Uses for Your Wheelbarrow

By Sam Feeder , last updated May 14, 2011

There are a variety of uses for your wheelbarrow that you probably haven't taken the time to think of. This a very old tool, seemingly around since the invention of the wheel, and has been integral throughout human society for everything from gardening to building large structures. It is still regularly used today, though only for smaller jobs. However, that doesn't mean the wheelbarrow has become obsolete. Rather, less use of the wheelbarrow for gardening and construction jobs around your property frees it up for more original and imaginative uses.

Wheelbarrow Racing

The accurate and proper use of a wheelbarrow is one of those skills that no one really thinks about as a skill, at least not until every second of its use counts. Here's where wheelbarrow racing takes the pushing or pulling of a wheelbarrow to a completely different level. With a couple friends, an empty area and a couple wheelbarrows that are about the same size and weight, you can hold your own wheelbarrow race over a short distance. Everything comes into play with the use of the wheelbarrow in this scenario: the air in your tire, the technique you use to push, the shoes you are wearing, your balance, your strength and your overall fitness. Helmeted and padded friends or children, who are also all about the same weight, can ride in the wheelbarrows as passengers during the race as well and small adjustments can be made to the wheelbarrow itself, so that times can effectively be shaved down as the competition grows more and more serious. This is a great way to spend a fun summer afternoon.

A Unique Outdoor Planter

While wheelbarrows are usually used to move topsoil, sod and other dirt necessary for effective planting in a garden, an old wheelbarrow can help cut out the middle step of pouring and spreading the dirt you will plant everything in by using the wheelbarrows bowl itself as the planter. This metal or heavy duty fiberglass tub has the proper depth for flowers and herbs or plants like succulents and vines to grow effectively, with the right type of soil, fertilizer and care that you would give to a flowerbed. What's even better is that this becomes a mobile flower bed that can effectively be moved from area to area in your backyard, allowing you to change the look of your backyard, like moving furniture around in a living room. Make sure you drill a few small holes in the bottom of the wheelbarrow tub, so that water you pour into the bed can easily escape and won't drown the roots.

A Wheelbarrow Workout

One reason the wheelbarrow has been replaced by other machines and devices for a number of jobs is because it required a lot of physical effort to use throughout the day, becoming associated with "back-breaking work." However, this truth about the wheelbarrow can be used to your advantage, especially if you are trying to get into good shape, as it will strengthen your arms, back, legs and chest in a way that most machines at a gym or cardiovascular activities could. Load down your wheelbarrow with a set amount of weight and try pushing or pulling it repeatedly over a set distance for a certain period of time. For example, try to make laps around your large backyard with sixty or seventy pounds in your wheelbarrow for 5 to 10 minutes straight. Or find a hill and push a weighted wheelbarrow up it ten times in a row. Doing this regularly will put you in a unique but fit shape.

Wheelbarrow Pond

An inventive use for an old wheelbarrow is to turn it into a pond for small fish and lily pads to live. These metal and fiberglass wheelbarrow tubs are built to hold liquids for extended periods of time, much like above ground swimming pools. However, stagnant water becomes a breeding ground for mosquitos and other bugs, so by attaching a filter and a small motor to the wheelbarrow tub, the water will be cleaned some, keeping to many mosquitos from laying eggs in it. This filter and motor will also allow air to be put into the water, so that fish can live in the small tub more easily, adding life and color to the wheelbarrow pond, as well as natural predators for insects trying to breed within it. As wheelbarrows are naturally tippy, it may be a good idea to bury this wheelbarrow pond in the ground, at least a little bit. That way it won't be easily knocked over and destroyed.

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