How To Rake Leaves

Lawn & Garden

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Fall leaves are indeed beautiful to look at, but it is a big chore to remove it all from your lawn. But raking leaves does not have to be so difficult.

When I began raking for the first time, I remember stumbling through the process and having a backache for days afterward. But with time I have realized that if you know the right way to do it, the work gets reduced by half.

Hi, I am Stacy Smith, your friendly neighborhood lawn care expert. And today, I have carefully curated this guide to help you with the different ways to rake without the process becoming frustrating.

For better clarity, I have listed the major points to keep in mind and then broken down the process of raking into steps. If, however, if you're looking for the best leaf rakes to buy, click on the link for recommendations!

So, without further ado, let’s dive in to know how to rake leaves!

Important Points To Keep In Mind Before Raking

1. Deciding The Correct Time

I have tried to rake leaves on a windy day, and yes, it turned out to be a complete disaster. That is when I learned that it is vital to choose the day based on the weather. It definitely has to be a windless day, which will ensure that the leaves do not fly away.

I would strongly suggest that you rake leaves before the first day of winter. If you have the time to frequently clean your garden, then doing it every week throughout autumn is a good idea. Otherwise, I recommend that you wait till the end of autumn when most of the leaves have fallen off. This is the best time to clean your lawn, and you can do it all at once.

Always remember that dried out leaves are easier to tackle and broom away. So, ensure that it is done before the snow falls.

2. Using A Lawnmower Before Raking

Before you rake the leaves, it will be great if you can mow it. Mowing gives you a smooth base, and it is easier for the rake to function after that. I had noticed that it makes a huge difference, primarily by reducing the level of effort that one has to put in. I also found that crunched leaves are easier to deal with as they do not fly away.

It may be challenging to mow at the end of autumn as the grass will have grown and will have stronger roots. So, it is best to do it towards the middle of autumn.

In case you do not own a mower, you can also stomp through the dried leaves. This will break the piles and make the raking process simpler.

Process Of Raking

It is time to walk you through the process of raking leaves. I will also be giving some much-needed tips along the way, which I wish someone told me before I began! Read on to find out all the deets.

Step 1: Make Small Reaching Movements

It is essential that you make small but frequent movements with the rake. Do not try to accumulate a lot at once. If you try to make bigger arm movements, you will be tired within an hour.

Even though you may think that bigger moves will get the job done faster, if your arms start aching soon, work will have to be paused. Hence, you will end up wasting the day and may have arm pain afterwards.

I used a 19-inch rake, which did not have me bending down too much. Also, pull the leaves towards you to prevent dust from flying around. This is important, especially for those who have dust allergies.

Step 2: Create Small Piles

Instead of aiming to create one big pile which may become unmanageable, it is best to create small piles of leaves. If you have a big lawn, make sure that there are 10-12 small piles of accumulated leaves.

Step 3: Use A Tarp Or Leaf Bag

Once you have all the leaves properly piled up, take a tarp and transfer the piles onto it. This will allow you to carry the leaves to the disposal bin easily. While this process works out for a larger number of piles, if you have a small lawn, a tarp is not needed.

You can simply use a leaf bag or any disposable bag in which you stuff the pile. Use your rake with one hand to pick the leaves while you hold a bag in the other hand.

Step 4: Disposing Of The Leaves

In my area, the municipal service disposes of the leaves when they come to collect garbage. If that’s the case with you, make sure that the leaf bags are kept in such a place that they are visible to your area’s service truck. Attaching a funnel on top of it will help in the bagging process.

If you do not want to dispose of the leaves, there is an excellent way to use them. You can chop them with a mower to get mulch for your lawn. The mixture of chopped leaves along with grass clippings is a very rich addition to compost piles and creates the perfect mulch for your garden. This can be used to insulate the lawn beds in winter.

Final Words

It is indeed very important to rake leaves to maintain your garden throughout the year. It will not only keep it clean but will also make excellent compost.

If you do not clean your lawns before the snow arrives, the leaves will end up decaying and can become breeding grounds for disease-bearing insects and bacteria. This can be fatal for the grass, and I am sure you would want to avoid that.

If you follow the steps carefully, the work can be done in one afternoon easily, and it does feel very satisfying to see a clean and green lawn.

On that note, I will take your leave. I hope this guide provided you with all the tips for a hassle-free raking experience.

Till next time!

About the Author

Stacey is a Texan at heart and a true daughter of the soil. She takes keen interest in everything related to lawn care, and has experience of over 30 years in tinkering with a variety of equipment. When she's not tending to her own lawn or helping the neighbors, she likes to blog about her journey with the rest of the world.

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