The Best Way to Remove Leaves From Your​ Yard

The Best Way to Remove Leaves From Your​ Yard

Do you have a thick layer of autumn leaves covering your grass, sidewalk, driveway, and even your flower beds? If left on your lawn, leaves will block sunlight from reaching your grass and can lead to lawn diseases. So, what is the best way to remove leaves from your yard?

Grab your rake, a leaf blower, or a mulching lawn mower, and let’s get started. By following these leaf removal tips, you can promote better health for your grass as it lies dormant during winter. Next spring, you will be greeted with a healthy, beautiful lawn.

Best way to remove leaves from your yard

Removing leaves from your yard may sound tedious, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Chances are, you already have the leaf removal tools in your garage, and if you don’t, you can easily find them at a hardware or home improvement store.

Here are the best tools for getting rid of leaves:

Leaf rake

Close up of a green rake with leaves trapped in the rake
congerdesign | Pixabay

A leaf rake will get those leaves out of your yard as well as twigs, grass clippings, and anything else, but raking is back-straining work.

To make raking easier, choose a rake with an ergonomic handle and a lightweight design. If your leaf rake isn’t comfortable to hold and use, it will increase the strain on your shoulders and back, making leaf removal much harder than it needs to be.

Choose a leaf rake with a wide end. The wider your rake, the more leaves you can pick up with every sweep.

Pros of leaf rakes:

  • Efficient
  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Good for long-term use

Cons of leaf rakes

  • Difficult for beginners
  • Not great for large areas
  • Potential risk of injury

Leaf blowers

Leaf Blower
Ben Gingell | Canva Pro | License

Leaf blowers are one of the most versatile landscaping tools you can buy. Homeowners and landscapers use them for dozens of tasks, including leaf removal and yard cleanup.

In general, leaf blowers are easy to use — and, in many cases, extremely noisy.

Check your local ordinances before buying a leaf blower, as cities and states are increasingly banning gas-powered lawn care equipment because of their emissions, so you may need to look into purchasing an electric leaf blower. Some cities restrict leaf-blowing times because of the noise.

Pros of leaf blowers:

  • Saves time
  • Efficient
  • Can also be used as a snow blower
  • Easy to use

Cons of leaf blowers:

  • The wind can blow leaves back in to your yard
  • Can be expensive
  • Make a loud sound
  • Require regular maintenance
  • Blows dust and dirt into your eyes and nose
  • Heavy

Leaf vacuums

leaf blower garden vacuum

Leaf vacuums, also knows as yard vacuums, are machines that suck up leaves and debris into a collector bag that can then be unloaded later. They are available as handheld, and as attachments to your lawnmower or tractor.

The leaf vacuum attaches to your mower by using a mower deck adapter, a hitch, ad a deck hose. All of these parts can be custom fit to your mower. This powerful tool can make cleaning leaves out of your lawn much easier and conveineint.

Pros of leaf vacuums:

  • Variety
  • Efficient
  • Convenient
  • Powerful

Cons of leaf vacuums:

  • The bags can only hold so much at a time
  • Can only mulch lightweight debris 
  • Noisy
  • Creates a lot of dust

Mulching lawn mowers

Close-up of a mulching lawn mower with grass clippings all over the top of it
osseous | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

When your lawn is covered with leaves, it isn’t necessary to remove them before you mow. In fact, mowing over the leaves with a mulching mower can create a nutritional, organic mulch for your lawn that provides all-natural fertilization during the fall and winter months.

You don’t necessarily have to own a mulching lawn mower. Depending on the type of lawn mower you have, you can set your mower to “mulch” when you want to mulch your leaves. This setting works best with dry leaves if your grass is at a normal height. Trying to do this with wet leaves will just clog the mower. 

Start by unhooking the grass catcher, inserting the mulch plug into your mower, and closing the side discharge port. Once you’ve done this, mow your lawn as you would normally. Once you’ve gone over the lawn once, start a second pass at a right angle to the first. 

