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Sweeping and raking when you have a weak grip

Sweeping garden paths and paved areas keeps them clear and safe.  Sweep regularly, especially at leaf-fall, or when you’ve been weeding or doing other work.  

Top tips to make sweeping easier

  • A small, lightweight ‘witches’ broom might be easier for you to use or consider a light indoor style broom.
  • To improve the grip on a broom handle, you could use pipe insulation pushed over the handle. 
  • Replace your broom regularly to keep good strong bristles or buy a broom with plastic or nylon bristles which are almost impossible to wear out.
  • Gather up weeds as you go, or spread a plastic sheet down when weeding or hedge cutting to reduce the debris that you need to sweep. 
  • When raking soil, lift the rake towards the end of each sweep, this action will help break up the soil. 

Taking care

  • Long reach grabber
    Sweeping can strain the arms, back and hands. Always 'warm up' with a few gentle stretches and only work for short periods.

Equipment and tools

  • Some people prefer to use a shorter ‘besom’ broom; try one out to see if this is easier to hold and handle than a small standard broom.
  • A long handled dustpan and brush can be useful. Some multi-change ranges offer dustpan heads which you can fix to a handle of a length that suits you.
  • The garden gripper is a long-handled grabbing tool for picking up small amounts of hard-to-reach debris in the garden and can be used with one hand.
  • The lightest larger brooms are from the multi-change ranges which offer various handle lengths used with a brush attachment.

Have a look at the list of equipment and tools for sweeping after the information on raking. 

Raking 

Raking breaks up and levels the soil, helps to remove stones, and prepares the soil surface for planting and seed sowing. A garden rake with short, strong prongs is used for this job.  

You also need to rake the lawn using a spring-tined lawn rake to clear ‘thatch’ – the build-up of dead grass and moss, etc, that can stifle the lawn. This can be hard work as it requires alot of strength. Leaf rakes, also with springy tines, are used to gather grass cuttings and leaves from the lawn.   

Top tips to make raking easier

  • Choose a rake of the right length and weight for you to use comfortably without bending too much. A fist grip and arm support can be fitted to a rake to help you to lift it.
  • If you need a shorter rake, the multi-change ranges offer various handle lengths that can be used with a rake head attachment.
  • You can avoid having to rake your lawn by using a mower with a grass box. This will reduce the cuttings that collect on the lawn and reduce the need to rake the lawn to remove moss and thatch.
  • When raking soil, lift the rake towards the end of each sweep, this action will help break up the soil.

Taking care

  • Grabber rake
    Lifting, dropping and dragging the rake can jolt the arms and strain the back. It can take good grip and strength to draw the rake towards you. Only use a lighter rake and work in very short bursts, to reduce hand strain.
  • Always 'warm up' with a few gentle stretches, only work for short periods and take lots of breaks.        

Equipment and tools

  • If you need a shorter rake, there are various handle options in the multi-change ranges that can be used with a rake head attachment.
  • The lightest rakes have plastic heads and aluminium handles. However, you may find it easier to use a rake with a heavier head as the weight helps to push it into the soil.
  • The grabber rake collects up leaves and debris and the scooping action picks it up for transfer to a barrow or collection sheet. 
  • If you prefer to sit down when using a rake, try a shorter length rake on a fixed handle. 


Grab and lift rake  

Grab and lift rake

This tool rakes up leaves like a conventional rake but when you push the handle mecahnism the large scoops close together and lift the debris.

Find out more about grab and lift rake


Leaf rake  

Leaf rake

This leaf rake is for gathering grass clippings, leaves and debris from either lawns or paved areas.

Find out more about leaf rake


Peta add-on handle  

Peta add-on handle

These handles can be added to standard garden equipment to give an upright position to the hand and improve your grip on the tool. This helps to reduce hand and wrist strain when gardening.

Find out more about Peta add-on handle


Large lightweight broom  

Large lightweight broom

The lightest brooms for outdoor use are from the multi-change ranges. The lightweight brush head fits onto a handle long enough to prevent too much bending.

Find out more about Large lightweight broom