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How to Use Landscape Rakes

By S.F. Heron ; Updated September 21, 2017
Attach a landscape rake to a standard riding mower for soil cultivation.

Larger areas of the landscape often require cultivation before planting seed, laying sod or creating a garden. Landscape rakes are the primary tool for turning over the soil in large areas. Landscapers attach the metal rake to the back of a small tractor to make cultivation easy. Landscape rakes break up soil, collect rocks and grade locations to smooth away imperfections for easy planting. These rakes also assist in leveling a location, as well as preparing a lawn for initial seeding.

Assess the moisture content of the soil to determine whether landscaping raking can be performed. Landscape rakes cannot be pulled easily across overly dry soil. Soak the ground's surface with water through a garden hose and sprinkler over the course of a few days if there hasn't been enough rain. The soil should crumble easily but not roll up into a mud ball.

Attach the landscape rake to the tractor hitch. Adjust the rake teeth to the appropriate depth for your landscape requirements. Landscape rakes also feature hydraulic connections that allow raising and lowering of the rake teeth. Make sure these connections work properly to speed along the completion of your cultivation task.

Map out a plan on paper or in your head to accomplish the raking task. Plan to create a rake pattern that avoids running back over finished areas. Allow for some overlap between each pass, and remember that your aim is to loosen the soil, not compress it by riding over it on the tractor.

Follow a set pattern when raking the soil. This process will collect plenty of rocks along the way. Turn off the mower to remove rocks from the rake or empty the holding basket on the rake, if it has one.

Avoid traveling over areas near exposed tree roots, walkways or paths and lawn. The teeth of the rake will gouge and damage existing plants.

Remove the landscape rake from the tractor when finished, and clean the rake thoroughly using a garden hose. A high-pressure spray will remove most debris. Landscape rakes should be stored on end while drying and placed horizontally for storage when not in use.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden hose
  • Sprinkler
  • Tractor


  • Landscape rakes churn up the soil considerably with each pass across the property. Instead of smoothing the soil surface by hand, consider adding a section of chain-link fence behind the landscape rake. The fence smoothes soil immediately after rake cultivation to save time and effort.