How to Get Rid of Leaves on Lawn without Raking (7 Alternatives to Raking)

It’s that time of year again.

Fall has arrived and you’re starting to wonder how to get rid of leaves without raking.

Luckily, there are a few good options. The one you choose will depend on the size of your yard and how many leaves there are.

Let’s get into it.


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Quick Read

  • For a thin layer of leaves, your best option is to mow and leave the mulched leaves on the lawn to decompose naturally. This is relevant for all yard sizes.
  • For small yards and a thick layer of leaves, you’re better off mowing and collecting the leaves with the mower’s catcher and then using them as mulch elsewhere in your yard.
  • For large lawns with a thick layer of leaves, use either a lawn sweeper or vacuum.
  • Leaf blowers can be useful for around the house and driveway.

Top 7 Methods to Get Rid of Leaves without Raking

Let’s take a more detailed look at how to get rid of leaves without raking. These options aren’t listed in order, each has its pros and cons and suitability for different situations.

autumn leaves on green grass lawn

1. Mow and Leave

This option involves mowing your lawn without the catcher on your lawnmower and leaving the grass clippings mixed with leaves dispersed over your lawn.

The advantage of this method is that you don’t have to find a way to dispose of the leaves. The shredded leaves will naturally break down over time and provide a free and natural fertilizer for your lawn.

Just like mulching your lawn clippings, there are benefits to using leaves as mulch. Aside from providing fertilizer, researchers have found that leaving mulched leaves on an established lawn actually reduces the growth of dandelions. So it follows that this might be true for other weeds too.

This method works best if your grass is already short and the layer of leaves on your lawn isn’t too thick. If there are too many leaves, then even once they’ve been shredded by your lawnmower, they still run the risk of sticking together and preventing your lawn from getting the air and light it needs to remain healthy.

If you’re not sure whether you have too many leaves for this method to work well, try it out and then see what your lawn looks like afterwards. If you can still see plenty of grass showing through, then it’s probably fine. If not, then best remove some of them.

worker and red gas riding lawnmower with attached lawn bagger

2. Mow and Collect

Assuming you have too many leaves for the above method to be an option, mowing your lawn and collecting the leaves in your lawnmower’s catcher is by far the best way to remove leaves from your lawn without raking.

The reason for this is that since the leaves get shredded in the removal process, they are perfectly suited for using as mulch in other parts of your garden, or adding to your compost pile.

Whole leaves take much longer to break down and aren’t as helpful as they can stick together and form a mat that stops moisture, light and air from passing through.

Shredded leaves, on the other hand, break down quickly and make a perfect mulch that your yard will thank you for.

Lastly, chances are you already own or have access to a lawnmower which saves the time and money associated with purchasing and maintaining another piece of equipment.

3. Use a Leaf Blower

Leaf blowers are a good alternative to raking leaves on hard surfaces where mowing isn’t an option. For example, if leaves have gathered on your driveway or in hard-to-reach nooks and crannies around your property, a leaf blower can be a good way of herding them all into one area.

However, there are cons to leaf blowers. The gas-powered ones are very noisy and your neighbors will not thank you for carrying out this chore too often, or at antisocial hours. They also only do half the job, after all, you still have to decide what to do with the leaves once you’ve blown them into a pile.

Best case scenario, you use an electric leaf blower on a windless day and blow the leaves into an already established compost pile in the corner of your yard.

Ultimately, when it comes to leaf blowing versus raking, there are pros and cons to both and it ends up being a preference thing. If you decide to take this route, be sure to brush up on the different types of leaf blowers first.

working with leaf blower

4. Use a Lawn Vacuum

If you have a big yard and a lot of leaves then a lawn vacuum may be the most practical option.

Lawn vacuums suck up yard debris into a sack, eliminating the need to go through the bagging process yourself. They come as either hand-held, walk-behind or tow-behind models depending on the size of your yard.

Hand-held vacuums are an excellent choice for small yards or if you have leaves in places other than on your lawn that you also want to collect.

Walk-behind or tow-behind vacuums are great for larger lawns and will also collect other debris like small sticks and pine cones.

5. Use a Lawn Sweeper

A lawn sweeper is a good unpowered alternative to a lawn vacuum and the best way to get rid of leaves from large areas with other debris as well. Instead of sucking up the leaves, a sweeper uses a rotating rake to gather up the leaves into a collection bag.

Sweepers can also come as push models, similar to reel mowers, or tow-behind models. They have the advantage of being significantly quieter than vacuums and are a very effective way of getting rid of leaves without raking.

If you like this option, I have a great guide to lawn sweepers that you should definitely check out before getting started.

riding lawn tractor and sweeper

6. Leave Them Be

You might be surprised to see this option here, but it’s worth thinking about whether removing leaves is really essential in your individual situation. After all, if you don’t really need to then that’s one less chore to worry about!

If you have a cabin in the woods or by a lake, or you have a lot of trees on your property and the lawn underneath them isn’t really much of a lawn, there may be no real reason to collect the leaves.

The main reasons we collect leaves are:

  • a) to protect the health of the lawn
  • b) to prevent them from clogging up infrastructure like drains
  • c) aesthetic purposes.

If you’re not worried about what your lawn looks like and the leaves aren’t causing any problem, then letting nature run its course is an option. The leaves will eventually break down and return their nutrients to the ground.

7. Pay Someone Else

Last but not least, you might not be a fan of raking up leaves, but chances are the 10 year old next door would be happy to in exchange for your loose change.

Alternatively, there are contractors who already own the equipment listed above and who you can hire to tidy up the leaves on your property without needing to purchase the tools yourself.

If you’re new to lawn care and are wondering what tools you might need to purchase for future maintenance jobs, check out this article.


Hopefully, you’re no longer wondering how to get rid of leaves without raking and instead are feeling relieved that there are multiple alternatives.

If you liked this article and are keen for more tips on fall leaf removal, I have another article that you’ll find helpful.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, and happy leaf gathering!

Andy Gibson

My name's Gibson. Andy Gibson. I like to think of myself as the Bond of the backyard, that is if yard work ever became sexy. I write about everything about indoor and outdoor gardening and the dread-it-but-still-need-to-do-it chores around the yard, like cleaning out the gutter guards.

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