Many gardeners don’t like autumn defoliation as it adds up cleaning work around the garden. Are you one of them? Well, you won’t be after reading this guide! Below are the best ways and tips to get rid of fallen leaves in the backyard almost effortlessly. Read on and turn your fall yard chores into a game.
1. Use That Leaf Blower Right
Do you have a leaf blower? Great! But do you know how to handle it right? Of course, it is very easy to turn it on and blow the leaves into a pile, but you can speed up the process. All you need to do is lay down a large tarp in the right bottom corner of the yard and blow the leaves right onto the tarp starting from the farthest left corner of the perimeter. This way, you will skip the gathering step and dispose of the leaves right away. Fold the tarp over the leaves and drag them away to the compost pile or elsewhere. Another great option of a blower is that it lets you blow the leaves from between the narrowly growing tender plants without hurting them or picking leaves manually.
If your leaf blower is also a vacuum, the job may seem even easier. Vacuuming is so fast, right? In fact, vacuuming includes a couple of time-taking stages:
- Cleaning the yard from debris – the truth is that even the best leaf blower-vac has an impeller that can be easily damaged beyond repair. To avoid it, you need to take a while and inspect the whole yard to find and remove all the small rocks, twigs, and any other things that can’t be processed by the impeller. You also can’t vacuum near and on pebble tracks. Only a blower can do that!
- Emptying the leaf bag – if your yard is large and there are many trees, you may need to empty the shoulder bag several times. Not that it’s hard to do, but repeating it multiple times can be more time-taking than blowing the leaves on a large tarp.
By the way, you should wear a respirator while blowing and emptying vacuumed leaves as it’s a very dusty process!
2. Get the Right Rake
You can clear a small yard of leaves quite quickly and easily, but do you know that garden rakes have improved over the years? That’s right, your old rake needs to be replaced to speed up your work. Buying a new model, look for the following features:
- Ergonomic handle – this feature will set you free from blisters and reduce the strain in your wrists.
- Lightweight material – shallow composite, plastic, or metal rake handles can be much lighter than those conventional wooden handles. Give your preference to the first to reduce the strain on your back and shoulders. No fatigue is equal to a faster cleanup!
- Get the wide end – the wider your rake is, the faster you will get around, don’t forget that!
And don’t forget to keep the right posture! Even if you have an outstanding rake, it won’t do all the job until you pick up the right technique:
- Hold the handle with both hands and keep one hand far enough from the other. This will help you maintain stability and raking speed high.
- Alternate the leading hand to prevent fatigue. The lower hand is always stained more, while the upper rests on the handle to stabilize it. Regular alternation will help you a lot.
- You will naturally start bending your waist towards the ground, but you have to resist it and bend your knees instead. It’s necessary to do so to eliminate harmful strain in the back.
Finally, you have to rake in the right direction to avoid relocating leaves to the clean spots and simplify disposal. There are two effective ways to do so:
- For smaller yards – rake from the farthest left-hand corner to the tarp at the nearest right-hand corner.
- For larger yards and yards with more leaves – rake from the center to tarps at each corner of the yard. This way, the piles will be smaller and require less effort to be relocated and disposed of.
3. Employ That Lawnmower
Most probably, there is a lawnmower in your garage. Did you know it can help you deal with the leaves effectively? A lawnmower of any type can help you trim the lawn for the last time before it gets cold and mulch the fallen leaves at the same time. Here’s how to do it the right way:
- Wait for the day when the grass and leaves aren’t too wet or too dry. Moisture in leaves will help them mulch much more efficiently.
- Insert the mulch plug, turn on mulching on your lawnmower if required by the model, and close the side discharge port.
- Mow the lawn in concentric circles or lapped stripes. This way, you will double-mulch the leaves and clippings.
The best option is to leave the mulch right on the lawn as it will decompose during winter and make your lawn healthier for the next summer. This way you will save a lot of time on disposing of the fallen leaves and grass clippings. However, clearing the yard of unmatchable debris first is necessary.
Another way to use a lawnmower for clearing the yard is mowing with the leaf collector. If your lawnmower supports a clipping collector, attach it and gather all the leaves with or without mulching them. Mulching is recommended, though, as it will reduce the size of leaves and save a lot of space in the collector. Fewer disposals mean faster results!
4. Use Gutter Guards
Well, the yard is neat and clean, but what about the gutters? Look inside, and you will most probably see leaves or even clogs. Fortunately, you can make fall gutter cleaning almost effortless if you put gutter guards all over the horizontal and inside the vertical parts of the gutter system. Horizontal guards are mesh covers that don’t let the leaves get into the gutter and build “dams.” Vertical guards are usually solid caps with flaps that open under the pressure of the water mass. This construction keeps the leaves inside, lets the water down, and makes it a lot easier to remove the leaves.
Get It Done!
Congratulations! You’re now a professional leaf eliminator and can get all that fallen leaves from your yard faster than ever. You can compost or mulch the collected leaves to give them a second life and reduce your regular fertilization costs. Did this guide help you do the job faster? Share your own speed-boosting tips in the comments too!