I start to think about leaf raking as soon as the first leaf drops in our yard. My oh my, we have quite the leaf raking operation in our yard every year.We LOVE the shade our mature trees (yes, six of them) give our yard during the summer, but we absolutely loathe the amount of leaves, seedlings, and other random stuff they drop each fall and spring.
We installed gutter guards ourselves to manage the debris in our gutters, but we still have the yard to deal with. And you’ll have to forgive me for bragging, but we really have perfected our leaf raking technique.The plethora of thingies falling from our trees has really forced us to.
The theory we use for our landscaping also applies to our leaf raking tips: find the most low maintenance method possible. In other words: the laziest. But here’s the thing: lazy doesn’t always mean easy, especially when it comes to leaf raking. It just means working smarter and not harder.
So if you are new to leaf raking or have just completely given up on your yard, check out the following leaf raking tips for the lazy homeowner.
Tips #1: Mulch if you can
The absolute easiest way to rake leaves is to not rake them! Instead, mulch them into your grass. It gives your grass extra nutrients and saves you some hassle. But be warned: depending on the quality of your lawnmower and your leaf load, it might take you just as long to mulch your leaves as it would to just rake and bag them. This is definitely the case for our mower.
If you plan to mulch and not rake/bag your leaves, be sure your mower cuts the leaves small enough to pass through your city’s sewer. If you or your neighbors live on the downslope of your street, they won’t appreciate large leaves clogging the sewer drains by their house and potentially leading to basement floods.
Tip #2: The next best thing is a blower
If you are like us and can’t mulch in a practical and efficient manner, then consider blowing the bulk of your leaves. We love our Ryobi blower to move the leaves into rows. What we love about this blower is that it’s battery powered (no cord), powerful, but also lightweight.
(Psst! Looking for other tool recommendations? Check out our favorite garden tools here.)
After we blow the leaves into manageable rows, we rake them into bags. Check with your city to find out their protocol for leaf disposal. Some cities might even let you blow your leaves right up to your curb without bagging. Other cities (like ours) have restrictions on even the type of bag you must use (ex: must be biodegradable).
The type of rake you use also makes a difference. Buy one that is wide and doesn’t “clog”. Try using a snow shovel or leaf scoops to get the leaves into the bags.
Tip #3: Buy bags in bulk
So you have a few huge trees in your yard. If this is your first year in your home, and you need to bag your leaves, just plan to use TONS of bags. You’ll save money by buying brown bags in bulk at somewhere like CostCo (or even on amazon).
This seems like an obvious thing, but let me tell you. The first year in our home, I took SO MANY trips to Home Depot buying just 10 bags at a time. Seven trips later and we were finally finished raking leaves. What was I thinking!?
Even if you don’t use all the bags this season, they don’t expire or go bad. Better to have extra and save yourself the money (and trips).
At the end of the season, tally up the number of bags you used and write it down somewhere. That way, you know exactly how many to buy next year.
Tip #4: Enlist your kids to help
KIds love to be little helpers and raking leaves is the perfect family chore. My kids use their snow shovels to help bag the leaves. They also love jumping in the leaf piles. And I have to say, watching them enjoy themselves seems to make the process go by faster for everyone.
Tip #5: Go with the flow
Go with the flow of the wind, that is. Don’t make your job harder by fighting the wind, too. We try to blow the leaves towards the end of our driveway (so there is less distance to carry the bags), so we don’t even bother with the leaves on windy days that the wind doesn’t cooperate.
Go with the flow of your tree, too. Watch and wait for the tree to be bare before raking. This will save you some effort. Our front Ash trees drop their leaves at the beginning of fall, and our back silver maple drops at the very end of the season. So, we bag our front yard first, and do the back yard later.
If you liked this post, be sure to pin the image below to your landscaping board to reference later!
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