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How to Rake Leaves Using a Snow Shovel

How to rake leaves the easy way - using a shovel!

How to rake leaves the easy way - using a shovel!

Raking Leaves With a Snow Shovel

There is a season for everything and autumn is the season for the leaves changing color. While it is beautiful, these leaves wind up falling, and autumn becomes the season for raking leaves.

The season for a snow shovel is winter, but it can serve double duty if you bring it out in the fall as well.

Using a snow shovel to rake leaves may seem like an inefficient way to get things done. When you watch the video, you can see that while it may be fun, it doesn't seem to accomplish very much.

But there is a way to use a snow shovel to really help you get the leaves raked and bagged quickly and efficiently.

How to Pick Up Raked Leaves

After you rake leaves and put them all in a big pile or several smaller piles, eventually you have to pick them up and put them in a container. This always felt disgusting to me. The leaves may be wet if it recently rained. They usually have mold on them. You don't know what disgusting things might be in that pile. There may even be dog poop in the pile of leaves you have to pick up.

Even wearing gloves, there was a possibility that the leaves may touch my coat or get too close to my face.

Then, I saw someone who had a magnificent solution to this problem. He used a shovel! Why not get the shovel out early and have it start working before its season?

Use the shovel as a dustbin and the rake as a broom to pick up the leaves off the ground.

Use the shovel as a dustbin and the rake as a broom to pick up the leaves off the ground.

How to Use a Shovel to Rake Leaves

It is so easy to use a shovel for leaf raking. Use your normal method - a rake or a leaf blower - to get the leaves in one pile or several smaller piles.

I prefer to make a small pile, and pick it up, before moving to the next section. This way, if a gust of wind comes, all my work is not wasted.

There are three easy steps to picking up the leaves with a shovel:

  1. Hold the shovel with one hand, face up against the ground, and using it as a dustpan, use the other hand to rake the leaves into the shovel.
  2. Once you have a pile of leaves on the shovel, keep holding the rake against the shovel to keep the leaves there. Think of it as a leaf sandwich with your rake and shovel.
  3. Using both your hands, pick up the sandwich and hold it over the mouth of your container. Let the leaves go straight into the container. Yum.

These three steps can be done in one fluid motion once you get the hang of it.

Use the shovel to pack down the leaves in your yard waste container.

Use the shovel to pack down the leaves in your yard waste container.

Rake Leaves Without Touching Them

The bonus is that you can use the same shovel to pack down the leaves in your container without having to touch the leaves at all! Just stab the leaves in the container with a shovel.

Of course, if you are using leaf or lawn waste bags, you may break the bag with a shovel. In this case, I suggest closing the bag and sitting on top of the bag. This will tamp down the leaves without your having to touch them.

Using a Shovel to Pick Up Leaves

I get many looks from my neighbors when I bring the snow shovel out to rake leaves, but they are all impressed once they see how I use the snow shovel to gather the leaves and put them into my yard waste container. I am able to rake the leaves without getting my hands, the sleeves or any part of my coat dirty. It is quicker than using my hands to shovel the leaves into the yard waste container and quite easy once you get used to using two tools at the same time.

© 2013 Shasta Matova

Comments: "How to Rake Leaves Using a Shovel"

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on June 02, 2014:

Rozalyn, I'm glad to hear that I am not the only one. It does help to scoop up all those leaves and put them where they belong - in the yard trash recycle container or a truckbed.

Blond Logic, I can't imagine having to rake year round, hope it isn't the same volume as the fall ones. Snakes! eek.

Thank you both for the visits and comments.

Mary Wickison from Brazil on May 31, 2014:

I have a similar method I use a plastic trash can lid. I think I would really struggle to find a snow shovel here in the tropics but I like the idea.

We get leaves falling year round. I rake almost every day of the year, I wish I was kidding about this but I am not.

We also have the problem of snakes which like to hide beneath the leaves so I like to keep them picked up.

Let your neighbors stare I say, you have a great solution to a problem.

Rozalyn Winters on May 29, 2014:

Yep--I've done this. I thought I was weird for doing it, but it works. I'm glad to know that others have done it too! My yard has a lot of full-size, mature trees and the piles can get absolutely huge. The shovel comes in handy in moving and combining piles and scooping the leaves into bags or directly into the truck bed to take to our recycling center. It's good exercise, but I never look forward to fall! lol :-)

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on February 27, 2014:

Thanks ravenrage for your additional suggestion. I do like to use the lawn mower as much as possible to mulch the leaves. It is only when a whole bunch falls at the same time, as it especially did this year, that I rake them. I find that when the leaves get caught in the rake, I can scrape them off with the shovel.

