Removing fallen leaves can be … painful. Sometimes even literally. But if they’re left on the ground, a thick layer of leaves can kill the possibility for grass below come spring. Alas, it has to be done. Here are the best ways to remove those leaves this fall! 

Bust out the rake

Good old-fashioned raking: some people love it, most people don’t. But whether you take on the task yourself, hire a handyperson, bribe your kids, or pay a neighbor, the method is tried and true for removing fallen leaves. It might take a little (or a lot!) of elbow grease, but you WILL get the job done. Just stop periodically to stretch — you don’t want to injure your back doing this essential autumn chore.

Gear up with a leaf blower

If raking isn’t your cup of tea, try a leaf blower. There are a wide variety to choose from, depending on your needs and yard size. Ranging from around $160 to more than $600, leaf blowers remove the grunt work of raking and lessen work time. Plus, there’s less chance of needing to ice your back the next day.

If blowing leaves makes you question your carbon footprint, try a corded electric or battery-powered model instead of the gas-powered ones. There are also leaf blowers with bags attached, which saves the step of bagging up those pesky leaves after collecting them into piles.

Use a mulching mower

Yep, we said mower. Did you know you can mow your fallen leaves? It takes a special mulching mower, so you’re looking at an initial investment of buying the mower. But this method ends up being more cost-effective and less labor-intensive than either blowing or raking. And the best part about mowing your leaves: if ground fine enough, you can just ditch the bits right where they are when you’re finished — no cleanup required. As long as you can still see some lawn poking through the leaves, you’re good to go. 

In fact, these small, crunched-up leaves may even be beneficial for your lawn. They’re broken down by insects and send nutrients back into the earth below. This process fortifies the ground during the winter months, making for a prettier lawn once the snow melts. Mulching leaves is also the most environmental method of leaf removal, since the leaves stay on your property, rather than being sent to landfills or municipal composting facilities. 

Create a compost pile

Speaking of compost, no matter how you collect the leaves, there’s going to be plenty of debris. Leaves make a great beginning for a compost pile … or a perfect addition to the one that’s already there. Don’t forget to toss on some other elements to get your compost nice and earthy: think yard waste (like grass and other plant trimmings) and food waste from your kitchen. Come spring, the compost pile will be ready just in time to start planting!

Make it fun

Whether you opt for a rake, a leaf blower, or a mower, it goes by faster to tackle this task with family and friends. Turn the dreaded leaf-raking day into an event! Hook up a Bluetooth speaker and blast whatever music gets you going. Add some friendly competition (think awards for “biggest pile,” or “fastest section bagged”). And when every last leaf has been raked, blown, mowed, bagged, and/or composted, invite your guests to dinner. Don’t forget the apple cider!



DIY hacks | Home and garden


about Hannah

Hannah Fairbanks is a freelance writer living in San Francisco with her husband and 2 daughters. When she’s not writing, you might find her reading, packing bento box lunches for her kids, and making sure she gets in at least 10,000 Fitbit steps a day.