How to Avoid Raking & Bagging Leaves

The hot, hot heat of summer is behind you. There is a crispness in the air as you step outside to go to work. Perhaps you can even justify wearing a light jacket for the morning! The school buses are taking children back to school, football season is in full swing, and Halloween decorations are popping up around the neighborhood. What isn’t there to love about fall?

Raking up and bagging leaves, that’s what.

Most would agree that leaves are kinda pretty when they change colors, and it can even be a cathartic experience to hear leaves crinkle as you stroll down the sidewalk. But when it’s your responsibility to rid your yard of leaves, you would just as soon set the yard ablaze.

How can you avoid spending your free time disposing of leaves this fall? Here are a few ideas to keep you on the couch instead of the lawn this season.

  • Totally obvious solution: have someone else to do it for you. Neighborhood kids are always looking to make a quick buck. For a normal sized city lot, a pair of 15-year-olds could have the job done in two hours flat and may happily take $20 as payment. Professionals will no doubt do a better job, but will charge much more.
  • Have someone else do it as a form of punishment, blackmail, or payback. “Dick, remember how you didn’t want Marcie to find out about your little strip club trip? Well, the secret is safe with me if you get rid of these leaves from my yard!”
  • Lay down some sort of giant net (or series of smaller nets) on the lawn, so when the leaves fall, you can easily just roll up the net and dispose of it all at once! Nets are hard to see so they won’t be a major eyesore.
  • Don’t have a net but like the idea of just rolling them up? Just lay down a big tarp to catch the leaves. Sure, it will look awful at first, but soon the leaves will be covering the tarp and no one will even know it’s there.
  • Mow the leaves. Got a lawn mower with a mulch bag? Just do a once-over on the lawn, stopping to empty the leaves whenever it gets full. You’re not going to get all the leaves, but it’s better than nothing.
  • Blow the leaves into the street, curb, or neighboring property. Get out the old leaf blower and let ‘er rip! Your neighbors might not love it, but at least it’s not totally your problem any longer. If someone raises a fit, blow the leaves down the gutter.
  • Burn the leaves. It should go without saying that you’d first need to rake all the leaves into a pile, so it’s not foolproof. But once you have that pile and you are 100% certain the fire perimeter can be contained to only the leaf pile, it is okay to burn. Be sure to check with your city for burning restrictions.
  • Sell the leaves. Put an ad on Craigslist, selling leaves for a bag a dollar. “Bring your own bag and take as many as you like!” Now, who the heck would buy your leaves? No one. Except maybe your ad would be so funny it would go viral, and people really would start coming over to take your leaves as appreciation for your cleverness. Claim the leaves are special somehow, like they were blessed by an angel, or a celebrity like Jane Seymour had rolled around in them.
  • If the leaves fell off a tree that was outside your property, ask the tree’s owner to clean them up. Oftentimes a tree limb will extend from a neighbor’s lawn onto your lawn. “Brent, I caught that damn tree of yours leaving a mess in my yard again! I swear, the next time you don’t bag up your tree’s mess, I’m writing a letter to the city!”
  • Wait for Mother Nature to take them away. Is there a windy day in the forecast? Maybe the wind will just take care of the work for you.
  • Wait for it to snow. Snow will cover the leaves as well. But it’s just delaying the job come springtime, and your grass could suffocate.
  • Just don’t do it. Leave the leaves be. Ignore the problem. There are more important things in the world than a tree leaf sitting on some grass.
  • Prevent leaves from falling in the first place. This is more of a tip for next year, but if you truly hate leaf bagging, then don’t have trees! Cut them down and save yourself the headache. You can get shade from other methods, like wearing a hat.

In the end, however, you’re probably going to wind up having to just give in and rake and bag like normal. Leaves have been falling off trees since the time dinosaurs walked the earth. If there was a great way to avoid leaf bagging, it would probably have been invented by now. The only way around is having someone else do it, or using one of the aforementioned hacks.

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My Hot Take:
I maintain that I could easily get one full bag of leaves out of my yard every day of the calendar year. We have lots of trees and live on a spacious corner lot, and it just never ends. I’ve always done it myself, but that net idea really intrigues me.

Get out of bagging up your leaves by having someone (or something) else do it for you.

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