Wheelbarrow Tips & Tricks

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  1. Mike says

    No comments? A guy loads his wheelbarrow onto the truck, drives over to his new, soon to be Backyard Nursery Property, fills the wheelbarrow with dirt and makes a video for you and no comments?

    Seems like an injustice to me.

    • Anonymous says

      Hi Mike, Thank you for the video. I’ve been using my wheelbarrow a lot this spring. I always try to place most of the weight at the front of it…I learned that from my father. I was hoping this video was about caring for your wheelbarrow. Mine is in need of some paint and soon it will need to have the wooden handles tightened or replaced. Any maintenance advice?

      • Mike says

        Of course a regular coat of paint each fall will help, but a good wheelbarrow will hold up for a long time with little maintenance except to grease the axle. That’s important.

    • Doug: BYG member since 7/07(freebird) says

      Great job Dustin! Oh, you too Mike! lol
      I have 2 wheelbarrows that I am NOW going to trade in on a “Jackson”!
      I use these I have everyday, but now ‘see the light’.
      Thanks Mike!..and Dustin, keep up the good work!
      One question: Mike, who loaded the wheelbarrow up for this video? HA!
      Your friend,
      Doug

      • Mike says

        Thanks Doug, you’ll love the Jackson, especially with your sore back. Actually if I recall correctly I loaded the wheelbarrow. I think. But I did ask Duston to move it for me. We’ve got a stump removal video coming up and I have to admit that Duston did most of the work in that one. I can’t dig and talk on camera at the same time! It’s frustrating to not be able to do the things that you’ve done your whole life, but then again I don’t need to tell you that.

        Take care my friend and long time member of the Backyard Growers Group.

      • Mike says

        Kathy,

        Just click on the link in the post and the video will appear. If you have a slow connection you might have to give it time to load.

    • Neil.Orris@yahoo.com says

      Mike
      you might want to look into a two wheeler as they put less stress on your back [less balancing needed]

        • Mike says

          Marme,

          I tried the two wheeled wheelbarrow and did not like them all because I use a wheelbarrow like a bicycle, sneaking between two close plants to dump mulch, or wheelbarrow up a rant to load debris on a truck or trailer. Can’t do any of those things with two wheels. And . . . with two wheels you literally have to walk in a circle to make a turn. A regular wheelbarrow you lean like you do a bicycle. To each his own, that’s why they make all those fancy tools. It really depends on what you are using it for.

    • Martha (MarC) Miller says

      Great “Safety” information. Grandpa never taught me this in all my youth-summers on the farm. This information is great for all but especially for us seniors. You’re doing a GREAT job Mike. I truly appreciate all your videos and teaching information.

    • Suzanne says

      Thank you, Mike
      Great info..especially what to look for in the construction of the wheelbarrow. And, of course, I was loading it the hard way. Could you make some more training videos of other tools–hoes, shovels, power gardening tools, etc?

      • Mike says

        Ya know what Suzanne? I really need to. When I see people doing things like shoveling topsoil etc., they are doing it all wrong and making it very hard on their back. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Ricki says

      Wow. This makes so much sense. My back and I thank you. As someone operating with 7 blown discs, I obviously need all the help I can get! You’ve done it again. Thanks, Mike.

      • Mike says

        Lynn,

        I didn’t look, but I’m pretty sure that’s a youtube video which should play on your device. Could be a slow connection.

    • Valli says

      Hi Mike, This is a great idea for a video. The design of it is extremely important. Thanks for your clever ideas!

  2. Dennis R says

    mike,
    let me be the 1st to comment. i did appreciate the wheel barrow video. i learned from you how to root cuttings. i’ve put into my landscape my “free plants” >>>>viburnums, euonymous, & red twig dogwoods & burning bush. best of luck in your new “backyard” nursery.

    please post videos!

    dennis r
    zone 5 ny

    • Mike says

      Thanks Dennis. You’ll see a lot more video from me. My son Duston is now with us full time and he’s the one putting the videos up and a million other behind the scenes tasks. Lots to do, but he’s really good at this stuff.

  3. Fritz says

    Nice Video and tips Mike. Loading is important. Have yoy tried the Barrows with 2 front wheels? They might not work well going across slopes?
    I would like a dump truck load of the soil in the wheel barrow in my garden.
    Fritz in upper SC.

    • Mike says

      Steering a wheelbarrow is like steering a motorcyle. Steering a two wheelbarrow is like steering a refrigerator dolly. Seriously. You can’t go up a wood ramp, something we do all the time, and you can’t squeeze between bushes.

