The value of your home means more than simply how much money it's worth. Aesthetics count, too. Your home should provide an enjoyable living space for you and your family inside and outside. During fall, keeping the outside of your home attractive includes keeping the yard free of leaves. A leaf free yard also increases the safety of your home since the falling leaves, although pretty, create a fire hazard. Piles of leaves also provide the perfect hiding place for snakes. Clumps and piles of wet leaves open your yard to mold, mildew and rot. Clearing your yard of leaves remains one of the easiest ways to avoid all of these fall problems and the easiest tool for this remains a leaf blower. Properly used, an electric- or gas-powered leaf blower provides a quick, easy, safe way to rid your yard of leaves.
Put Safety First
Everyone involved in your yard cleaning project should wear proper attire and safety items to avoid injury. The leaf blower move leaves and other yard debris at high velocity. Necessary safety items include:
- safety goggles or glasses to protect the eyes. These cost about $10 to $15 a pair.
- soft foam ear plugs or earmuff-style ear protection. Ear plugs cost about $4 for a 3-pack; protective earmuffs cost about $15 to $20.
- heavy-duty work gloves. These cost about $3 to $5 a pair.
- long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
Only point the blower end of the tool at the leaves or ground debris. Never point the tool at people or pets. Avoid using leaf blowers on bare dirt, dusty surfaces and gravel driveways to reduce potentially hazardous debris blowing and dust clouds.
The Best Time to Leaf Blow
A combination of city ordinances, weather and manners decides your specific best time to leaf blow the yard. Check with your city planning office to find out if there's an ordinance limiting the hours of operation of power tools. While dry leaves blow easily, wet leaves do not. Don't try to clean the yard the day after a rain. Let the leaves dry first. Pick the driest, least windy day you can. If you see the next door neighbors outside enjoying their yard or entertaining outdoors, wait until they're inside to maintain your yard. For your safety and the safety of all those around you, don't use a leaf blower after applying fertilizer, herbicides or pesticides. Wait a week or two at least. It's better to leaf blow the yard first, then apply such items.
Proper Leaf Blowing Technique
As with any power tool, there's a technique for gaining the best results. Note, some of these may be a little different for a backpack leaf blower as they are usually more powerful and allow you to blow the leaves further away. You can easily make your yard look like pros did the job by following a few simple guidelines.
- Work with the wind. The breeze helps direct the leaves so long as you work with it.
- Section the yard into small, workable areas.
- Begin at one edge of your yard and blow debris to the middle of the lawn. Target the areas beneath bushes, shrubs, and trees as you go.
- Create a debris pile for each section of the yard instead of trying to herd all the leaves into a single massive pile.
- Turn the blower's setting to the lowest when moving grass clippings or leaves from a sidewalk, walkway or hard-surface driveway. Debris travels more easily on these smooth surfaces and a lower setting provides you more control.
- If your city pickups loose leaves, direct them onto a tarp or old sheet. Pull the ends of the tarp together and you have an easy way to transport them to curbside.
- If your city requires leaves bagged, you can fill these by hand, pick them up using a rake, or use the vacuum mode on your leaf blower, if it has this feature.