It’s time for one of everyone’s favorite fall activities, raking leaves!  Kidding, but seriously it’s a dirty job and someone’s gotta do it!  We know it’s not the most ideal way to spend a beautiful fall afternoon, but hopefully these tips will make the process as quick and painless as possible.

  • Don’t begin raking until your grass stops growing, if you still need to mow your lawn, the lawn mower will break up the leaves that have already fallen, which is good for the grass.
  • Make sure you’re wearing the proper attire to rake.  Long layers are best and will protect you from getting cut up by stray sticks or branches.  You’ll also want to be sure you have gloves on.  Blisters are a very common injury resulting from raking,  gloves will stop those but they also provide some extra protection from dirt, sticks and bugs when you’re picking up the leaves.
  • You also want to make sure you have a reliable rake that won’t make the process longer.  A sturdy rake with wide tines will help you rake more leaves at a time which is a big help, and you won’t have to stop to clean it out as frequently.
  • Try to rake on a day that isn’t too windy, otherwise you’ll be raking and re-raking the same leaves over and over.  If it does happen to be windy while you’re raking, keep the wind direction in mind and try to keep your back to it so that you’re not raking leaves into the wind, otherwise the leaves will blow right back at you.
  • Wet leaves are heavier than dry ones, if you know it is going to rain the day you plan to rake, try to get to the leaves either before it rains or after it has stopped raining and the leaves have dried out.  Not only are the leaves heavier when wet, they will likely have mud or dirt all over them and make the process of raking that much more unpleasant and messy.
  • Avoid back pain by moving around frequently and avoid twisting around to rake from different angles.  Move your feet and when you pick up the leaves lift with your legs not your back.
  • Remember, you don’t necessarily need to rake every leaf off of your lawn.  Leaves that get stuck under trees or bushes can actually be a good thing because they eventually break down and provide nutrients to the soil and roots in the area.  It’s the same way leaves that are broken down by your mower can actually benefit your lawn, leaves make great compost materials as well.
  • If you have a leaf blower, it will make this job a lot easier, just be sure to wear ear protection.  Those machines can be extremely loud and if you’re right next to one for a long period of time without ear muffs it could potentially cause some damage or at the very least leave your ears ringing.
  • Try to gage how much work it will be and how long it will take to rake up your yard.  Depending on the size of your yard, you may want to break up your raking sessions into a few different weekends so you’re not overloaded with too much for one day.  If you have a smaller yard or a lot of people that are willing to help you rake, it might be easier to wait until the end of peak foliage season once the majority of leaves have fallen so that you don’t have to rake multiple times.  Figure out what scenario would be better for you, it will make the job much easier.
  • Don’t forget, raking leaves is some serious cardio so make sure that you drink plenty of fluids and try to stretch your muscles out before and after, otherwise you might be dealing with a few aches and pains the next day!

Although raking is not an easy task, these tips should lighten the load!  Try and get as many family members and friends to help as possible, many hands make for light work not to mention it would be much more fun!  Happy raking!

Photo By: Sue Talbert Photography