  4. Agricola says

    I have always enjoyed and look forward to what you the tips you provide on your website. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to provide these tips and, of course, very informative videos. Keep them coming Mike. You absolutely rock! Have a wonderful summer.

  5. MARY H, CLEV OH says

    HI MIKE, YOU ARE A GREAT TEACHER. YOUR LOVE OF PLANTS HAS MADE ME LOVE MY YARD AGAIN. I REALIZED I NEEDED A WHEELBARROW AND LOW AND BEHOLD YOUR VIDEO E-MAIL APPEARED IN MY INBOX. THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH. I DO HAVE A BACK PROBLEM THAT LIMITS MY WORK OUTSIDE. YOUR POINTER ABOUT THE PLACEMENT OF THE WHEEL WILL MAKE IT MUCH EASIER ON ME TO MOVE HEAVY DIRT AND OTHER ITEMS IN MY GARDEN. DON’T EVER STOP GIVING OUT YOUR ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE. I REALLY APPRECIATE IT. THANK YOU AGAIN.

  6. myersnla says

    What type of water timer do you reccomend for your water mist system? I have your tape but was told the first timer was not right. DM

    • Mike says

      This is a question for the Backyard Growers Message Board, I can’t not answer Backyard Nursery questions on this public blog. Thanks for understanding.

  7. Tami says

    Gardeners need to take as good of care of our backs & joints as possible, so thanks, Mike, for the common sense.

  8. Vicki says

    Hey Mike! You forgot the most important way to use the wheelbarrow – break time! As kids, we used to fight over the wheelbarrow “seat” when Dad called break time in the garden. I remember some how being able to turn it into a rocker and lean back and watch the clouds change shape. What a way to de-stress!

    • Mike says

      You know what Vicki, you are absolutely right! I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve eaten my lunch sitting in a wheelbarrow. I’ll see if I can’t get that into another video. You are also right, it’s the perfect position for cloud watching and a lot more comfortable than most people would think.

  9. Charles says

    Mike,
    Spray some Armor All on the rubber tire. I makes it last longer.
    Be sure to move it inside out of the weather when not in use.
    If a handle brakes, or the spacer brakes, check with the assembler in the back of the garden center.
    He always gets a few units with missing parts,They get credit for them. And sell the parts at a very low price.

  10. bernadette says

    hi mike just watched your video about wheelbarrow i had the same problem as my son is disabled and can only use his left arm.i purchased a load lumper its got for wheels. he couldnt manage the conventional wheelbarrow.we had to purchase it from america they dont make them in england kind regards. bernadette

  11. Amy says

    Hi Mike! Love your videos and the website. Been on your mailing list for awhile now, and you have helped me in so many ways; I just wanted to say thank you for all that you do. So, thank you!

  12. Anonymous says

    Mike,
    Are you aware of DR Country Home products? They have the greatest wheelborrow-it is gas powered and electric start. It can haul 800 pounds up the mountains of Virginia. I will celebrated my 70 birthday in November and as a lady, I could not move fire wood for the outdoor wood furnace or rocks for the gardening projects without our wonderful Powerwagon.
    Roberta

  13. Del Olds says

    Dear Mike, Great Video! One tip I learned as a young man (after spilling a load of concrete) was to grip the handle with the thumbs on top. Most folks wrap their thumbs around the handle – a surefire way for it to tip over.

  14. Pam says

    Hi Mike,
    Great video. Now I know why some loads were heavier than others.
    I have been on your mailing list now for almost a year. Love the information you give us.
    One thing about the wheel besides besides using Armor All is if you have to replace the wheel get a solid rubber one. It may cost more but it never goes flat.

    • Duston says

      Kim,

      You can purchase a new tire for your wheelbarrow. I know Tractor Supply carries them and I’ve seen them at Home Depot and Lowe’s as well.

      Yours must be punctured somewhere.

      Duston McGroarty

    • Scott says

      Hello, I too have a wheelbarrow with a tubeless tire that kept going flat consistently after I refilled it each day. I went to Canadian Tire to inquire about a replacement tire. The gentleman working in the store told me to save my money, and instead of purchasing a new replacement tubeless tire; to just buy a tube that is the correct size, to fit within that same tire. I took his suggestion and got home and installed the tube and problem solved! Instead of spending $40+ for a replacement tire, it cost me abot $8.00 for a brand new tube!

  15. Anonymous says

    Mike, did you hear about the bet a little guy made with a big strong hulk that he could haul something across the street in a wheelbarrow that the big guy could not haul back? Strong man took the bet and little guy said “get in it”.

