How to Rake Leaves: 9 Tips from Landscaping Professionals
There’s nothing quite like New England in the fall – football, fresh apple cider, the perfect chill in the air and, of course, the vibrant spectacle of the changing leaves.
It all conjures up nostalgic memories of back-to-school seasons gone by and everything we love about living in Massachusetts. It’s all is pretty perfect… well, except for one thing.
This is the one part of fall that we could do without. But this is the price we pay for the beautiful fall foliage. So, let’s shrug our shoulders and get on with it. Here are our best tips for making quick work of this annual chore.
1. Gear Up
Raking isn’t glamorous work, so just focus on wearing what will be most comfortable and safe. We recommend wearing a long-sleeved shirt, comfortable pants, close-toed outdoor shoes, a hat and sturdy gloves to help you avoid getting blisters. Remember that raking is a very dusty work, so you may also want to wear a dust mask to protect yourself.
2. Invest in a Good Rake
No, not all rakes are created equally. And if you have an old or cheap one, your work will be much harder and longer. Opt for one whose tines are spread out more widely (aim for 30 inches) so you can cover more ground in one movement. It’s also worth buying one that has a “no clog” feature, which will help you avoid poking leaves and having them pile up on the tines.
3. Rake Smart, Not Hard
Most fall days are a little windy, so let that work to your advantage and rake in the direction the wind is already blowing. That way you’re having Mother Nature help you instead of fighting against it.
4. By the Grid
Your instinct might be to start from the outside of your lawn and rake everything into a big pile in the center. However, it’s more efficient to separate your lawn into quadrants and rake each one in rows. You won’t end up with a big pile to jump in at the end, but you’ll do a much better job more quickly this way. Plus, there will be less risk of a gust of wind ruining all your hard work.
5. Tarp Time
If you’ve ever attempted to get a pile of leaves into a bag, you know it’s a frustrating task that can make you just want to quit the whole job. Instead, get them all onto a big tarp, roll it up and then empty it into a bag.
6. Mulch It Up
If you don’t have too many leaves on your property yet, you could use a lawnmower on the mulch setting to chop them up finely and create a nice mulch for your lawn.
7. Invest in a Cool Tool
If you really can’t stand raking, you may want to invest in a leaf blower or yard vacuum. Just keep in mind that you’ll need a bit of practice if you’ve never used these tools before.
8. Rake Dry
If it’s just rained, don’t even attempt to rake your leaves until everything has dried out. As you probably know, wet leaves get soggy and clump together, making it virtually impossible to rake, use a leaf blower or a lawn vacuum. So, keep an eye on the weather forecast as you make your raking plans.
9. Know Your Limits
Raking can be physically demanding and exhausting work. So, be sure to stay hydrated, take breaks and know when you’ve reached your limit for the day. And don’t be shy to ask for help if you need it, especially if you have a large front and backyard to handle on your own.
Professional landscapers like our sister company, G. Norwood Landscape, can make life easy by taking care of leave removal for you. If that sounds like a better plan, give them a call soon to reserve your appointment before the first snowfall.