Unsophisticated as it may seem, it appears that every rake has a number of pros and cons that make it more or less suited for a specific situation. This is also true if you are looking for a level lawn tool. People who are new to lawn care are likely to feel confused about facing the market’s overwhelming diversity when it comes to such a straightforward tool.
How is one lawn leveling rake different from the rest? What can make a rake stand out? In this article, I share amateur-friendly tips that will hopefully help you choose a lawn leveling rake that will last and deliver the benefits without being too much of an investment.
What Exactly Is a Lawn Leveling Rake?
One common problem with lawns is that they tend to get bumpy. There are many causes that can lead to it, which often interact, producing an even more frustrating effect where your lawn looks like a field full of alternating hills and pits. The possible factors behind the flawed look include poor water drainage, challenging weather conditions with lots of precipitation, insufficiently compacted soil, and much more.
The uneven lawn surface is a problem that’s not limited to aesthetics. Naturally, any water present on the ground will accumulate in the pits, forming spots of increased humidity and potentially causing complications such as fungal diseases. Pitted lawns are also trying to mow.
Depending on the scale on which the problem exists, different solutions can be applied. In many cases, the difference in levels can be made up for by adding a layer of filling such as sand or simply redistributing existing hill-forming debris. This where the so-called lawn leveling rake comes into play. Just like any other rake, the equipment consists of a handle and a head, but the latter has a unique shape with horizontal “tine” bars forming a rectangle, which is ideal for leveling a lawn dressing.
Most lawn leveling lakes are likely to look the same to you unless you already have experience with this equipment. Yet, their prices considerably differ, and so does quality. The chances are high that you won’t find much innovation even if you choose to invest in a high-end model, though, and even if you do, you won’t be able to distinguish them without comparing your purchase to the less advanced options.
Generally, the design of lawn leveling rakes is standard, meaning that it’s all about the details and build quality. It’s essential that you consider both key parts in the structure, the handle and the rake head.
Leveling your lawn can be quite an exercise in fitness, especially if you have a large area to cover or the ground has got seriously lumpy. With a rake, you’ll inevitably find yourself stooping with your back bent and your hands resting on the same spot for a long time. Thus, your comfort is largely determined by the handle.
First of all, make sure that the handle’s length is sufficient given how tall you are. If you choose a model that’s too short, you’ll have less room for maneuvering and will almost inevitably end up bending down even more heavily than you would otherwise, putting excessive strain on your spine as well as back muscles, while a longer handle offers plenty of hand positioning options. 5 feet is generally considered to be the bare minimum. Alternatively, consider adjustable handle designs which provide for multiple user operation. In this case, however, the joints add to the tool’s vulnerability.
Next, pay special attention to the grip. As a rule, cheaper models feel hard, sometimes even slippery to hold and might cause blisters if you use the equipment for a long time. An ergonomically shaped handle grip with proper cushioning will spare you hand fatigue and pain, so it’s always a good idea to test the model you are considering or at least read some first-hand reviews to find out whether most users find the grip comfortable enough.
Finally, handle material matters. While some models come with replaceable handles in case something goes wrong, poor-quality cheap plastic options are more likely than not to fail you when you need your equipment the most. Decent options include steel and fiberglass, which is more lightweight but tends to fall on the pricier side.
Lawn leveling rakes all come with similar rectangular heads that connect to the handle with the help of a brace or another attachment. The transition area tends to be particularly susceptible to damage. It takes a lot of stress during normal operation, so make sure you are investing in a model where all the joints have appropriate reinforcement. Free movement in this area is also vital.
Since it’s the head that actually does the job, it’s important to choose extra durable material options. Traditionally, there has to be a tradeoff between durability and lightweight, though. If the latter is your priority, and you aren’t going to abuse the tool across vast areas, aluminum is probably a viable option. Those who prioritize long service life, on the contrary, should consider stainless or tempered steel.
A push-type lawn leveling rake may be fine for tending a small to medium-sized lawn occasionally. If you have been blessed with a larger property, it might be a good idea to automate the leveling process with a chain harrow “leveling rake”, which you can attach to a tractor for an effortlessly smooth lawn. Since this kind of equipment is out of the article’s scope, I won’t go into detail on it.
Summing It Up
If you take pride in your lawn and the grass that grows on it, you need to take good care of the relief, ensuring that the surface is even and free of nasty bumps. A lawn leveling rake can be the perfect solution provided that it’s ergonomic and built to last. Remember to consider your height and look for the optimum weight-to-durability ratio for your purpose and property size.