How to Rake Leaves

Three Methods:Working Safely and EfficientlyDeciding When to RakeDressing for the Job

Raking your lawn is a necessary task when the leaves start to fall. However, there are some things that you can do to make the job easier on yourself, such as getting a quality rake and using the proper body position. You can also make the task easier by waiting until the right time to rake and wearing the proper gear for the job. By combining these techniques, your yard will be leaf free in no time.

Method 1
Working Safely and Efficiently

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    Use a quality rake. Many people have an old rake in the tool shed, but an older rake may not be as efficient as a new one. To make raking more efficient, invest in a quality rake.[1]
    • Look for a rake that has an ergonomic handle and that is lightweight. This will help to reduce the strain on your back.
    • Choosing a rake that has a wide end will also help to ensure that you can rake up as many leaves a possible with every sweep.
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    Position your body properly. Proper body positioning is also essential to successful raking. Some things to keep in mind when you rake include:[2]
    • Your hand positions. When you hold the rake, grasp it with both hands and change your hand positions now and then as you rake.
    • Your knees. Keep your knees slightly bent. Try not to bend too far forward at the waist.
    • Your movement. It is helpful to move backwards as you rake. Try to rake the leaves towards you as you walk backwards.
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    Transport your leaves with a tarp. You can also save time and energy by raking your leaves onto a tarp, sheet, or canvas cloth. Before you begin raking, lay out a tarp or other large piece of material on the ground. Then, begin raking the leaves onto the tarp.[3]
    • Rake one area of your yard until the tarp is full, then drag the tarp to your main pile.
    • If you prefer, you can also rake your leaves directly into bags. Then, you can transport the bags to a mulch pile or other disposal area.
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    Stomp on your pile. As you rake leaves onto the tarp or into bags, make sure that you stomp them down now and then. This will help to ensure that you have plenty of room for all of your leaves.[4]
    • To stomp on your leaves, simply step on them or put one foot into the leaf bag to stomp them down.
    • If you are using bags, just try to avoid filling the bags too full. You should still be able to pick the bags up easily.[5]

Method 2
Deciding When to Rake

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    Wait for all the leaves to fall. It is a good idea to wait until all of the leaves have fallen to begin raking. Raking too soon in the season may be a wasted effort. If there are more leaves on the trees, then more leaves will fall.[6]
    • Watch the trees to determine when they are mostly or completely bare. Then, start your raking.
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    Mow early fall leaves into your lawn. In early fall, there might not be enough leaves on the ground to justify raking your whole lawn. However, if you have some early fall leaves that are bothering you, then you can mow them into your lawn. This will help to give your lawn extra nutrients and save you some time.[7]
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    Choose a calm day to rake. Windy conditions will make raking more difficult. If possible, wait for a calm day to do your raking. However, if you have to rake on a windy day, then try to rake the leaves with the wind and not against it.[8]
    • For example, you could place your pile on the side of the yard that the wind is blowing towards. Then, rake all of your leaves in that direction.
  4. 4
    Ensure that the leaves are dry. Check the leaves for dampness before you begin raking. If the leaves are wet, then they will be harder to rake. They will also weigh down the bags or other containers that you put them in, which will make it harder for you to move them.[9]
    • To make your job a little easier, wait until the leaves are dry to start raking them. Watch the weather and check the leaves before you get started.

Method 3
Dressing for the Job

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    Wear gloves. Holding the handle of the rake can cause blisters on your hands. Your hands may also get dirty from picking up leaves from your pile and placing them into bags. To protect your hands, make sure that you wear a pair of heavy duty canvas or leather work gloves.[10]
    • You can find these gloves at any home improvement store.
  2. 2
    Put on some closed toed shoes. Rakes can hurt if you drag them across your foot. There may also be insects and other small creatures hiding in your yard. To protect yourself from injury and bites, make sure that you are wearing a pair of closed toed shoes.[11]
    • Work boots are a good choice for doing yard work.
  3. 3
    Wear long sleeves and pants. Wearing long sleeves and pants is also a good idea when you are doing yard work. Even if the weather is not cold yet, there may be insects, snakes, and other small creatures lurking in your yard. Wearing long pants and long sleeves will help to protect you from bites.[12]
    • A pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt is a good choice for raking leaves.
    • You can wear a jacket and a hat too if the weather is cold.
  4. 4
    Use a mask if you have allergies. If you will be mulching your leaves or if you have allergies, then you may want to wear a mask over your face. This will help to protect you from breathing in the dust and allergens released as you rake and mulch your leaves.[13]
    • You can find a mask at a home improvement store.


  • Fallen leaves make exceptional material for compost or mulch. If you have the choice, compost them or spread them on the area that will become next year's garden.
  • Switch the rake to the other side now and then and take breaks, especially if you haven't raked since last fall.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Tarp, sheet, or canvas cloth
  • Bags for collecting leaves
  • Gloves
  • Long sleeved shirt
  • Long pants
  • Closed toed shoes
  • Lawn mower

Article Info

Categories: Gardening