Helpful Gardening Hints: Back Saving Wheelbarrow Techniques

If you are like me, you may have never given your wheelbarrow much thought. It really is a gardener’s best friend. This garden companion is with you in all seasons and through all manner of tasks. The poor little guy is taken for granted yet never complains and always does the job. Often it isn’t until the morning after that you think about him and then it’s usually too late. Your back is hurting and there is little you can do but pop more ibuprofen and hope it does the trick. But there is something you can do to minimize the pain next time!

1) Use your joints not your back! When you lift the wheelbarrow bend with your knees that when you stand straight up the wheelbarrow lifts with you. Your legs are much better suited for lifting than your back.

2) Bend your elbows. When you are moving the wheelbarrow bend your arms to create a suspension for the weight of the load. It will reduce some of the stress on your back and build some muscle in your arms!

3) Don’t weigh it down! Reduce the size of your loads. It may mean more trips back and forth but a little extra walking never hurt anyone!

I hope these three tips work for you like they did for me. When working on my rain garden I moved 20-30 loads of dirt to other locations in the yard. I don’t know how much each load weighed but they were filled to the top. The first two tips worked well for me. The last one I could have done much better with. I put way too much in each load and I am just lucky that the wheelbarrow (and my back) didn’t break under the stress.


Dave has written since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 4 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave has a side business growing and selling heirloom vegetables and herb plants through Blue Shed Gardens and works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Very good tips! But you know we gardeners just go and go just to get it done. Not overload my wheelbarrow? Yeah right! Then that would be that many more trips!:)

    I am working in a friend’s garden right now and her wheelbarrow is so small and low. I have never seen one like it. It is difficult to move it but even harder to balance it. The good thing is I can’t overload it too awfully much.

    I am not sure why this post did not come to my email, but it didn’t. I thought you were taking some time off to recuperate from the rain garden!

    You never said if you would attend the Perennial Plant Society meetings. I am not going tonight as orchids are so NOT my thing. Next month though. It is a great place to network and get free plants and learn new things. You live close don’t you?

  2. Yeah it’s very tough not to overload the wheelbarrow!

    I had to adjust some settings with the feed. It should be fixed shortly!

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