John Fox from Richmond, VA on February 09, 2014:

I honestly never thought of that. That is a great idea as when I rake leaves most of the time all that happens is that the leaves just get torn up or caught in the rake itself and makes a huge mess. Another method I use though since I mainly have pine trees in my yard is that I use a riding lawn mower on a lower blade setting to just cut up the pine tags and that works really well too!

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on November 16, 2013:

Thanks Glimmer for the pin and comment. I hope this snow shovel trick of raking leaves helps you with the rest of the leaves this year, and with the full set of leaves next year!

Thanks Dianna. The trick is to use the snow shovel to help pick up the leaves after you have already raked them. It makes putting the leaves in the lawn bag or yard waste container much easier.

Dianna Mendez on November 14, 2013:

Your title drew me in as I am from the snowbelt and have never used a snowshovel for raking leaves. That little boy is pretty good at the job! Using a shovel is much safer for children, great idea.

Claudia Mitchell on November 14, 2013:

I needed to read this last weekend, although we still have a few trees with leaves on them. By this time of the year I am so sick of raking I could scream. This is a great idea. Pinned.

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on November 12, 2013:

Hi Crafty, our leaves came down all at once too this year. I am glad you already know this leaf raking trick. Putting them in a truck sounds easier than trying to put them into the mouth of a leaf bag, but I'm sure it gets harder as you go along.

Thanks Rose. It is efficient to rake and shovel the leaves in one smooth move.

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on November 12, 2013:

Hi Eugbug, I am sure there are other ways to handle the task of raking leaves. I haven't heard of a lifting fork, but the frake sounds interesting. You'd better make it fast now that you've made the idea public before someone else rakes in the profits!

Koralee, I am glad you thought of the idea so you could quickly rake up the leaves. A vacuum is a great idea if you have one, and for a large yard, it might be worth the investment.

GrandmaPearl, thank you for the idea of using a plastic tarp. That sounds like a great way to pick up the fall leaves too.

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on November 12, 2013:

Hi Bill, I am pleased that this article amused you. I hope it helps make raking leaves faster.

Hi Shelley, thanks. I hope this practical way to quickly pick up leaves will make this autumn task quick and easy.

Hi Kimberly, I am sure your snow shovel wants to come out and play, and if you don't get much snow, it might be getting lonely!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 11, 2013:

What an inspired idea! How useful to complete two tasks with a single tool. Thanks for sharing.

CraftytotheCore on November 10, 2013:

Great advice! We had a storm here on Friday. What a mess. All of the leaves came down all at once. They covered the roads and made a slick mess out of everything. I used to have a truck and that's exactly what I'd do, I'd back up my truck and pick up the leaves with a shovel and rake. Then I could dump them out of the truck bed. It does lessen the effort that it takes to rake leaves year after year.

Connie Smith from Southern Tier New York State on November 09, 2013:

We have never used a snow shovel to rake leaves, but it looks like a very efficient way to handle the seemingly never-ending task! We have used a plastic tarp though. Once we have a nice pile of leaves a little less than the width of the tarp, we push the leaves over onto the tarp and then fold the tarp like a burrito leaving one end open. That end gets tipped over into a large leaf bag. This works best when the leaves are dry. But I like your idea for wet leaves--we'll have to give that a try in the next few days. Thanks for sharing ;) Pearl

Voted Up++ and pinned

Koralee Phillips from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on November 08, 2013:

Raking leaves with a shovel is something I had never done until this past spring. I helped my friend rake leaves (and they weren't raked before the snow flew) so it was a mess.

She lives on a corner lot so it took us 2.5 hours. We started out using our hands, then it dawned on us how long it was going to take doing it that way. So we grabbed some shovels and it worked much better. We probably would have been doing it at least an hour longer.

My aunt uses a vacuum to suck them up. She told me that after the fact, so we didn't try that, but its something to think about for next year.

It was a great idea to write a hub on the topic :)

Eugene Brennan from Ireland on November 08, 2013:

Very interesting!, although I usually use a lifting fork, upside down, to do this. Unfortunately if the leaves are small, they pass between the prongs. So I have invented the "frake", a cross between a rake and fork, with prongs close together. Haven't made one so far , but its on my list of things to do.

Kimberly Schimmel from North Carolina, USA on November 08, 2013:

We get very little snow where I live, but lots and lots of leaves!

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 07, 2013:

Very creative but practical as well. Truly a unique hub with a suggestion that is timely. There are soooo many leaves, and anything that helps me with the task is welcome news.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 07, 2013:

LOL...I love this hub. In two years here I have never seen an article about raking leaves with a shovel, and for that reason alone I am grateful for this one. :) Well done my friend.