Texas Living

How to Rake Leaves Like a Pro

By Peter Simek 10.16.17

Raking up a leaf pile: It’s a rite of passage, an iconic American tradition, an annual chore that may either conjure dreamy memories of autumn play or the childhood trauma of hours spent enduring backbreaking, never-ending, seemingly futile labor. Why bother? After all, the trees got along just fine before humans came along and started raking up their leaves.

It’s Worth It

For homeowners, there are many good reasons to keep your yard clear of fallen leaves each year. Clearing leaves away from the foundation of your home, where they can trap moisture, helps protect your foundation and staves off rot. Leaves can also attract insects. That means keeping piles of dead leaves away from the edges of your home — and preventing them from accumulating against or underneath your home — will help prevent against termite and carpenter ant infestations.

It’s also important to clean leaves out of your gutters when it rains to protect your home from potentially dangerous accumulation of water.

In other words, those beautiful trees shading your home may mean you’re going to be stuck on leaf duty this year. But what if the problem with raking is that you have been making it harder for yourself all these years? Could there be a better way to rake leaves?

Get Creative

There are more ways to have fun with leaf-raking than just jumping in the piles.

Eccentric leaf-raking techniques enjoy their own subculture on the internet. This year, you may want to try out some leaf-raking hacks, like one demonstrated in a video that received more than 9 million views, which shows a man using a wide piece of flat cardboard to simply bulldoze his leaves off his green lawn in seconds. Another YouTuber explores more elaborate leaf-raking techniques, such as attaching PVC piping to a Shop-Vac to suck leaves from gutters, using a recycling bin to scoop up leaves like a dustpan, and reconfiguring a portable fan as a makeshift leaf blower.

Make the Job Easier on Yourself

But you don’t need to start pulling household appliances into your yard to rake like a pro. In fact, the best way to rake leaves comes down to following a few commonsense, low-tech tips that can make the job less arduous and grueling.

  • Work with the wind; if you want the leaves to go in one direction and the wind wants them to go in the other, you’re going to be out there for a while.
  • Save time by holding off until the last leaves have fallen into the yard.
  • Rake when it’s dry.
  • Treat yourself to a new rake if your old one is looking rattly; sometimes those few extra bucks can save you a lot of effort.
  • If you have a lot of land to cover and you want to get powered up with your raking, there are new tools out there — such as power rakes and push-mower leaf collectors – that can change your game.
  • Try a mulching mower, which can break down leaves as you cut the grass and bag them automatically on the spot.
  • Rake into small piles on plastic and drag them to a larger compost for easier transport and less lifting.

Whatever techniques you choose to try out, remember the reward at the end — a clean yard and safe home. And then there is the oldest and most effective leaf-raking technique in the book: Gather up your children to help (the lure of jumping in the leaf piles is usually enough incentive). 

Once you’ve gotten your yard prepped for fall, it’s time to start thinking about winter. Take this quiz to make sure your house is ready for the changing season. Does your homeowners policy need to be updated? Call your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent today to discuss any changes or updates you may need for the season ahead.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. 

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