Throughout my life, I’ve done more leaf cleanup jobs than I care to remember. I did my first leaf cleanups when I was younger working on my family’s lawn. Then, later on after working for and owning my lawn care company, I would do countless leaf jobs each fall and spring.
I’ll be the first one to admit, it wasn’t the favorite part of my job. I would always much rather prefer to mow lawns rather than pick up leaves. However, it was part of the job and I had to make the best of it. With so much experience in picking up leaves, I was able to find out not only the best way to get the leaves picked up, but also what lawn equipment was most important for the job. Below is my list of most important tools for leaf cleanups:
1. Leaf Blower – To me, it all starts with a good leaf blower. This not only will make the job easier, but it will also cut down on the amount of time it takes to do the job. As you may know, there are many different kinds and brands of leaf blowers available. In addition, there are some that double as leaf vacuums. Read leaf blower reviews and purchase the one that best suits your budget, as well as your lawn care needs.
2. Rake – Coming in close second is a good quality rake. I prefer a 48″ rake with a wooden handle and plastic tines since this allows me to move good size piles of leaves with just one sweep. However, you should pick the rake that is comfortable for you and one that you are able to physically handle. One quick tip with rakes is that should the wooden handle or the rake brake, don’t throw them away. Unscrew the pieces and save the good part and keep it for the next time one breaks. I’ve saved a lot of money over the years by doing this.
3. Protective Gear & Proper Attire – Picking up leaves can be a pretty noisy and dusty activity, especially when you use a lawn mower like I do. Therefore, consider using ear protection, safety goggles, and gloves to avoid injury. In addition, whether it is in the spring or the fall, the temperatures are usually pretty chilly. So make sure to bundle up in your active, cold weather gear.
4. Trash Bags – Don’t skimp on the trash bags. To me, the bigger the better. I also like strong trash bags that won’t break. You can find a wide selection at your local hardware store. One of my favorites to use are the large, paper bags. They are tough, able to hold a lot of leaves, and also good for the environment. Another thing I like to use, especially when using plastic bags, is a trash bag holder. This makes it much easier to get the leaves in the bags.
As I mentioned, I like to use a lawn mower when doing leaf pickups. Either a commercial grade or push mower is fine. What I like to do is after I have almost all of the leaves picked up off the lawn and out of the beds, I mow over the lawn with a beggar attached. This gives the lawn a nice finished look and picks up some of the small remaining leaves.
There have also been a number of tools invented to help make lawn cleanups easier. Some of these are good, however some you are better off saving your money. For example, the plastic leaf scoops that you attach to your hands have received good reviews from those that have used them. They enable you to pick up more leaves to put into bags.
Finally, my favorite tip is one that won’t work for everyone, but if it does work for you, it can make your leaf job so much easier. I try to avoid bagging the leaves whenever possible. What I do is rake and dump them on to tarps and then dump the tarps into the back of my pickup truck. I then take the leaves to the local recycling center. I know this option is more physically demanding, and in some cases, more expensive. In addition, I know everybody doesn’t own a truck. But I would much rather do it this way than bag up the leaves. This technique can also work if you hire a service to come suck up your leaves off your curb.