After the leaves have turned, they tumble, and cleaning them up is an essential but dreaded autumn chore. Fortunately, there are techniques to ease the task, and a few handy tools that will save you time and frustration. So you can enjoy fall’s bounty but have a leaf-free lawn before the first snow falls.
1. Mow, Don’t Rake
Source: Safe Lawns
If the leaf coverage isn’t too thick, you can run a mulching mower over the leaves until they’re broken up into little bits that will decompose back into the lawn. Reintroducing these nutrients could even reduce next year’s weeds.
2. Think Ahead With a Tarp
Source: Leaf Lugger
Lay down a large tarp to catch leaves as they fall, or rake leaves onto one after the fact. This particular tarp wraps around a leaf pile, making it easy to haul up to 100 pounds (so it’s a good workout to boot).
3. Lift More With Leaf Scoops
Source: The Green Head
Wearing these nifty scoopers is like having giant claws that can lift up bunches of leaves in a cinch. They’ll catch smaller objects and pine needles as well so you can transfer them to bags more easily.
4. Snag a Snake Rake
Invest in an ergonomic aluminum rake like the Snake Rake. The offset handles and adjustable length will save you from back aching pain.
5. Break Out the Snow Shovel
Source: Millionaire Tips
You can use a snow shovel instead of a rake to gather leaves and more easily deposit them into bags. Simply scoop the leaves like you would snow, then slide them off the side of the shovel into the bag.
6. Don’t Forget the Pine
Source: Popular Mechanics
Pine needles take a long time to degrade so keep them off the grass. A special pine rake will make the job easier.
7. Opt for Eco-Friendly Bags
Rather than plastic or paper, purchase sturdy woven plastic bags that are reusable. Most collapse for easy storage, and you can use the gathered leaves for mulch or compost.
8. Make Your Own Gutter Cleaner
Make a PVC pipe extension for your garden hose so you can clean the leaves out of your gutters without precariously balancing on a ladder.
9. Rake Downhill and With the Wind
Source: M/I Homes
Time to go with the flow. You’ll prevent frustration by working with whatever nature’s dishing out. So raking downhill and with the wind makes your job a lot easier.
10. Mix Leaf Species
Source: Audrey Driscoll
If and when possible, mix up the types of leaves in each pile. Leaf-eating microorganisms will start on thinner leaves, then move on to thicker ones, so you want a distribution of all types.
11.. Make Them Pretty
Why not decorate while you tidy? You can artfully pile up leaves, use them to make wreaths, or bundle them in pretty baskets.
Don’t dread leaf cleanup this fall. Instead, tackle it head-on with these helpful tools and some savvy techniques. And of course, turning this task into a family affair will automatically make it more fun.