  16. Larry says

    Mike,
    My last wheelbarrow has two wheels. Easy for this 71 year old to handle. My grand daughter , age 5, took my load of firewood that I told her was too heavy for her and almost ran pushing the full load and laughing all the way to the house as I was trying to keep up. two wheels are very very save and easy to handle. When empty, you can just use one hand to push it along.

  17. Ruth says

    Hi Mike
    I had to run out to the shed and check my wheelbarrow, and sure enough, that front wheel juts out. That also probably explains why its a dickens to navigate through the yard. Guess what I’m doing!
    Thank you for the tips.

  18. David says

    Fantastic Information!…for my back! After working many years in the construction industry and then starting my own farm I had to develop my own methods of wheelbarrowing. Many Advil later, I discovered this technique but it was a painful lesson. Thanks again Mike for all of your priceless knowledge that you share on a consistent basis. Keep up the good work and the beautiful garden

  19. Charlie White says

    Hi Again Mike,
    Great video like all the others. You do have a lot of fans. Just wanted to tell you I bought the Best wheelbarrow last year. Got sick of all the splinters from the wooden handles and always putting air in the tires. Paid more money but well worth it. Large bucket, steel handles, steel rails, and solid rubber tire. Won’t ever rust, no more splinters, no more dragging out the air compressor . How good is that. Life is good.
    Thanks for the tip on how to load it and how to save the back !!
    Love your emails and videos.
    Charlie in N.H.

  20. Mary says

    Thanks Mike and everyone for the tips, and Del Olds, I didn’t know that!
    Enjoy all the videos Mike and I have learned a lot, keep them coming
    Think Spring!!!

  21. Anonymous says

    Thank you Mike
    This information is very helpful, not too long ago I was removing some dirt from my back yard and at the end of the day I was in pain, I tried your tip and there was a big difference, now I make sure I tell my gardening friends about you and your tips, please keep them coming.
    Thank you again, Gina

  22. Anonymous says

    Mike, Love all your e-mails and pass them on to my friends. Thanks for the wheelbarrow info. I have an old wheel barrow that I planted last summer right in the middle of my garden. It had drainage in it due to rusting out. Please tell me how to get rid of white flies in my greenhouse and how to decrease odor in my rainbarrel water. Thank you, Susan Grasso–Lyman, S.C. Suegrasso39@yahoo.com

  23. druth8x says

    Gr8 tips.

    When I use a wheelbarrow though I fill it up so high there is no room to put more of the weight on the wheel which is yes under the tub not in front.

  24. Pam S. says

    Great tips Mike on how to load the wheelbarrow so not to hurt your back! Something i never thought! Thank You for the video!

  25. Genevieve says

    Just to let the ladies know (in case a wheelbarrow is too much for you), I purchased for myself about 3 years ago, one of those little garden wagons (mine is a Vigaro) at one of the major home improvement centers. When the wagon is full and I need to dump it, there is a latch on the bottom that you pull and the bucket part lifts up just like a dump truck. Being the fact that we rent and our house had no landscape whatsoever when we moved in, we brought the whole front of the house to life with some inexpensive shrubs, (and one we brought with us from up north – a taxis yew from a berry that birds had dropped). So the initial digging and carting away of debris made our job much easier with this “little yellow wagon”. Plus all the neighbors borrow it whenever they need it.

  26. Genevieve says

    I have not seen the garden wagon you mentioned but it sounds great. I couldn’t believe it to see another Genevieve on Mike’s site. It is not a very commen name. Where up north did you come from. I lived in Chicago for 14 yrs.. I was sooo happy to come home to Texas but I miss the soil that is there. I worked in my yard and didn’t even need gloves.I loved the feel of that rich black dirt. Here you need the gloves for stickers, bullnettle, etc.I wouldn’t want to move back but I wish I could get a few truckloads of that dirt. I also loved how the night crawlers would come to the top of the grould after a good rain. I could use some tips on controling the dandylions in my yard. It is covered with them.

  27. Jorge Duarte says

    Hey Mike,

    Will anybody explain me what is the advantage of a two wheels?
    Heavy loads? Are we talking about trucks? And what about turning and steering?
    OK about well balanced loads but let’s bear in mind what we are talking about!

    Best regards

    J.D.

  28. Katrina says

    Thanks for the video Mike!! Cant wait for the next video on how to use a broom!! lol just kidding!!

  29. Marta says

    Mike,
    I love your videos~ To be honest, in all the years I’ve been gardening, I have never been told either of the points you made. I think I probably did the 2nd thing unconsciously, but not consistently.

    I’m actually in the marketing for a wheelbarrow now and will use your advice.

    Thanks again!

  30. Marcia says

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for the tips. I never thought to put the weight at the front of the wheelbarrow. Anything I can do to save my back from hurting at the end of the day is great. I really enjoy your advice and all the great information you share.

