A push lawn vacuum looks very much like a common power lawnmower with larger wheels and a generous enclosed catcher. It is used to vacuum leaves, twigs, small stones, wind-blown trash and other debris from the lawn. The debris is then cut into tiny pieces producing mulch that can be used or discarded as desired.
Anyone with deciduous trees knows the drudgery of fall when the yard is constantly covered with a bed of leaves. They blow into planters, patios and porches, and cover walkways and driveways. Using a leaf blower or even a lawn sweeper is not always practical and the leaves still have to be trashed, creating several bags of litter. If this scenario sounds familiar you might consider a lawn vacuum.
A lawn vacuum takes all the drudgery out of raking or blowing the leaves. Pushing it along is almost as easy as taking a stroll while it does all the work, sucking up leaves, mulching them, and packing the mulch into a bag. Once leaves have been mulched they make a great addition to soil in any planter. Mulched leaves help improve drainage no matter what type of soil, and they're full of nutrients. They also provide food for earthworms that are of great value in any garden. If the mulch is discarded it still fills far fewer bags than whole leaves.
Commercial or heavy-duty lawn vacuums attach to the back of lawn tractors or rider mowers to be pulled behind. The wagon-style container also houses the engine that provides the suction. A hose extends from the container to be attached underneath the mower or tractor. These vacuums perform the same function, collecting clippings, leaves and other debris with 5-10 times the pickup power of mower blades. They also mulch and bag and can collect a wider assortment of debris including wood shavings.
Walk-behind lawn vacuums start at about $300 (USD) while commercial or tow-variety models start at about $500.
For smaller yards or lesser needs, lawn sweepers are also available. Rather than using an engine to provide suction, sweepers are manually powered and use brushes to pick up leaves and debris. Sweepers do not perform a mulch function and cannot clean planters, but they can be used on driveways and walkways.