In front of silver lining is a cloud. The trees in your yard ablaze with fall color — reds, yellows, shades of gold — will soon be a major source of litter, dumping brown leaves on your well-manicured lawn. Leaves you’ve got to clean up.
Depending on the size of your property — and the tree canopy that rises above it — raking leaves is one of those annual chores that can suck up an entire Saturday afternoon. Time better spent fly-fishing, hiking, watching college football or driving through the countryside looking at other trees turning color.
This is a classic time vs. money conundrum.
A 30-inch leaf rake will cost you less than $15, but raking and bagging a yard full of leaves could kill an entire weekend. On the plus side, you’ll be able to skip the gym that day. You’ll burn about 300 calories an hour doing yard work.
A leaf blower, many of which double as a vacuum, will speed things along. But you’ll spend at least $40 for an electric leaf blower highly rated by Consumer Reports. A gasoline-powered rig will cost $100 or more. And if you start too early — hoping to catch kick-off, say — you’re certain to alienate your neighbors and how do you put a price on that?
Hiring a professional — or the kid down the street — means you don’t have any capital equipment costs, as well as a free afternoon. But it may cost more than you think. Many landscaping companies offer leaf-cleaning services — they already have blowers and rakes, after all.
One Atlanta company specializes in leaf clean up and removal. Fairbanks Property Services runs a seasonal operations called PickUpMyLeaves.com, using vacuum truck to suck up leaves raked to the curb. The company offers a variety of services. They will remove leaves you rake to the curb or they will blow and rake your yard and remove the leaves. The full service will cost most homeowners $180. Bigger jobs may cost more.
If you’re struggling to pay the cable Internet bill, you obviously need to spend time instead of money on your yard. But if you have money budgeted for luxuries, what greater luxury is there than time?