Home & Garden

10 essential tools to make yardwork easier this fall

Work smarter, not harder.

Picking up leaves with the Gardease leaf scoop and Toro leaf blower Credit: Gardease / Toro

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It’s fall, the time of year when all the hard work you put into your lawn and garden gets buried in piles of leaves. We’ve already helped you avoid common lawn mistakes folks tend to make in the fall, so here are some essential tools to help your yard thrive all season long.

1. A rake for moving heavy leaves

Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar

A quality rake will be the best tool you can own this fall.

If you have falling leaves, you need a rake. Even if you use a leaf blower to clean up 95% of your leaves, you’re still going to get wet leaves stuck in awkward places. A rake can also come in handy to spread a winter mulch of grass clippings, leaves, compost, or manure so it will be ready to plant in the spring. When we tested the best rakes on the market, the Truper Tru Tough 24-inch Leaf Rake came out on top for its lightweight design and comfortable grip.

Get the Truper Tru Tough 24-inch Leaf Rake at Amazon for $42.40

2. An adjustable rake for tight spaces

glorya rake
Credit: Glorya

For maneuvering in tight spaces, find a rake that can expand or get narrow depending on the job.

For clearing leaves out from under shrubs or next to the downspout, the Glorya adjustable telescoping rake is the ticket. It adjusts from 15” to 63” long, and down to 11” wide, so you’ll be able to clear out debris from just about anywhere in your yard.

Get the Glorya leaf rake at Amazon for $11.99

3. A leaf blower that won’t annoy your neighbors

leaf blower
Credit: Toro

Leaf blowers can be noisy at times, but they're usually the most efficient way to get rid of leaves.

Leaf blowers make lawn and garden clean-up easier—but they’re also noisy, and can damage both your hearing and your relationships with your neighbors. Electric and battery-powered leaf blowers are a little quieter than the gas versions, with a lower-pitched noise that isn’t as irritating as liquid-fuel two-stroke motors. They also don’t have the smell or require the maintenance of gasoline engines.

The Toro PoweJjet F700 gets praise for being powerful, lightweight, and a lot quieter than gas blowers. Remember to buy a three-prong outdoor extension cord that reaches to the edge of your yard.

Get the Toro PowerJet F700 at The Home Depot for $56.97

4. A shovel to move your leaf piles

Rakes are for raking, not for lifting leaves! Use your rake as a shovel to scoop leaves into a yard waste bag, and you’ll just end up with a broken rake.

To get leaves into a leaf bag, wheelbarrow, or compost pile, use a snow shovel. They’re
designed for lifting and scooping heavy, wet snow, and are far sturdier than rakes. Plus, you’ll probably remember where to find it when the first snow comes in a month or two.

When we tested snow shovels, we found the Forest Hill Homeowner Aluminum Scoop Shovel to be a great all-purpose shovel for leaves, snow, dirt, mulch, and anything else you have around.

Get the Forest Hill Homeowner Aluminum Scoop Shovel at Amazon for $64.99

5. A leaf scoop for getting leaves into yard bags

leaf scoop
Credit: Gardease

As practical as they are fun to look at, these leaf scoopers can make pick-up a breeze, and save your rake from bearing the weight of the leaves.

If you don’t need a snow shovel—or your back isn’t up to shoveling—you can try plastic leaf scoops. They’re big plastic mitts that turn your hands into giant paws for grabbing and carrying leaves. They’re a fun way to move leaves into leaf bags, or throw them at your little brother.

Get the Gardease ReLeaf Leaf Scoops at Amazon for $28.95

6. A tarp for moving leaves around the yard

tarp leaves
Credit: Getty Images / Justin Smith

Dragging a tarp of leaves is sometimes the easiest way to get them from point A to B.

The easiest way to move leaves around in your yard is to use a tarp. Put the tarp on the ground and rake your leaves onto it. Fold the tarp’s corners to the middle, grasp the corners, and drag the leaf-filled tarp wherever you want it. You can also use a rolled-up tarp as a funnel to guide leaves into bags.

Get the Everbilt Green Heavy Duty Drawstring Tarp at The Home Depot for $14.27

7. A garden cart for hauling

garden cart
Credit: Siena

Hauling lawn scraps (or any summer toys that need putting away) is easy in this garden cart that folds up for easy storage.

For more complicated yards where dragging a tarp could damage plants, path lighting, or poorly-positioned garden gnomes, the Seina foldable garden cart is a lightweight alternative for pulling leaves around.
Get the Siena Portable Folding Outdoor Garden Cart at The Home Depot for $68.81

8. Yard waste bags

Home Depot yard bags
Credit: The Home Depot

These compostable yard waste bags are perfect for keeping leaves contained.

If your town collects leaves, you’re going to need leaf bags. These 30-gallon yard waste bags are accepted by communities that compost yard waste—and you can get a pack of five for less than $3.

Get The Home Depot Paper Lawn and Leaf Bags for $2.47

9. Gear for planting spring bulbs

planting bulbs
Credit: Fiskars / Lewis Tools

To get a jump start on planting bulbs for the spring, use a tool that will make digging holes easier.

You can plant spring bulbs and garlic up until the time the ground freezes, or until you get tired of digging holes over, and over, and over again. There are a couple of good options to make the process a little less tedious.

If you’re planting five to 20 bulbs, the Fiskars Hori Hori soil knife, with inches and centimeters marked on the blade, will help you dig deep, narrow holes just the right size for planting, and just the right depth for your crocus, daffodils, and tulips.

If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, and planting dozens of bulbs, get the Tools for Life 9 in. Roto Driller Garden Auger by Lewis Tools. It attaches to an electric drill to dig holes up to 7” deep—as long as your drill stays charged.

If you’d rather not spend your gardening day on your hands and knees, the ProPlugger 5-in-1 Lawn Tool and Garden Tool is the tool for you. It’s simply a 32”-long pipe with footrests and a handle. Step on it, and it will punch a hole in the ground from 2” to 6” deep. Turn it outside down, and the clot of soil pops back out. The ProPlugger only does one thing, but it does it very, very well.

10. Pruners for fall clean-up

Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Fiskars pruning shears performed well and provided an excellent value.

Fall is the time to remove leaves, stems, and branches of plants that are diseased, like peony or lilac stems with powdery mildew, or tomatoes with early blight. To prune deceased and damaged branches in the fall, get a sharp pair of pruning shears, and wipe the blades with a little alcohol between cuts to avoid spreading diseases from plant to plant. After testing 10 oof the best pruning shears out there, we found the Fiskars Softgrip Bypass Pruner to be the best value pick as they could make clean cuts through stems branches up to ¾” thick.

Be careful with pruning spring-blooming shrubs, though; it’s easy to prune off all the spring buds in the fall. And leave the leaves on your garden beds to provide free mulch to nourish your plants, prevent early spring weeds, and help pollinators. Butterflies, moths, and native bees lay their eggs on the flower and shrub stems; cut them down, and you’re cutting next year’s butterflies.

Get the Fiskars Softgrip Bypass Pruner at Amazon for $15.99

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