Although brightly colored leaves add beauty to lawns during the fall, homeowners often find them annoying. Too many leaves falling in one area can kill a lawn, so homeowners must take up this time-consuming task. Vacuuming leaves is easier than raking them, but leaf vacuums are often expensive. However, you can make your own leaf vacuum out of your lawnmower or even build a vacuum if you have the skills without spending as much as you would on a commercial leaf vacuum.
Lawn vacuums pick up leaves and pine needles from the ground. If you have a lot of trees in your yard, a vacuum is a more efficient solution than raking the leaves, as you may have a lot of ground to cover. If you raked the leaves, you'd have to spend time and energy moving the leaves from underneath each tree, and if you have a large backyard, this could take hours.
Lawn Mower Model
You may be able to convert your existing lawn mower into a yard vacuum that works similarly to the vacuum cleaner you use inside your home. Attach a grass-catching bag to your lawnmower and set the lawnmower to the highest setting possible so that it will catch leaves instead of grass. Use your lawnmower as usual -- it will vacuum the leaves and put them in the grass-catching bag.
If you have some mechanical skills, it's possible to build a homemade yard vacuum that not only sucks up leaves, but shreds them. This type of machine saves you time, as you would have to dispose of the leaves somehow anyway. You may be able to make your own machine for a couple hundred dollars or less rather than spending hundreds of dollars on a commercially made leaf shredding machine.
If you build your own lawn vacuum, you have to install a square piece of metal under the blades. If you don't do this, rocks, sticks and other debris can get under the blades as you are vacuuming your lawn. This can destroy the blades altogether, and the expense of replacing blades adds up over time. The square piece of metal catches debris so that the blades stay intact.
Jack Ori has been a writer since 2009. He has worked with clients in the legal, financial and nonprofit industries, as well as contributed self-help articles to various publications.