Introduction: Tarp Leaf Bagging System

Picture of Tarp Leaf Bagging System

Picking up leaves with a lawn mower can be a hassle if you have a big yard and lots of leaves. You need to do it pretty much every day if you want to keep up otherwise there are too many leaves on the ground, they clog up your bagger tube and fill up the bags too quickly.

We used to mow, rake, or blow the leaves into piles, then rake them onto a tarp, use a rope to cinch up one end of the tarp, use the lawn mower to pull it (or pull it by hand) to the area where we dump our leaves. That method is ok, but you need a few people to help rake, transport, and unload the leaves to keep it a somewhat pleasant experience ;)

The new and improved way is making a giant bag out of two 6 by 8 feet tarps attached to the lawn mower. Now one person can pick up leaves and complete a larger area before emptying the bag.

Step 1: Materials

What you use will depend on your lawn mower and what you already have around.

two tarps. I used 6 by 8 foot tarps
duck tape
bungee cord
zip ties
pvc pipe or conduit
piece of wood

Step 2: Make the Giant Bag

Picture of Make the Giant Bag

Start by placing one tarp on top of the other. Use zip ties to connect the tarps through their grommets. Then use duct tape to tape the 3 sides, leaving about an inch between the pieces of tape to allow air through. Be sure to only connect the corners and 3 sides, you are making a giant bag or pillow case, 3 sides are sealed and one is left open.

Step 3: Bag Support

Picture of Bag Support

Now you need to have something to attach the bag to the lawn mower.

We left the rack for the regular bags on the lawn mower, extended it and added a support for the tube with conduit and a piece of wood.

We zip tied a piece of conduit to the existing rack for the bags. Then used a block of wood and some 90 degree pieces of conduit to support the tube. The wood is attached to the conduit with screws.

Step 4: Attaching Bag

Picture of Attaching Bag

The open side of the bag is attached at one corner to the tube with a bungee cord. Then it is closed and secured to the conduit support with rope. The rope is threaded through the grommets in the tarps and wrapped around the conduit. Extra holes were added along the tarps with duct tape reinforcement.

Step 5: Ready to Use!

Picture of Ready to Use!

Your leaf bag is now ready to use! If you're going through lots of leaves, raise the mower deck up and go slowly. When it is time to empty, just remove the bag and empty it, Then reattach and do it all over again.

Please vote for this instructable in the Winterize contest! Thank you!


Nate5b (author)2016-05-20

Yes! Awesome lawn hack!

Rahdzhillaxxx (author)2015-04-13

I had to put new blades on my deck but I finally got it to work. Even the soggy wet leaves left from last fall that I didn't get to.

rachl009 (author)Rahdzhillaxxx2015-04-13


grovich777 (author)2015-01-29

wonderful invention!

antoniraj (author)2015-01-16

Good idea... I could have used all those fallen leaves as bio-fuel. Please see my instructable here using weeds to generate gas as well get compost

russ.holster (author)2015-01-03

This is the most awesome idea I've seen on here yet!

rachl009 (author)russ.holster2015-01-03


jarekdziubas (author)2014-11-21

Really amazing, you are great!!!

rachl009 (author)jarekdziubas2014-11-21

Thank you!! :D

BharathB1 (author)2014-11-14

Instead of this bag, why don't u try a mesh type of bag which can keep the leaves inside the mesh bag. In that way , the bag will be free of air space inside.

Anyways, the idea is great. :)

BharathB1 (author)2014-11-14

Instead of this bag, why don't u try a mesh type of bag which can keep the leaves inside the mesh bag. In that way , the bag will be free of air space inside.

Anyways, the idea is great. :)

addinar (author)2014-11-13

Please note that you can still use these mulched leaves in the compost pile, they aren't necessarily hauled away. you can even dump them and much them again to make the composting quicker.

I own a expensive leaf collector system and it is just sitting in my backyard because the engine on the blower has carburation problems. This eleminates that concern.

lkuziez9680 (author)2014-11-09

I love this idea and plan to make it soon to avoid manually raking my backyard :) Great job!

rachl009 (author)lkuziez96802014-11-09

Thank you!

lkuziez9680 (author)2014-11-09

I love this idea and plan to make it soon to avoid manually raking my backyard :) Great job!

david.miller.12532 (author)2014-10-30

how or where do I get the pipe that goes from the mower deck to the bag?

