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Sweeping and raking

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.  

In this section, there is general information on how you can make sweeping and raking easier, and details of some tools that you might find helpful.

There is additional information on sweeping and raking: sitting down and from a wheelchair; with sight loss; with a weak grip; with one hand; if you can't bend easily


Top tips to make sweeping easier

  • Sweeping
    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.  

Taking care

  • 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 and will save you bending. Some multi-change ranges offer dustpan heads which you can fix to a handle of a length that suits you.
  • The lightest larger brooms are from the multi-change ranges which offer various handle lengths used with a brush attachment.



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

  • Try using a shorter-length garden rake on a fixed handle, that you can use sitting down.
  • 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. 

In this section, there is general information on equipment and tools for sweeping and raking, and a few examples that you might find helpful.

You can see the full range of tools, and search for equipment and tools which are easier for people with a specific disability to use, in Equipment and tools to help you


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


Small hand rake  

Small hand rake

Light and easy to handle, this rake tool head fits on different length handles, or a telescopic handle, and is ideal if you sit or stand to garden.

Find out more about small hand rake


Long-handled dustpan and brush  

Long-handled dustpan and brush

This version of the standard household tool has long handles on the dustpan and the brush to save you bending, or for use when sitting down to garden.

Find out more about long-handled dustpan and brush


Grab and lift debris collector  

Grab and lift debris collector

Similar to the debris collectors with metal scoops, this model has plastic blades which make less noise when used on paving and other hard surfaces.

Find out more about grab and lift debris collector