The best ways to haul stuff in your garden
One thing you are almost guaranteed to do when working in your garden: Haul stuff. Be it plants, soil, tools, debris, fertilizer, pots or any number of supplies, you will want something to transport things. Gardening is a lot easier if you don’t have to physically schlep all those bags of soil and piles of debris across the yard in your arms.
If you have room to store one, you just can’t beat a wheelbarrow or garden cart for moving things around. Not sure which one is right for you? We’ll break down the features that can help you decide. Then keep scrolling to see our favorite carrying tools for specific tasks and smaller spaces.
This workhorse’s two lever handles and pivoting wheel and axle allow you to lift, move and dump heavier loads than you could carry alone. However, you may need extra arm strength to keep a load steady and balanced. With the single wheel, you can only push, not pull a wheelbarrow, but it allows dumping in several directions. It’s easy to pour contents in a directed spot, such as scattering mulch between two plants. It also makes the wheelbarrow very maneuverable, especially in tight spaces and over sloped ground. A detachable tray like the Burro Buddy, above, makes carrying tools along with the wheelbarrow even easier.
What wheelbarrows do best
Moving loose materials, such as mulch, soil, debris and rock, is the kind of job at which the wheelbarrow excels. Sloped sides make bags easy to load and unload.
- Collapsible canvas wheelbarrows work well for lighter jobs and store conveniently folded up.
- Heavy-duty metal models can move rock and concrete.
- Wheelbarrows made with durable resin plastic are lighter weight and suitable for most garden jobs.
- For directed pouring or moving liquids, try a wheelbarrow with a pour spout.
Built like a wagon with straight sides, flat bottom and four big tires, a garden cart makes it easy to negotiate a rough backyard smoothly. It is easy to pull, and most have a pivoting front axle to make tight turns without tipping. A garden cart will need more space to move, and watch out — with four tires, it can escape and roll away if it’s on a slope.
What garden carts do best
A garden cart's flat bottom is ideal for pots and flats of plants — those things you want to stay upright. It makes a great mobile potting bench or work station, keeping soil and debris contained for easy cleanup.
- Some garden carts have a detachable box that flips up to dump.
- Metal mesh carts keep soil, water and debris from collecting inside the box.
- Look for sides that drop down or are removable so it is easy to load and unload, and you can turn it into a flatbed cart, making it even more versatile.
- Don't have a lot of storage space? Get a collapsible cart with a fabric box that folds up when not in use.
Two-wheeled dump cart
Modeled after the classic wheelbarrow, a second wheel adds stability to the two-wheeled dump cart so you won’t have to fight to balance a load. With two wheels in the front, you can only dump the load facing forward, not to either side. It is also less maneuverable than a wheelbarrow, and requires space for both wheels to travel along a path or between plants.
What a two-wheeled dump cart does best
Throw weeds, leaves, branches and other debris in a two-wheeled dump cart to haul away to the compost pile, where a quick tip forward will empty it. You easily can grab it one-handed and pull along while working in the garden.
- Models with collapsible or removable sides, arms or platforms can convert the cart into a dolly to move boxes or containers.
- You can find battery-operated models that are self-propelled or dump with the push of a button.
- Some come with hitches so you can hook up to a garden tractor and pull the cart behind.
Which wheel is best?
The kind of wheel your wheelbarrow, wagon, dump cart, dolly or garden cart has can make a difference in how easy it is to use.
- Air-filled wheels are easier to push and pull, and navigate rough terrain, but they can go flat, rendering them useless until you pump them back up.
- Solid rubber tires won’t deflate, but they travel bumpier over rough or soft ground.
More helpful tools to move stuff in the garden
Whether you just don’t have room to store a big cart or you need something more specific, there's a tool for that!