sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

6 Tips for Cleaning Up Fall Leaves in Your Yard

By Kevin Jefferson December 06, 2021 Lifestyle

When the fall comes, your list of chores gets another item added to it – cleaning up fall leaves in your yard. Some people find that task relaxing or even fun. But if you are in the vast majority that sees this as just another monotonous thing that you must do, here is a series of tips to help you make the job easier.

Get the Suitable Rakes for the Job

Let’s start with the basics. That means that your first step should be getting suitable rakes. When it comes to raking up your yard, size does matter – the larger the rakes, the smaller the job will be.

The good news is that you can get rakes up to 30 inches wide. Some even come with “no clog” technology, which means that you won’t have to stop and unclog the rake as the tines won’t skewer leaves. These are the right tools for the job, but that is just the beginning.

If you are serious about cleaning up fall leaves in your yard, you will have to deploy some technology.

Use a Leaf Blower with a Tarp

Let’s face it, not many women over 60 would go around their yard with a leaf blower – although, why not? If you don’t think you can do the job yourself, you can definitely hire some help.

If, however, you’re up to the task, you will need to get yourself some proper gear for dealing with fallen leaves. Getting a high-quality leaf blower should be the number one thing on your shopping list. You can also rent a blower for a day if you don’t want to make space for it year-round.

A leaf blower is an ideal tool for getting leaves off the walls, driveways, and larger areas. Put a large tarp on the ground and blow leaves onto it for easy disposal. Once the tarp is full, simply drag it to the disposal area. If the load is too heavy, make sure to get some help.

Some leaf blowers also have a vacuum function. If the model you choose doesn’t work that way, consider buying a separate leaf vacuum. It is the ideal tool for sucking up leaves, small twigs, and other debris and grinding it into mulch. Use a leaf vacuum for all those hard-to-reach areas, such as around shrubs or flower beds.

Keep in mind that things like large twigs and rocks can damage the impeller, so make sure that there aren’t any in your lawn before you start vacuuming.

If you do not have an easy way to dispose of the leaves and debris, move on to the next step.

Use a Lawn Mower

At a glance, this suggestion might seem outrageous, but it’s not. After all, leaves fall off the trees before the winter comes for a reason.

Fallen leaves can protect the plants from a harsh winter. They can also return the nutrients that the trees have absorbed during the summer to the soil to use them again.

The easiest way to help nature do its thing is by taking a plain old gas-powered lawn mower and mowing your leaves into tiny pieces. Just remember to set it at the highest possible deck height.

Before firing up the lawn mower, ensure that the leaf layer is not deeper than four inches. Then, you should be able to get it all done in a single pass.

Also, start mowing the fallen leaves when they are slightly damp from the morning dew. This will make the whole process smoother, and the leaves won’t fly across the yard as they will have some weight.

Remember to Clean the Gutters

Before the fall brings in heavy rains, you should ensure that your gutters are clean.

Clean the gutter sprouts before the blockage does any significant damage to them. For this job, your ordinary plumber’s snake is the perfect tool. It should be all that you need to pull the clumps of wet leaves from your downspouts.

When it comes to cleaning the roof itself, if it is steep enough, you should be able to pull the leaves off with a broom with an extension. Or better yet, use a roof rake. For flatter roofs, your trusted leaf blower should do the job.

Remember that gutter guards do work and consider installing them. They are solid guards that cover all of the gutters, save for a tiny space that is wide enough to let the rainwater go through. They work on almost any type and size of gutter.

Your cheaper alternative would be to get screened gutter guards that are not completely solid, but these do not work so well as small debris can still get through. However, they might be all you need depending on where you live and your local climate.

Compost the Leaves

As stated above, there are many ways that nature benefits from fallen leaves, and you can reap those benefits too.

If you simply leave the pieces on the lawn, they will act as fertilizer and feed your grass during the winter. Then, when spring comes, those pieces will no longer be visible, and your grass will return looking more vibrant and healthier than ever.

Alternatively, you can spread the chopped leaves over your perineal beds. There they will serve as winter mulch. In addition, as the leaves break down during the winter, they will serve as nutrients that feed the soil. They are also equally beneficial to any newly-planted bulbs and other plants that might be sensitive to frost.

Suppose you have a vegetable garden, mix the chopped leaves with the soil. Then, in the spring, the surface will be clump-free and more manageable even so you can sow seeds.

Do not use these leaves near rock garden plants or put them close to the Mediterranean species such as lavender, as they might rot.

Do Not Ignore This Chore

While it might be tempting to skip cleaning up leaves altogether, don’t do it.

Raking and cleaning up your yard is something that you must do if you want your garden to look lush and luxurious the following year.

If you simply let the leaves rot on the ground, your lawn will not get enough sunshine. This is the perfect environment for all sorts of unwanted bacteria and pests to grow and prosper.

So if you don’t deal with your lawn in time, it will be patchy and less healthy when the spring comes.

Have you cleaned up the leaves in your yard? Did you use a rake or something else? Have you hired someone to clean your yard for you?

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Author

Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son. He has both thoroughly enjoyed the process and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house (the other half has been waiting for spring). You can read more of Kevin’s work on

You Might Also Like