I tried these 4 methods to get rid of leaves – this one tool came out on top

It was time to regain control over my yard, but which method was most effective? I tried them all, so you don't have to

Fall leaves in a garden
(Image credit: GettyImages)

In all its fiery color, I will admit that fall brings its challenges to my backyard. As much as I enjoy its changing palette, I have a habit of allowing the fallen leaves to get somewhat out of control. 

After weeks of falling leaves, I decided I could not leave my fall garden untouched any longer. Naturally, as with all tedious jobs, I set out to find the fastest way to get it done efficiently – not least because I will have to go through the process again before the season is out. So, I tried the four most common methods to see what worked best in my yard.

I confess that my yard is moderately sized, so while my favorite method works best for me, you may have a preferred outcome. Here's everything I learned. 

4 methods to get rid of leaves – and the one I loved the most

My favorite way to get rid of leaves is the most traditional method of all: raking. Despite the unavoidable time it took to complete, it was the cheapest and most therapeutic. 

Fall leaves in a garden

(Image credit: Alamy)

1. A rake

As the most conventional leaf-removal method, raking was a natural place to start. However, I think there's a reason why it endures as the most popular. 

While I admit that this method took most of my afternoon (and it definitely felt like the biggest workout), I found it the easiest to navigate – by quite a long way. I chose this rake from Amazon, which I do recommend, but if you have a particularly heavy leaf fall, it might be worth investing in a bigger size. 

Though the process was time-consuming, it was also the most inexpensive. And, by the end, I was very happy just to spend time in my garden – surrounded by my favorite plants for fall color. Therefore, if your yard isn't too expansive and you're not against a deadline, I would recommend raking above the rest. 

2. A leaf blower

I will admit that I had the opportunity to borrow a leaf blower that inevitably cut down its expense. However, using the appliance was more stressful than the rake because of its noise. 

The blower was certainly powerful, and it got the job done significantly quicker than the rake – so if you're against the clock, this is the best option. Though, having neighbors close to my vicinity made me cautious of using the blower for a prolonged period (because it's certainly not something I would want to hear for a great deal of time on a Saturday).

In conclusion, I can see the appeal of a leaf blower. And I am sure I could change my mind one day if I'm faced with more leaves on my lawn. However, for my current garden, the blower was not the best option.

Fall leaves in a garden

(Image credit: Alamy)

3. A mulcher

Much like the leaf blower, I can see the attraction to a mulcher. If you've read up on how to make compost, you may know that a mulcher is a great way to make compost that will benefit your garden long after fall concludes. Again, I was able to borrow a mulcher, but I was keen to keep an open mind about the pros and cons with a typical price in the equation –  and once again –  the rake remained my favorite. 

Even with the price aside, I found the mulcher was quite heavy to maneuver around my lawn, and it was equally hard to store after I finished getting rid of the leaves. However, the process itself was quick (just like the blower), and I was left with lots of mulch to benefit my winter garden ideas when the time comes. 

Fall leaves in a garden

(Image credit: GettyImages)

4. Composting 

While I haven't yet seen the benefits of composting in all its glory, I can already see my compost pile starting to break down, and I am sure that nature will run its course soon. And after learning more about leaf mold, I am sure I won't have too long to wait. 

Like raking, composting was time-consuming, and I was warned online that it may invite pests into my yard. However, I am yet to face any pests (that I know of), and the pile doesn't bother me, so it's a method I may try again in the future (if no pests come in the meantime, that is).

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.