Garden Tools: Garden Carts for Happier Hauling

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
Garden Tools: Garden Carts for Happier Hauling

Gardening can be a lot easier with the right tools and equipment. How many times have you gone back and forth to the garage or your tool shed to get another tool that you forgot?

Whether you're hauling out smaller items such as pots, flats of seedlings, plants, pruners or bigger items such as firewood, large pots, or garbage cans, you can make your life easier with the right hauling equipment.

For hauling heavier items you need a garden cart and/or wheelbarrow. Make sure to try one out before you buy it. Like anything else, you aren't going to use the equipment you bought if it's the wrong size or ergonomically unstable.

A wheelbarrow is great for maneuvering loads of soil and garden amendments through varying terrain and tight spaces. However, with the load distribution lying behind the wheel and axel, the gardener must share much of the load with arms, shoulders and back.

But garden carts (a.k.a. yard or utility carts), which are large, spoke-wheeled carts, place the load directly above the axels and wheels. This helps you move heavy loads with less effort. Most incorporate an easy-slide panel or drop-down sides for dumping the load. Garden carts can be tipped upright for loading heavy materials such as large rocks.

Many have well-balanced dual bicycle-tire wheels and a wide, flat base that offers increased stability when carrying heavier and larger loads. The large wheels can ride easily over rocks and ruts, and the thinner tires offer little friction and easy movement. Having the tires on either side of the cart offer increased stability so you don't have to work to keep the load balanced, as is necessary when pushing a wheelbarrow.

A utility cart is a gardener's workhorse. Size is important when selecting the right cart for the job. Garden carts offer a large capacity so you can carry all of your supplies in one trip. Cart capacity generally ranges from about 4-cubic foot, 200-pound capacity to 13-cubic-foot, 400-pound capacity, although some boast 500-lb capacity.

If you are shorter (5'3" and under), a full-size wheelbarrow or cart may be a little unwieldy. That's where a smaller garden cart would fit the bill. I know gardening couples who have his and her garden carts for this reason! Smaller than a wheelbarrow and easier to maneuver, a smaller-size cart it is perfect for carrying tools, smaller pots, and garden debris. Many carts incorporate a shelf for holding smaller items like pruners and trowels.

Metal carts and metal parts of wooden carts should consist of heavy-gauge steel that is well-protected from rust with zinc-plating. Large spoked wheels (e.g. 20 inch) with pneumatic tires, a front panel for unloading, high quality plywood, and a sturdy, adjustable handle will suit you well.

Carry-All 4 Cubic-Foot Garden Cart
The Fiskars multi-purpose garden cart can carry a wide variety of tools and garden supplies. The four cubic foot capacity is great for carrying and dumping a wide variety of loads such as yard waste, mulch, compost, etc. The large 11-inch rubber tread wheels make it super for maneuvering around your yard. It's easy to push or pull this cart with the tubular steel handle.

You can easily carry a 5-gallon bucket or a seedling tray in the built-in work platform of the Fiskars cart. This saves space in the main tub for your other supply needs. This durable, all-purpose cart is also great for storing long-handled tools across the cart that you can secure with the built-in bungee cords. The built-in bag hoods are great for trash pick-up, bulb storage and other things.

When purchasing garden carts, don't scrimp if you don't have to. Inferior quality products may suit your needs in the short-term, but you want something that will survive some abuse and various weather conditions. So whatever you decide to purchase, buy the best quality you can afford if you are a serious gardener. You'll be glad you did!