Nine tips that will save you time raking

Nine tips that will save you time raking
(Source: Bernadette Heier)

There are many benefits to raking leaves, but let’s face it: This isn’t everyone’s favorite chore.

Some folks think they’ll wait for a storm to blow their leaves into a neighbor’s yard, but that’s an optimistic — not realistic — way of looking at things.

The truth is, raking doesn’t just make your yard look good, it also prevents mold and diseases from developing in the grass if too many leaves pile up. And it helps grass return strong in the spring.

If you dread raking your lawn, try these tips to make the job more efficient and even fun!

1. Get the Gear

Before you get to work, you need to get the gear. Start with safety glasses, gloves and a dust mask.

Gloves will protect your hands from blistering during long raking sessions; safety glasses and the dust mask will come in handy if you’re sensitive to airborne particles.

2. Grab a Great Rake

There’s a difference between a good rake and a great rake. A good rake is cheap and gets the job done, but it may have limited features and may be uncomfortable to use. A great rake may cost a little more, but it’s versatile, durable and ergonomic, which will make the job more efficient.

AMES Tools' dual-tine, 26-inch rake is great for dethatching your yard and preventing clogs.

Its companion hand rake is perfect for clearing leaves from garden beds and other tight spaces.

Best of all? It covers up to 45 percent more ground in less time than other rakes. (So, they’ve thought of everything, and it gets results!)

3. Follow the Wind

The wind can be your friend — or foe — when it comes to raking leaves, so follow its lead before you pick up the rake.

Move leaves toward whichever direction the wind is blowing. This is much easier than working against Mother Nature and watching the wind blow away your hard work!

4. Use a Leaf Blower

Raking is a great way to clear your lawn and get some great upper-body exercise along the way, but it’s not the only way to collect leaves.

While a rake is a must for your lawn-and-garden arsenal, you also need to keep a cordless leaf blower in your shed.

You can lower the setting to move bulk leaves where you want them. Just remember to keep enough distance between the blower and the leaves — it’ll take some practicing to figure out the right amount, and there’s no time like the present to start!

5. Stomp as Needed

You may have planned an entire morning to rake leaves, but you now what they say: life happens when you’re busy making other plans!

If you have to take a phone call or step inside before you can dispose of the leaves, go ahead and stomp on the piles you’ve collected.

This isn’t just fun to do — it can help prevent most of those leaves from blowing away before you can return to the job.

Better yet? Get the kids involved!

6. Use a Tarp

Rolling a trash can around wherever you rake can be exhausting! But what if you had a magic carpet that could transport the leaves wherever you’d like?

Well, magic carpets only exist in fairytales, but fortunately, your local home center has the next best thing: a tarp!

Just rake them onto an inexpensive 10-by-10 tarp and drag the tarp wherever you’re going to dispose of the leaves.

Better yet? Staple wooden dowels on the ends of the tarp to create handles.

Then, all you have to do is rake the leaves onto the tarp, grab the handles and fold the tarp in half and easily dump the leaves into a garbage bag inside a trash can.

7. Scoop 'Em Up

So, you’ve raked the leaves and even blown some onto a tarp — that was easy enough, but how do you get everything into the trash can if you don’t have wooden dowels?

Simple: Grab a snow shovel, scoop up the leaves from the tarp and load them into the garbage can. This tip works even if you don’t live in an area where it snows!

Trust us: You’ll get plenty of use from the snow shovel, regardless of the climate, and a good one just costs about $30.

No snow shovel? You can always just transfer those leaves from the tarp to a wheelbarrow.

8. Bag 'Em

For some folks, collecting leaves isn’t the hard part; it’s getting them inside the trash can — specifically, the liner — that’s challenging.

First of all, make no mistake, you will need a trash can. Loading bunches of leaves into a flimsy plastic bag is just asking for trouble!

Second, you’ll need a trash can that you don’t mind modifying a little, and that you’ll only use for raking day.

Here’s what you’ll need to do: Cut the center out of the lid, insert the bag, and place the lid on top to keep the bag in place.

Then drill holes in the trash can to prevent suction when removing full bags.

Bagging leaves has never been more simple!

9. Make Some Mulch

Finally, it’s time to help the environment, which is easy to do if you reuse old leaves.

Want to make some mulch? Wear your safety glasses, grab your string trimmer and place it in the garbage can to quickly shred those leaves. Then spread the mulch into flower beds.

This is perfect whether you’re making mulch, creating compost or taking leaves to the landfill!

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