The Garden Rake is a semi-reusable item sold to the player by Crazy Dave at Crazy Dave's Twiddydinkies. It costs $200 and lasts for three levels, and can be bought again any time after it runs out. It is automatically placed in the lane where the first zombie will appear and the zombie that steps on the edge, gets hit, and dies.
At the beginning of a level, the Garden Rake will appear on the second column (from the right) on any ground lane, and this lane will also be where the first zombie appears (except in the Puzzle Mode Vasebreaker levels).When the zombie reaches the Rake, it will die instantly. This applies to every type of zombie except Gargantuars, Giga-gargantuars and Tall-nut Zombies, although it is unlikely they will be first.
Simply buy the Rake as soon as it wears out, and it will take out the first zombie that appears. It gives you more time to set up your Sunflowers, without having to plant an offensive plant when the zombies arrive. This can actually be a hindrance in the hard Survival Mode levels when using the basic strategy with Peashooters, as if you do not plant the offensive plant the harder zombies may come before you have enough offensive plants ready. However, this is not a problem if you have Cattails, Potato Mines, or Squashes available, though some find it hard to save up sun while using these plants, even though their purpose is to help save up sun.
If you're trying out any strategy that does not have a basic plant (Potato Mine, Puff-shroom, Peashooter) Rakes are a must, as zombies would get too close to be killed even by a Repeater or Melon-pult.
It should be noticed, however, that the sooner the first zombie is killed, the sooner the next zombie will come. The rake increases the time you have before you must deal with the first zombie, but it reduces the time before, for example, you face the first huge wave. Thus in Survival: Endless or when attempting levels without sunflowers, it might be in some ways better not to use it, as you will have some more time to save up sun.
- Even though it's mentioned a Garden Rake kills the zombie that first touches it, a Gargantuar or a Tall-nut Zombie can still survive the rake since it is effectively equivalent to a Squash; it will only damage about half of their health; however, if the Gargantuar or Tall-nut Zombie was hit with any instant kill first before reaching the Rake, the Rake could kill it.
- The Rake does not appear in Bobsled Bonanza, perhaps because of the ice.
- It can't be collected as money after the player defeats a level.
- When certain zombies step on it, their head will fall off, but their arm will remain attached.
- If a zombie is killed and then immediately steps on the rake, the rake will still activate.
- During any pool level on the DS version, a zombie with a rake stuck in the back of his head may appear on the top screen. This zombie will have a facial expression similar to that of a zombie after taking a bite of Garlic.
- The effect of the rake is based on cartoons, for example, Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons. When the character steps on the steel part, it will act like a lever and the handle will stand and slam into the character who stepped on it.
- It is unknown how some zombies die from the Garden Rake, as Vehicle Zombies are obviously too large to be destroyed by a Rake, although the tires of the vehicles may be popped by the Garden Rake.
- The rake's $200 price is an utterly ridiculous price for a garden rake.