Scenic on the branch but a scourge on the lawn, leaves present the best and worst of what autumn has to offer. When they start to fall, you have two options: let them be or make them disappear. The first option does not generally sit well with neighbors who stand to inherit the dead foliage if the wind picks up. The second option takes work no matter how you slice it. Lucky for you, there are a few different ways to get the job done. The best way to pick up leaves depends on your situation and priorities.
Huffing and Puffing
There’s always the old-fashioned way. Raking your lawn has several upsides: it’s cheap, environmentally friendly and it’s a serious workout. If you choose to go this route, you will be happy to hear that there have been advances in the design of the rake and beyond. Rakes these days are ergonomically designed to be lighter and less prone to clogging, and there are new tools available like leaf scoopers that can keep you from getting your hands too dirty.
Blow Your House Down
Leaf blowers are a favorite among professional landscapers because they provide a relatively fast method for moving lots of leaves at once. There are a few downsides though. For those concerned with angering the neighbors, this is about as loud a way to clean up as you can get. Also, there are numerous blower models out there, and if you want to get one powerful enough to actually do the job, you’ll probably have to drop a pretty penny for it. Still, combined with a nice size tarp for leaf collection and removal, leaf blowers are certainly a less strenuous and quicker way to go than rolling up your sleeves with a rake.
Mowing and Mulching
Finally, you have several blade-related options. The nice thing about pulverized leaves is that they can be reused to feed the lawn as is or as a compost base, much like nature intended. If using a lawnmower, set the blade height as close to the ground as possible. Short grass holds on to fewer leaves, and the lower setting grabs what leaves remain. Not all mowers are equally adept at mulching, so it’s something to keep in mind when you’re shopping around. Generally speaking, these mowers do quite nicely.
Buying a mulcher separately is also an option, but like the blower, it’ll cost you. It’s possible to add a collection bag to capture the mulch for composting, but leaving it to nourish the turf as it’s cut saves time and energy.
In the end, the best way to pick up leaves is a personal choice based on resources and the size of the job. But it’s certainly nice to know you’ve got plenty of options.
Check out all the lawn and garden products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on the best way to pick up leaves, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photos courtesy of Blair Lampe
Blair Lampe is a New York-based professional mechanic, blogger, theater technician, and speechwriter. In her downtime she enjoys backpacking wherever her boots will carry her, rock climbing, experimental theatre, a crisp rosé , and showering love on her 2001 Sierra truck.