  31. says

    Hi Mike
    Thanks for the Video. I have use wheelbarrow before but not as often. It is interesting and it can help me to give advice to other user

  32. donna says

    You forgot to include the “landscaper’s lounge chair” feature of wheelbarrows. You know, where you tip the handles down to the ground, then sit in the empty wheelbarrow – the handles and legs form the base of the “chair”…quite comfy in a pinch when long day is over and there’s no chairs around. :)

    • says

      Donna, I know this is late, just received the initial video about the wheelbarrow. Just love Mike’s advice about weight distribution. Makes a lot of sense. I wanted to tell you thanks for your comment about how to make that wheelbarrow a chair. It is spring here in NC and I plan to make a lot of use of that “chair” as I use my wheelbarrow A LOT! Can’t wait to try it.

  33. Sally says

    I appreciate the tips given in the video, now I know that my wheelbarrow wheel is too far out. loading more at the front also makes sense but, I’m thinking that your gonna lose some of the load off the front when you tip it up.

    Sal

    • Mike says

      Sal, nah, the load should stay in just fine, when you raise the handles you are not tipping the tub that much. If you are, maybe time for a new wheelbarrow.

  34. Bernice says

    Thanks for all the great videos and news letters Mike. I have learned and am learning a lot. I just saw an ad at my hardware store today for a 2 wheeler, and I remembered your video from a long time ago on barrows. I am still undecided, because this is on sale, from 89 to 49, spring opening, maybe 89 is not a good price for a barrow.
    There is no real rush for a new barrow, except ours is rusted and the handles are splintery, and ..this is important…I want to make it into a planter!

    Any advice before I make a decision?

    • Mike says

      Bernice, A good Jackson Wheelbarrow like I show in the video will cost about $140.00 but last forever. The steel is much heavier but since the wheelbarrow is better designed it’s still easy to push.

  35. Sybil says

    Thank you for that Mike.
    I took my old wheelbarrow to the tip as it was too heavy for me to use ( it was my late husbands )
    and when I thought about it days later I realized that I could have painted it and put flowers in !!!!!!
    I cannot aford a Jackson but I will look out for one with the right proportions as. As I have spinal stenosis your tip was very helpfull, thank you.

  36. says

    If there is a lazy way to do anything, I am going to find out and it. So, here is the easiest and fastest way to load a wheelbarrow, when you have several yards of dirt delivered in your driveway: Lean the wheelbarrel against the pile of earth. Then reach across and with your shovel, drag at the earth into the tub. Then reach across and grap the edge of the wheel barrel and pull it upright. You will end up with 3/4 the load. Shovel in the rest of the load. Continue this way, always working against the pile. You can eventually lay the wheelbarrow on its side and shove the dirt in. To stand the wheel barrel upright; hold one foot against the stand for leverage.

  37. John H Marcel says

    Good advice for wheelbarrow users. I am going on 66 yrs old and was aware of your comments but appreciate your concern for your viewers and listeners. Your comments could easily save someone’s back. You don’t have to be an old guy to have a bad back. Some younger folks love gardening but have never used a wheelbarrow until they got interested in lawn and gardening work. You are a top notch kind of guy. Thanks….

  38. Donna lee says

    Thanks Mike-your thoughtfulness is always appreciated.I HAVEN’T USED a wheel barrel in a long time so this is a good safety reminder for me.

  39. Gary says

    Mike, can you do something about the very agravating “” Facebook, etc.” window that is super imposed on the pagess? I can’t get rid of it to save my life.

    Your site and videos are interesting and informative but that D%$@##$ window spoils them for me. Thanks

  40. peggy says

    Mike you do give some great advice but I am really having a hard time beliving you can propagate outside with no heat.Also you talk about all the free plants from dip and stick but you forget about the cost of pots,soil,medium,rooting harmone etc these things can get expesive and the overhead can kill your profit.You know the saying if it sounds to good to be true it useually is so convince me I dont have money to throw away and I can grow plants,but I have never done it for profit.

