The fiery brilliance of fall is beyond compare. The reds, oranges, and yellows that fill our landscape are a visual representation of the seasons changing; but with that change comes the fact that, eventually, these beautiful leaves will fall. Raking leaves might be a tedious chore, but there are ways to make your job a little easier.
Is it necessary to rake leaves?
While you might be tempted to leave that lovely layer of colorful foliage, there are a few reasons why raking your fallen leaves is important:
- When you remove the layer of leaves, your lawn will be able to get adequate sunlight and, therefore. stay alive throughout the colder seasons.
- Piles of dead leaves can attract pests and insects that are harmful to your property and your lawn.
- It makes your property look clean and neat.
- Some neighborhoods and HOAs require tidy lawns, including raked leaves during fall.
How to take some of the work out of your fall yard work.
Raking leaves can be strenuous and, if not done properly, can lead to injury or frustration. We've put together a few tips to help you safely take on this project, so you can spend less time raking and more time enjoying everything autumn has to offer.
Wait for the leaves to stop falling.
You might want to rake them up as they fall to keep your yard tidy, but you can't rush Mother Nature. If your neighborhood permits it, wait until your trees are bare (or nearly bare) and then rake. This saves time and gives you the satisfaction of watching your lawn go from blanketed to clean.
Choose a rake that does most of the work for you.
When it comes to picking a rake, you want one that is comfortable to hold and maneuver so you won't be bending and hunching over. Look for a wide rake with "no clog" tines—you’ll avoid the hassle of constantly pulling leaves out of your rake and get the job done more efficiently.
Split your yard into quadrants.
Whether you’re splitting your task into multiple days or tackling it at once, splitting your yard into sections can make the chore easier. Split each quadrant into rows and rake leaves into the center (or onto a tarp if you're using one); this lightens the workload and creates a cleaner lawn.
Pick the right gear.
This might seem like a given, but choosing the correct rake, clothing, and equipment can really make a difference. Wear a hat to protect your skin from the sun and long sleeves and pants to keep pests and dust off your skin. Make sure you have a sturdy pair of gloves and wear comfortable shoes. For allergy sufferers, a mask is also a great idea.
Use a tarp.
Rather than making a bunch of small piles and putting them in bags as you go, rake your leaves onto a tarp. You can drag the tarp around your yard, and save bagging leaves up or disposing of them until the very end. If your leaf-raking stretches more than one day (we get busy, it happens), you can tie the tarp shut so the leaves you've already raked won't blow away. You may also use the tarp as your means of disposal, cutting back on plastic bag waste.
Use the wind.
Have to rake on a windy day? Rake your leaves in the same direction the wind is blowing. This limits the amount of time you spend raking up piles and watching them blow away before you can secure them—and it gives the wind a chance to help move dry leaves along.
Don't overexert yourself.
While raking is a great way to get some exercise, focusing on the chore and not on how your body feels could lead to pain and even injury. Keep your back straight and make smaller movements rather than big sweeping motions. By lifting the rake and letting it fall, then pulling it gently back to you without any pressure, you'll save energy and minimize the damage the tines could do to your yard. Take breaks, drink plenty of water, and enjoy that brisk fall weather.
Prepare your yard for cold weather.
Once you've finished raking and have disposed of your leaves properly—or turned them into mulch or compost—there are still a few projects to tackle so your yard looks great for fall and you’re ready for winter. Preparing your yard for the colder months might seem like an extra step, but your outdoor space will thank you later!