Tips for Making Raking Leaves Easier

Fall is a beautiful time of year when leaves change color, and the air becomes crisp and clear. But for many homeowners, the fall also brings the backbreaking task of raking leaves. While it may seem like a tedious chore, there are several good reasons why you need to rake your leaves regularly.  

Leaving them on the ground can lead to clogged drains and gutters. They can also smother grass, making it difficult for new growth to take hold in the spring. Instead of leaving them on the grass, use your raked leaves as compost or mulch in other parts of your garden to provide essential nutrients for plants. 

So next time you’re tempted to leave them where they lie, remember that there are benefits to raking them up. While raking leaves may not be the most fun way to spend an afternoon, you can do a few things to make the job a little easier.

Buy the Right Rake

Choosing the right rake can be a daunting task. However, by understanding the different features of each type of rake, you can make an informed decision that will help you keep your yard looking its best: 

  • Leaf rakes are designed to quickly collect large quantities of leaves.
  • Lawn rakes are ideal for removing debris and leveling out uneven patches of grass.
  • Garden rakes are perfect for loosening compacted soil.
  • Shrub rakes are ideal for shaping hedges and bushes. 

Choosing the right leaf rake for the job is important. Choose one that isn’t too heavy or too light. The rake handle should reach the bridge of your nose and have sufficient space for you to space out your hands for efficient raking. Also, consider the width of the rake because you want to get as many leaves in one go as possible.  

Safety is Important

There are several safety tips to be aware of before you begin raking garden leaves:

  • Never over-exert yourself; if you have a large yard, consider using a leaf blower instead.  
  • Always wear gloves and long sleeves to protect your hands and arms from branches and sharp twigs in leaf piles. Yard gloves also protect your hands from blisters.   
  • If you have allergies or asthma, wear a dust mask to avoid breathing in airborne mold spores.  

Rake Downhill with the Wind

Many people make the mistake of raking leaves uphill. However, this is ineffective as the leaves will blow back down again. The best way to rake leaves is downhill and with the wind. This is because the wind helps keep the leaves in place. 

It is also vital to ensure that you do not rake too slowly, as this will cause the leaves to blow away. Raking quickly and with the wind ensures the leaves stay where you want them. 

Use a Nylon Sheet or Tarp

Another leaf raking tip is to rake the leaves onto the tarp and then gather the sides together to form a makeshift bag. You can then easily transport the leaves to your compost bin or roll the tarp up to make a funnel to guide the leaves into lawn bags for curbside pickup. Using a tarp prevents leaves from blowing back onto your lawn after you’ve raked them up.

Avoid using your rake to pick up leaves because they aren’t designed to withstand the stress. A snow shovel is much sturdier and is perfect for scooping big piles of dry leaves into lawn bags.  

Work in Sections

Raking fallen leaves is often seen as a tedious chore, but it doesn’t have to be. One way to make the job easier and save energy is to work in sections. For example, start by raking the leaves into a small pile, then stomp on the pile while wearing a dust mask and long pants. 

This makes the leaves easier to rake and prevents them from being blown away by the wind on windy days or when the wind is blowing in the opposite direction. 

Shred the Leaves With Your Lawnmower

Running over the leaves with a lawn mower breaks them down into smaller pieces, which are much easier to rake. Shredded leaves clump together more easily, making it less likely that they will be blown away by the wind. 

Shredded leaves also make excellent compost material, so you can use them to improve the quality of your soil.  

Leave Leaf Matter on Your Garden Beds 

While many people spend hours raking piles of leaves, removing them from your garden beds might be unnecessary. In fact, leaves can be a great organic mulch that helps protect against winter frost. 

The thick layer of leaves insulates the soil, trapping heat and moisture. This can help to prevent plants from dying back due to cold weather. Leaves also break down into  compost over time, adding valuable nutrients to the soil.

Rake Every Day

Rather than waiting for all the leaves to fall before beginning the cleanup process, try raking a small amount each day. This helps break up the task and prevents the leaves from compacting which makes it more challenging to rake them up later. 

Keep Your Yard Tidy 

A well-kept yard can be the envy of the neighborhood, but it can also be a lot of work. Mowing, edging, weeding, and mulching are just a few of the tasks that need to be performed regularly. And during the fall and winter months, there are also leaves to rake and snow to shovel. 

Fortunately, HomesNGardens can help take some of the hassle out of yard maintenance. We provide tips for keeping your yard looking its best all year long, from choosing the right plants for your climate to tips on mowing and fertilizing.

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