Using a Garden Wagon or Wheelbarrow

Written by April Reinhardt (last updated November 13, 2023)

A garden wagon, or wheelbarrow, is a hand cart designed to be pushed by a single person. With two handles in the rear to hold onto, and a single wheel in the front, a wheelbarrow distributes the weight of its load between the operator and wheel. The design of the wheelbarrow makes it easier to carry heavy loads of dirt, compost, fertilizer, manure, and even tools when gardening. The single wheel feature enables the operator to maneuver in tight spaces, turn corners, and dump the load more easily than two-wheeled carts.

Many gardeners consider a garden wagon or wheelbarrow an invaluable garden tool. Whether you purchase a wheelbarrow made of metal, plastic, or wood, there are a few things to consider when selecting, maintaining, and storing a wheelbarrow:

  • Handles of wood are more comfortable than metal, but wood handles sometimes splinter if the wheelbarrow is left outdoors in the elements.
  • Plastic barrows can warp and weather if left outdoors in the sunlight, while metal barrows can rust. Always store your wheelbarrow with the lip down, and store it inside a shed or garage, if possible.
  • While a wide barrow tire carry heavier loads, they can be difficult to use in narrow spaces. Thin tires maneuver in tight spaces, yet make the barrow more prone to tipping. Always choose a barrow with an inflatable tire, since solid tires mar lawns and are soft in the garden.

Some barrow and garden wagons have built-in trays, while others can be supplemented with a detachable tray. Trays are handy because you can store your small garden tools with the barrow while you're working in the garden.

Garden wagons and wheelbarrows can also be used as a lawn accent, planter, or garden ornament. Find an old wheelbarrow made of wood and fill the barrow with a mixture of dirt and potting soil. Buy flowers from your local nursery and plant them in the wheelbarrow. Place the planter as an accent to your patio or porch. If you plan to make the wheelbarrow a permanent fixture that will be outside at all times, weatherproof the barrow before planting flowers, and bore holes in the bottom to allow drainage.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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