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5 Best Way To Pick Up Leaves [Selecting The Right Time And Tool]

Leaves, picturesque on branches and bane on lawns are perhaps the most significant indicators of what fall and autumn can bring forward. For many people, fall is perhaps the time to stay in a good mood, as the summer stickiness is gone and holidays are just about to knock.

Well, at the same time, this season comes with a major drawback for those who have a lush yard or garden outside their residential properties. This is the time when they need to dedicate many hours in picking up the huge amount of leaves fallen on the ground.

best way to pick up leaves

When leaves begin to fall, there are just two options for you to choose from for handling the waste foliage. First, let them reside on the ground. Second, pick them up and keep the ground clean.

Inherently, the first option is less likely to be your choice, provided you do not rely on wind to do the job on your behalf. So, for most of us, the second option is the most preferable one.

Fortunately, there is more than one way to pick up the foliage. The best way to do so is totally dependent upon your preferences and concerns. This post will share the 5 best ways to pick up leaves so that you can choose your most efficient way to clear your yard or lawn.

Selecting the Right Picking Tool

By selecting the most comfortable and efficient tool for picking up the leaves, you tend to make your task more manageable. Selecting the right tool again depends on a few critical factors such as the quantity of leaves to pick off, free time you have for this task, and ease of use. Let’s go through the available tool options!

Option 1: Lawn Mower for Mulching

Choose this tool and method of picking up leaves if leaves are scattered on the ground but they have not fully covered it. In this case, mulching with a lawn mower is the simplest approach. In case of a fully covered ground, mulching them with a mower is likely to leave behind a messy layer of sliced leaf pieces.

It is tough to take off these pieces, as they bunch together and are hard to break down. To mulch, connect the mulch plug and shut the side port from where the trimmed grasses tend to come out.

When you start pushing the mower, its motor and blades break the leaves into minute particles that fall on the ground for the microbes to further break them down. This is an ideal way to pick up leaves due to least effort and time required and a good nutritional value added to the lawn. You can also choose to attach a lawn sweeper to your mower for better performance.

Option 2: Lawn Mower Bag for Bagging/Mowing

This method is similar to mulching but replaces the mulch plug with the bag, an accessory associated with a lawn mower. So, the leaves do not go back on to the lawn but are gathered into the attached bag for easy dumping.

Here, you need to place the mower at its peak setting to prevent pulling of grass. Otherwise, the bag will be filled rapidly due to which you will have to empty it too frequently.

The only con is to empty the bag too many times in case of a fully covered lawn. If you do not have a dedicated space for dumping, it is essential to empty the bag into leaf bags. This transfer is perhaps the toughest part, as it is not easy to keep the leaf bag upright if it is windy.

A cool solution for this is to have a compost heap or a wooded area. The only effort here is to stroll back and forth from the point you stop the mower.

Option 3: Leaf Blower for Blowing into a Pile and Bagging

Go for this tool or method if your lawn or ground is completely covered or flooded with waste foliage.

First thing to take note of is to ensure that you are aware on how to blow leaves using the leaf blower.

Next is to decide on getting a quality leaf blower. The 2 most common leaf blowers are the backpack blowers and the handheld types. If you have a larger compound, the backpack blower will be the more preferred machine as mentioned in this article.

Leaf blowers are ideal for professionals, as they facilitate a quicker method for shifting lots of leaves at once. However, a few limitations tend to restrict their usage.

First, they are somewhat loud and make enough noise to anger others in your surrounding when the tool is in use. The high decibles generated from the leaf blower may also damage your hearing, and that’s why a proper ear protection is needed. Second, the more the power of a blower, the higher will be its price. Despite these two restrictions, leaf blowers are less stressful and less time-consuming way to pick up leaves.

A few blowers will be able to vacuum leaves and slice them into a bag. It is quite tempting to go for such a tool, as it is made especially for picking up leaves. However, most of these tools work well only with very dry leaves. Furthermore, they pick only a few leaves at a time. 

When you compare these blowers with lawn mowers, the latter ones are relatively more effective due to more robust engines and larger blades. Further, pushing a mower is more comfortable than grabbing a tool in your hand.

When you move ahead with a leaf blower, consider moving it in a semi-circle manner rather than going in a straight line. This will help the leaves go at one point so that a good pile is formed for easy picking up using a rake.

There is no need to keep the throttle pressed for ensuring full power the whole usage time. Just short air bursts will suffice! So, consider throttling up and down for gaining control over the direction in which the leaves go. This is a time-consuming and takes up lots of effort job. If there is wind, consider blowing in the direction of the wind.

Option 4: Rake for Bagging

This is the traditional way to pick up leaves using a rake. It involves picking up leaves, making their piles, and picking and dumping the same. This tool is only recommended for a small yard having a few trees. In case of a small yard, a blower can be an expensive tool. As rakes are quite affordable, raking is ideal.

In case of a yard that spans over one-third of an acre, raking consumes a lot of time and ends up giving you a painful back. So, many landscapers use a rake just for picking piles formed after moving a leaf blower.

Using this tool has many pros such as environment-friendly, affordable, and a weight-loss workout facilitator. Not only that, the traditional design and build of rakes have undergone a modern upliftment. The modern rakes come with an ergonomic design to reduce the risk of clogging and be lighter in weight.

Option 5: A Mix of Aforementioned Tools/Methods

It is a fact that more than one of the above methods or tools will be required to clear the lawn in most cases. Using only raking or blowing is not going to give 100% result.

One of the combinations includes using a blower or a rake to clear most of your yard area and then using a mower or a leaf mulcher for a final round to shred any meaning foliage and mulch them. This will nourish the soil and keep the lawn surface 100% tidy. Using a rototiller will also make your soil more compact and healthier.

Another combination can be using a blower to move the leaves to a dedicated area and then rake them once they are together for making heaps. Making neat piles using a blower is likely to be a time-consuming effort. You also may need wheelbarrows to help you transporting the dead leaves.

Determining the Right Time

You should also figure out the time when you will be handling this colossal task. Doing so depends on two things: Your schedule and your capability to handle the task in a span of one day.

Most people prefer waiting for all the leaves to cover the ground and then start the picking task at once. While it is the most ideal timing due to its high efficiency, it demands the most arduous manual efforts.

Taking the task during a weekend by putting some time is likely to make it easier for you, as the heap shall be a manageable size. If you wish to pick the leaves via mowing and mulching, it is better to do so regularly. This will prevent the growth of heaps and avert any kind of hurdle obstructing the sunlight reaching the grasses.

Furthermore, you should also consider the weather. Avoid picking up the leaves if it is going to rain, as rainwater will make the fallen foliage heavy. This, in turn, can make it tough for you to move them. Similarly, avoid the cleaning task on a windy day, as it becomes challenging for you to hold the waste foliage in one place.


Well, the best way to pick up leaves is reliant on your priority and choice, which are affected by the task size and available tools. However, it is worth knowing all the tools and methods so that you can pick the best one as per these factors.

    Jeremy Delores

    Jeremy is here to help you get the right tools and equipment for your yard and garden. Being obsessed with them for almost a decade, he knows how important quality and reliability is when using them. For this reason, he will focus on creating and sharing content that not only cover the latest information and trends but also his insights on the best products that will suit your needs and requirements.