drag weeds and algae when you pull it out.

Poop Scoop Rake

For pet owners, you can have an easier time cleaning up after your pet by getting a poop scoop rake. It has one purpose - and it’s to collect your pet’s poop.

Source: Amazon

This small rake often comes in a set with a scoop pan. There are some products that offer extendable rakes, helping you avoid back pain. Using this rake is similar to using a broom and dustpan when collecting your pet’s poop from the yard. 

Roof Rake

Another specialized rake you may need is a roof rake. This rake is designed to help you pull down debris such as leaves that are stuck on the roof.

Since you will be holding these up, this rake should be lightweight as well as long, to help you easily reach the top. Removing debris lodged on top will help prevent the roof from incurring damage.

Zen Garden Rake

A Zen garden, or also known as Japanese rock garden, is a type of setting of precisely clipped shrubs and controlled raked sand. It has been used as the ideal place when meditating or a smaller version is used as decoration.

For those who have Zen gardens in their home, chances are, you already have this rake. If you’re planning on creating one, you should get this type. This is a small rake that will help you carefully move the sand around the rocks. It is also used to create patterns in the sand.

Kenneth Wilson
January 20, 2020
Yard & Garden

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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