Washington State University Extension

Garden Tips


GARDEN TIPS – written by Marianne C. Ophardt
WSU Extension Faculty
for the Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, WA Written November 15, 2015

This past weekend when employing an ordinary garden rake to clean up the deluge of leaves that fell from my shade trees, I started thinking that there must be a better way. There must be some tools or gadgets that would make leaf cleanup less onerous.

While my inexpensive garden rake was doing a pretty good job, I wondered if there was a rake that could make the job even easier. I did a little research and came across the “Lee Valley Power Rake.” While “power” is in its name, the power comes from the gardener. This rake is designed to “glide back and forth across the ground” and only infrequently needs to be lifted, decreasing the stress on your back. Lee Valley points out that it does an impressive job raking leaves, grass clippings and yard waste. It has a 5′ fiberglass handle and a 24″ wide head made of high strength plastic. It is available exclusively from Lee Valley ( I may give it a try.

If I was a little less energetic, I might be tempted to seek out the self-propelled Bosch ALR 900 Electric Lawnraker. This is machine looks like lawn mower and has a 900W electric powerdrive motor. It folds for storage. A review on a British website says it is “suitable for small, medium, and large gardens.” Beneath the raker is a rotating 32 cm wide plastic drum that holds replaceable metal tines. When set at the highest setting, the tines rake up lawn debris that gets sucked into the 50 liter collection box at the back of the raker, much like a bag on a mower. Set at lower settings, the raker will remove lawn moss and thatch.

The review recommends the raker, indicating it has adequate torque to handle the tough jobs. However, I do not think it is for me because I suspect I would be emptying the relatively small collection box, a little under 2 cubic feet, every couple of minutes or less with all my leaves!

I will still need to rake my leaves the old-fashioned way. The real problem is picking them up after raking them into piles. My hands are pretty small, making each “pick-up” quite paltry. However, I do use two plastic dustpans to scoop up the leaves, making each scoopful more worthwhile. There are manufactured leaf scoops or claws designed specifically for picking up leaves. I like the looks of the Releaf Leaf Scoops that are ergonomically designed large plastic “claws” with large internal handholds and scoops at the tips. They tout that they turn little hands like mine into big bear paws. Super!

When cleaning up leaves or other yard waste, another great gadget is the Fiskars 30 Gallon (22-inch diameter) Hard Shell Bottom Kangaroo Garden Bag. This is a pop-up container made of canvas-like polyester. It has a hard plastic bottom and handles that make it easy to drag or haul around the yard. When picking up yard waste that is not going to be composted, I line the bag with a 30 gallon garbage bag. When its work is done, the garden bag easily collapses and stores flat. You can find a variety of leaf scoops and pop-up lawn bags, as well as the lawnraker at

Okay, I have procrastinated long enough. I must go tackle the rest of my leaves.

Garden Tips, WSU Extension, Benton County, 5600-E West Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336-1387, 509-735-3551, Contact Us

WSU Extension, Franklin County, 1016 North 4th Ave, Pasco, WA 99301-3706, 509-545-3511, Contact Us
© 2017 Washington State University | Accessibility | Policies | Copyright | Log in