Leaf blowers provide a fast and efficient way of tidying your garden. You can clean the deck in minutes before entertaining, keep paths free of debris, and give the lawn a professional finish after you mow.
Getting the most from a leaf blower and minimising disturbance to your neighbours is all about how you use it. This guide helps you make the most of this tool so you can easily keep outdoor spaces looking neat and tidy.
When to use a leaf blower
Your average home leaf blower is not designed to push around large volumes of material. When you attempt to transport large piles of leaves or grass clippings with a blower, you will find yourself running the machine on full throttle for an extended time. As the pile gets bigger, the job becomes slower. There’s also a chance that the wind will blow the material back the way you’ve come. A domestic blower is best thought of as a finishing tool rather than one for bulk clean-ups.
The best approach is to loosely rake the bulk of leaves or grass clippings into piles. Put the collected piles into bins, add to your compost, use as garden mulch or, if your blower has a vacuum option, switch to that. Once the bulk of the material is gathered up, use your blower to bring the area to a neat finish.
Tips for faster and quieter cleaning
There are many simple techniques that will make using a leaf blower faster, more efficient and a whole lot quieter.
Break larger areas up into sections.Close nearby windows and doors to avoid dust and debris entering your home.
Prior to blowing, quickly go over the area and remove any large or heavy material such as twigs and branches.
Try to work with the wind.
For large areas or heavily debris-covered spaces where pre-raking isn’t possible, complete a section at a time – blow, collect, repeat.
Work an area in a cone-like pattern aiming to bring the blown material to a single collection point. Start wide and work progressively to a point.
Move your blower in a wide, sweeping motion, swinging it in front of you and pivoting the blower towards your collection point as you swing.
Collect piles as they build up.Avoid working directly towards walls or corners as material will be ejected upwards. Instead, work along walls and away from corners. If this can’t be avoided, run your blower progressively slower as you approach the wall to avoid creating an updraught.
Try to avoid blowing wet material. Apart from being hard to shift, you are likely to splatter dirt and muck onto surrounding surfaces.
Don’t try to blow-push along piles of leaves or lawn clippings. Collect piles as soon as they start to build up.
Use your blower across the full throttle range as needed. You don’t need to run flat-out all the time.
Turn your blower off when you stop to gather piles up.
Petrol versus battery power
Blowers have traditionally been petrol-driven machines. This is the primary reason they have a reputation for being noisy power tools. If you’re using a petrol machine, many of the tips above will help with reducing noise issues. But there is a blower choice that is quieter by design – battery-powered blowers.
Battery blowers have outputs comparable to petrol machines with distinct advantages.
Battery blowers are quieter in operation.
There’s no messing around with refuelling or needing a space to store fuel tins.
Blowers are ideal for areas that are difficult to rake.They are true grab-and-go machines with no warm-up time needed to achieve full power. You can go from zero to 100 at the flick of a switch.
They are lighter and easier to manoeuvre.
They are more compact and easier to store. As they won’t leak fuel, they can be stored standing up or even upside down.
They don’t need regular servicing and there are no parts to replace, such as sparkplugs or air filters.
Leaf blower safety
As with any power tool, it’s important to stick to safety guidelines.
Wear eye protection when using a leaf blower. Hearing protection is also essential for petrol machines but might not be required for many battery blowers.
Gloves are recommended to avoid injuries or bites when collecting material. If you have a petrol leaf blower and tend to run it for long sessions, look at using anti-vibration gloves.
Consider a dust mask in dry or dusty conditions.
Avoid using your leaf blower when others are nearby and never blow material towards people or animals.