A leaf blower is most effective for gathering leaves into large piles, to be removed with a tarp or by hand. Don’t expect to blow every last leaf off your lawn with a leaf blower. That can be quite tedious. Plan to follow up with a leaf rake at the end to get the stragglers.
Eye protection is an absolute must when operating a leaf blower, which blows stuff around at high velocity.
The vacuum mode of a leaf blower is best reserved for smaller and less accessible jobs, where a leaf rake would be difficult to use. Use it for leaves that have been trapped around rocks, at the bases of fences, or in the tight spots around your house. It’s also handy for getting leaves off your deck, or for removing small amounts of dirt and grass clippings from your drive.
Dry leaves are easier to remove with a blower than wet leaves. If you aim your blower at a leaf pile and it barely budges, it's probably too wet and you should reschedule this chore. If you can, remove your leaves on a day when the wind is blowing in the direction you want them to go, or on a day that is still. You’ll find that doing otherwise is seriously counter-productive.
Decide where you want your leaves to ultimately land. Place a tarp or old bedsheet at that point. You'll be able to easily move the leaves to your compost heap.
Work in one direction to avoid blowing leaves into an area you’ve already worked through.
Hold the blower at your side and point the front end at the ground at a shallow angle. Use a smooth back-and-forth motion as you walk slowly with the leaf blower in front of you.
Leaf blowers work best on flimsy debris like fallen leaves and grass clippings. But there are other uses for your blower:
- Blow light snow off a walkway or car.
- Clean gutters.
- Chase cobwebs from eaves and outbuilding rafters.
- Disperse water pooled on your driveway/patio.
- Remove lint from a dryer vent exhaust with the vacuum mode.