It's the one that came with the lawn mower. So if you don't have one you'd probably have to order one for your specific mower.

hammermomma (author)2014-10-29

Brilliant! My only suggestion is try using Gorilla tape instead of the grey stuff. It'll last longer and can re-use the bag next year.

amy.b.petersen.9 (author)2014-10-26

Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's got my vote only I can't find the place to vote!

upper right corner of this page :)


Thanks! You should be able to vote now!

deltafour (author)2014-10-29




I'm going to "steal" your idea

callhow (author)2014-10-29

Simple - very inexpensive - efficient ! I like it! Have a suggestion: You might

consider making (skis) or lightweight sheet metal (skid pan) so you don't

"wear out" the lower/bottom of bag - from dragging on the ground. Your process

will last much longer. - AHNauss

Squash (author)2014-10-28

I need something like this for a push mower. Hopefully, one day I'll have a rider but until then, I'm thinking of ideas for what I already have. Thanks.

Squash (author)Squash2014-10-28


racoontnn (author)2014-10-28

Весьма дельное приспособление для райдера. Для больших участков - это просто находка. Даже для моего участка (а участок газона у меня всего 15 соток), это было бы весьма полезное приспособление. К сожалению, нет у меня райдера...

Squash (author)racoontnn2014-10-28

English version thanks to Google ;) :

Very sensible adaptation to
the rider. For large areas - is a godsend. Even for my site (a patch of
lawn in my entire 15 acres), it would be a very useful device.
Unfortunately, I have no rider ...

spiderstones (author)2014-10-28

could you tell me is it easy to unload the hassle?

rachl009 (author)spiderstones2014-10-28

It's no big hassle to unload.

spiderstones (author)rachl0092014-10-28

Thanks....good idea....I was looking at a leaf pickup system ...very expensive........

AJH532 (author)2014-10-28

What a great idea! I'm definitely inspired...and it looks pretty easy to make. Thank you!

ooohlaa (author)2014-10-28

this is so fab! I only have a powered walk behind mower, wonder if a smaller version of this could be adapted to where the small mulcher bag goes now ... it gets filled up too quickly so i never use it ??? Wondering if the mower would get caught in it making turns and moving around the yard. Worth a try. I just purchased an expensive Harbor Freight chipper shredder and it is wonderful for all sorts of things also.

rachl009 (author)ooohlaa2014-10-28

I hear all about Harbor Freight online, but I've never been to one, aren't any around me.

ooohlaa (author)rachl0092014-10-28

oh too bad ... did you check the store locater? of course you can purchase on line and sometimes they have great promotions.

TinKicker (author)2014-10-26

That's really great! Heh, beats the stuffing out of buying the lawn vacuum system from the company that's been sending me hour-long DVD's and full color brochures for about three years $2000 for that system!

Fantastic job!

Tarps that size are like $5 at the local Big Lots :D

rachl009 (author)TinKicker2014-10-28

Waaay less than $2000! Thanks for the comment!

KJ4ZVQ (author)2014-10-26


rachl009 (author)KJ4ZVQ2014-10-28

Thank you!

warehouse32 (author)2014-10-26


rachl009 (author)warehouse322014-10-28

Thank you!

SparkySolar (author)2014-10-26

Thank you for this nice Instructable. I like it


rachl009 (author)SparkySolar2014-10-28

Thank you for the kind words!

dukejohn (author)2014-10-26

Nice ...idea.. ( wish I thought of it) I have an additional idea for you that will make less trips for you emptying your large tarp bag and also make the leaf mulch "compost" more quickly. ....

...Buy & install the "Gator Blades" ( absolutely no affiliation) these will grind the leaves up into smaller bits & pieces. Mow your lawn once with the Gator Blades on and NO BAG installed. (close your mower deck so the mulching gator blades simply grind & chop the leaves).

Step 2... Put your "tarp bag" back on & do your thing.. You will make 1/4 the amount of trips to the compost pile & your leaves will be that much closer to breaking down.

John L

rachl009 (author)dukejohn2014-10-28

That is a good idea, thanks!

Todd Gehris (author)2014-10-26

That's great.

rachl009 (author)Todd Gehris2014-10-28


hugh_atkins (author)2014-10-26

That is the poop! Great idea, a time saver and so simple. I wish I had more trees now!

rachl009 (author)hugh_atkins2014-10-28

Thank you!

Ultra-Indigo (author)2014-10-27

that is da best! I just got inspired.

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