Written by Susie's Yard Care
Fall is a beautiful season, but the yard full of thick and sometimes wet leaves can be annoying and bad for the green grass coming next year. Raking has dual benefits. It's good for the grass and it's good physical exercise for us. All you need is a rake.
You may be able to avoid raking altogether if you use a mulching mower. These power mowers run over the dry leaves and shred them into small pieces that sift down through the grass blades and onto the soil, where they will decompose, enriching your soil. During the rest of the year, the mower will mulch the grass it trims, also enriching the soil.
Determine the destination area where the leaves will go after collection, whether it's in a bag on a curb, back into the garden as mulch, or in a backyard compost pile.
Decide how much time you can spend raking each day or get help and divide up the task.
Get a rake and big plastic sheet around 6 feet (2m) square. A large sheet of burlap or an old drop cloth or other sturdy fabric will also work.
Moving your feet, rake leaves straight back and move with the rake as you walk toward the back.
Spread the plastic sheet on the ground near the raking area. Pull the leaves over to the plastic sheet with the help of the rake. When it covers the whole sheet, take one corner of the sheet and join it with the corner diagonally across from it. Then do the same with the other diagonal. Carry the leaves to the destination area or dump them into bags.
Alternatively, use a grass catcher from a push mower or a large dustpan designed for outdoor collection. You'll make more, smaller trips to wherever you're collecting the leaves, but each trip will be lighter to carry.
- Use the whole profile area of the rake to push leaves, not just the tips at the end of the rake. (For example, if it's triangular, use that whole triangular area.) This will let you push or throw a lot more leaves on each rake. (The larger the surface area that pushes the leaves, the more leaves you can move with each rake.) The center technique combined with this will make it easier to get leaves airborne on each rake, which makes it considerably quicker and easier.
- Use the right rake for the job. In most cases, this is a leaf rake, something with a broad head and flexible points. A garden rake (the shorter, straighter, rigid metal sort) has many uses, but this isn't one of them.
- The best time to rake autumn leaves is during "past peak" foliage. It might be hard to wait to clean the yard, but if you rake during "peak" timing, leaves are going to fall much quicker and raking is needed more often.
- Switch sides now and then and take breaks, especially if you haven't raked since last fall.
- Try to keep the rake mostly perpendicular to the ground (i.e. between 65 to 85 degrees.) That will give your body easy leverage on the rake (makes it easy to move, and easy on your body,) will minimize friction between the ground and the rake, and will maximize the rake's angle in the direction the leaves are going. This will use more of the tips of the rake (which is less area overall per sweep,) but you can move the rake more easily at that high angle, for quicker, shorter, effective sweeps, so the over-all level of effort is easier, while the speed is maintained.
- Choose a center point for each pile. This will help you select the leaf pile locations more strategically, and will give you a center or specific location that every rake can be directed towards. This will add up to a lot of increased efficiency over the course of a few hundred rakes.
- Take it easy on your back. Move your whole body and not just your spine.
- To make it easier and faster, make more small piles instead of a few big ones. The idea is you don't want to rake leaves farther than you have to. Depending on the amount of leaves, piles of 3-4 leaf garbage bags are good.
- Never get frustrated if your neighbor's leaves are blowing into your yard. Don't attempt revenge by tossing your leaf pile into their yard. Always make autumn raking fun for yourself - it only comes once a year.
- Get your children involved- let them do some of the raking with a small rake, or even let them collect some of the leaves (if not wet) with their hands. It's something very small in your eyes, but it will make them feel very helpful and grown-up! It also gives you a chance to spend time together, while doing something that needs to get done!"
Sound like a lot of work? If you're not in the mood to rake all day then contact us. We'll be happy to make sure your yard looks clean, neat, and gorgeous for any holiday visitors you may have this season. Have a fantastic weekend!