Mow your lawn in stripes so you can go over the discharged leaf clippings from your previous passes, further reducing them in size and making them more effective mulch. Mowing your lawn in concentric circles is another effective way to cut and re-cut the leaf debris. This will let you mulch your clippings back into the grass with ease.

Ideally, you should cut your leaf debris into dime-size pieces for it to be effective mulch. When you can see about half an inch of grass above the mulched layer of leaves, you’re finished. 

Shredded leaves will begin to settle into the soil, and microorganisms will start the decomposition process. This composts the leaf clippings into exceptional food for your lawn, making fallen leaves a valuable (yet often overlooked) resource for your yard.

Pros of mulching lawn mowers:

  • Saves time
  • Saves effort
  • Good for the lawn

Cons of mulching lawn mowers:

  • Can spread contaminants like pesticides and chemical treatments
  • Can spread pests
  • Requires the grass to be cut more often

How to rake your leaves

Raking leaves can be challenging work, but here are a few things you can do to make the job faster and easier:

How to hold your rake

Once you’ve found your ideal leaf rake, practice proper body position to make the job easier. Why this matters: If you don’t position your body the right way, you can increase the strain on the joints in your hands, making you uncomfortable.

Your hand positioning is also vital when you hold a rake. Here’s why: When you hold a rake correctly, it will give you more power with each sweep.

You should grasp your leaf rake with both of your hands and reverse their positions regularly to reduce strain. You should hold your hands on the handle with a distance between them to maximize stability.

Try to keep your knees bent while you rake, and don’t bend too much at the waist. When you bend at your knees instead of your waist, you take the strain off your back and hips.

Rake in the right direction

As you rake, it’s essential to do so in the right direction so you don’t push your leaves somewhere you’ve already worked, making your leaf removal process take longer.

We recommend moving backward as you rake. By taking small steps back and raking leaves toward you as you sweep your lawn, you can avoid spreading leaves where you don’t want them. You should try to make neat piles at the edge of your yard.

Take it slow while you rake. There’s no rush — the more thorough you are with each sweep, the less often you’ll need to rake your lawn’s leaves.

Use a tarp for easy leaf cleanup

If you have a tarp, canvas cloth, or sheet that you’re not using, you can use it to transport dead leaves from your lawn after you rake.

Lay the tarp on the ground near your yard where you plan to rake. As you sweep the rake across your lawn, push the leaf pile onto the tarp for easy cleanup. Try raking the leaves from one area of your lawn onto the tarp until it’s full.

If you’re using a leaf blower, try using it alongside a tarp to make cleanup easier. Fire up your leaf blower and start in the farthest left-hand corner of your lawn. Start blowing the leaves into a pile onto a tarp near the edges.

Once the tarp is full of leaves, gently grab each edge and fold the tarp over the leaves, hold it together tightly, and carefully drag it away to where you’re disposing your leaves.

Bag your leaves

Raking leaves into leaf bags is another efficient way to get rid of them. Leaf bags, also known as yard bags, make it easy to pick up leaves and transport them to your compost or mulch pile. as opposed to a tarp or a sheet. 

Once your leaves are in bags, stomp down on the leaves, which will give you more room. This will help you get the most out of your yard bags.

What to do with all those leaves?

Now what can you do with the leaves you’ve raked or blown into a pile? 

We recommend adding your piles of leaves to your compost bin or compost pile. Leaves and other organic matter can make excellent DIY compost, which you can use any leaves you pick up during your fall maintenance routine next year as soil for your garden.

Of course, if you have way too many leaves than you know what to do with, you can take the excess to your local landfill.

When to call the pros for leaf removal

If you don’t already have a leaf blower or mulching lawn mower, let the pros with the gear handle your leaf removal. Lawn Love makes it easy to “leaf” your worries behind. 

Contact local leaf removal pros and get a quote with just a call or click. The pros have the tools to blow, rake, and mulch your yard’s leaves.

Main Image Credit: Pixabay

Lydian Pine

Lydian Pine is a creative writer and studio artist whose work first debuted in a short story anthology. She graduated from the University of North Texas in 2020 and enjoys video games, theatre, and swimming. Lately, she has started to study entomology as a hobby.