  41. says

    I work at Lowe’s Home Improvement in NC. We sell a lot of wheelbarrows and people generally go for the cheapest one. I have one rusting away in my backyard. Gonna make a flower pot out of it this year, thanks so much for the idea everyone! Back to the wheelbarrow…Lowe’s sells 2 Jackson wheelbarrows, I am going to check out the wheel location when I get to work today. Great information that I can pass on to buyers about why getting a more expensive wheelbarrow can actually save money in the long run. Thanks ever so much. There may very well be one in my future soon as well, my anniversary is coming up soon.
    Can’t wait to tell my husband why I just have to have one, heheheheh

    • Mike says

      Annie, no matter what you are doing the best tools will always make your job easier, probably safer and definitely more enjoyable. Nothing worse than trying to work with a tool that just won’t do the job. -Mike McGroarty

  42. says

    Mike thanks for the tip about the wheel on the barrow. I learned years ago about the loading after cleaning stalls all my life. I didn’t know about the wheel, I wish the plastic barrows have the wheel under the front. I will have to check, I find the steel wheel barrow to heavy, I am 72 and have a very bad back from all the haying in the old days. Whenever I take a cutting from a few trimmings of Forsythia or Butterfly bushes I just put them next two a faucet in the garden and it makes them easy to water and keep track of. Thanks for your wonderful tips…Naoma

  43. Charlie says

    Thanks for your concern about people and their wheelbarrows. Great video. I love my Jackson. I have a two wheel unit that I would not trade for the world. I have to replace the plastic part and I find it costs as much as the whole unit. So be it! Charlie in VA

  44. Gordon Mackle says

    I welded a wheel on each brace on the back end of the wheel barrow! Works great, I don’t have to left it all the time
    just push it. Works great!

  45. says

    Ialwayse enjoy your comments Mike..rtght now aftr surgery in bed on my back,,I wish I HAD SOME DUCK EGGS we would make a good family…I use garden way cart and find it more stable and a cart I hang on my midsized garden tractor..Good LUCK with your stuff,,,may havr tocallon you for somehelp Gottfried

  46. Michel says

    This is good info for wheelbarrows. I had to figure this out on my own as I had never used one before moving to Interior Alaska. I grew up on the coast of the state and there isn’t a lot of gardening down there. Now I use my wheelbarrow for a lot of things. I pretty much watched this to see if I was doing anything wrong. Gladly, I’m not. I have to clean all of the sled dog areas and have to clean up my chicken coop,especially in the fall and spring. I’m only 40 now but I don’t see my way of living changing anytime soon so these are good tips to keep in mind. I do have a bad lower back and this is truly the best way to move things through the yard. I haven’t had any back problems at all since I started doing this. I would think that using two wheels would be more cumbersome, kind of like driving a 4 wheeler vs. a 3 wheeler. I could always go more places with my 3 wheeler than with a 4 wheeler, IMO.

  47. Roy says

    I’m glad someone mentioned about laying the wheelbarrow (WB) down beside the soil/rock(s) and dragging the material into the bucket then using your body weight to tip it upright. I moved stones I could not have begun to pick up. But you and every comment I read failed to mention how important it is to keep the tire at it’s FULL inflation. An under inflated tire can increase your pushing resistance by as much as 50%. The only time I might possibly use an under inflated tire is when I was going sideways across a slippery slope to possibly improve the traction of the tire. It’s also cheaper to replace the handles with steel and paint the bucket than to buy a new WB. I’m still using my repaired WB from 40 years ago.

  48. Dianne says

    I always enjoy your down-to -earth information. Thanks for the time you spend sharing. I just wish I could find suppliers of rooted cuttings in Australia! A tip that someone taught me years ago about using a wheelbarrow, is to always point it in the direction you want to take it BEFORE you fill it up. So many people wheel it up to a pile – nose in, load it, then try to turn it around to take it back the way they came.

  49. Cleo Hales says

    I’ve never seen a wheelbarrow with sides up like that. I’ve always had to have one with 2 wheels!!
    Enjoy you always Mike!

  50. Kan says

    Thanks, Mike! Very timely…I have to move a ton (maybe, literally) of compost via wheelbarrow this afternoon. You may have saved me some back pain.

  51. Gail Gammell says

    I know it seems funny to some people this wheel barrow video but it meant the world to me. I am an older/mature woman and I am planning to buy my first wheel barrow in the spring. I never could figure the difference in styles and price now….I know what to do and how to do it without hurting my back as well. THANKS!

  52. nik says

    Thanks Mike. I’m still using the wheelbarrow that was part of my Da’s tools. I gone through a lot of number 10 cans patching rust holes in it. But Da had moved the wheel back at one point, just as you’ve described.

  53. Laurette Joiner says

    Your comments are so useful. In the past, I have used a garden cart with the 2 bicycle wheels. I can see where these tips would be of use with the cart also.
    I always enjoy your videos.

    Thanks.

  54. Daryle says

    I bought two wheelbarrows about twenty five years ago. They were the first two-wheeled barrows. Most of my buddies laughed when they saw them … until they tried them. The tubs are ten cubic feet – about ten big loads moves a full cord of wood. If you load them right, they all but push themselves.

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