When it's time to start hauling mulch, moving potted plants and getting the raked leaves over to the compost bin, a garden cart or wagon is an efficient solution for transporting materials. Bigger landscaping projects require a heavy-duty cart or wagon, capable of carrying stones, large plants or bulk material for your creative design efforts. Determine your upcoming landscaping and gardening needs before investing in a cart or wagon, then try one out at your garden centre before making the purchase.
A garden cart has two wheels, a hopper to carry the load, and a handle for pushing and guiding the cart. Wheel size varies among designs. Carts with smaller wheels sit low to the ground and typically have a small hopper made of moulded plastic or metal. Designs with large, bicycle-type wheels are typically constructed of a metal frame with wooden siding and hopper bottom. Garden wagons have four wheels, with the front two on a bar or axle attached to a pulling handle. The body is typically made of metal. Some look like a child's little red wagon while larger, landscaping-scale wagons have built-up side walls or rails.
Choose a garden cart if you have a small yard or established garden. A small wagon or cart is sufficiently sturdy to transport a couple of flats of bedding plants, a bag of steer manure, or a few gardening tools. If you are hauling containerised trees, loads of topsoil or other bulky items, a large-wheeled cart is better suited to the job. Look for one with a drop-down front panel to make loading and unloading easier. When a full-scale landscaping project, such as a rock garden or retaining wall, is in your future, rely on a heavy-duty landscape cart or sturdy wagon to haul the heavy material.
The stability of two or four wheels on the ground gives landscaping and garden carts and wagons an advantage over wheelbarrows that have a single point of ground contact and potential to tip over. Large-wheeled carts roll smoothly over uneven terrain, even when bearing a heavy load. Unlike a wheelbarrow, in which the entire weight is lifted and manoeuvred by your own body, the weight of a cart or wagon load is borne by its wheels, reducing the potential for back and muscle strain.
Care and Maintenance
Like all garden equipment, carts and wagons get dirty with routine use. A quick spray of water washes off dust and light dirt between projects. If the equipment is heavily soiled, a bucket of soapy water, a scrub brush and high-pressure spray from the garden hose will bring it back to a sparkling sheen. Touch up scratches on metal components with rust-resistant spray paint. For bicycle-wheel garden carts, keep a tube-repair kit handy in case a tire is punctured. Grease the wheels, wipe away moisture from all surfaces, and store your cart or wagon in a dry shed or the garage over winter.
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- "Popular Mechanics"; The Long Haul; Roy Berendsohn; March 2000
- Virginia Cooperative Extension; Gardening and Your Health: Protecting Your Knees and Back; Mary Predny; May 2009
- University of Illinois Extension; Winterizing Garden Tools; Sandra Mason; Nov. 2002