It’s time for raking leaves, pruning shrubbery, and other seasonal fall lawn care tasks.

Never has the old adage “work smarter, not harder” been more apt than when tackling yard work and preparing lawns for next season.

“After a long summer mowing lawns, many people lose enthusiasm for lawn care when fall hits,” says Bob Monahan, creator of the EZ Lawn & Garden product line, and a former frustrated leaf-raker looking for cost-effective ways to make yard work easier.

“There are several tips to streamline yard work — from knowing the best time to pull weeds to using the right equipment to make tasks simpler,” he says.

Here are some smart ways to handle fall lawn care:

Be Body Smart

Good posture can prevent backaches when raking leaves. Keep your head up and back straight. Relieve back pressure by raking using the “scissors” stance: whereby you place one foot forward and the other back, reversing position after several minutes.

When mowing, move the mower with your body weight as much as possible, rather than relying on your arms and back.

And use ergonomically designed rakes, shears and pruners that require less hand strength than traditional ones.

Rake and Haul Easily

Put away the loud, smelly leaf blower. Nothing is worse than raking leaves on a windy day, only to have them blown around.

Try an easier approach.

Rake leaves onto a tarpaulin and drag it away. One innovative tarp solution is the EZ Leaf Hauler, which has been dubbed the “giant dustpan for leaves.” It’s a modified tarp with sides that holds up to five wheelbarrows of yard debris. Stakes are attached and can be pressed into the ground to hold it in place on windy days. Approved by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, it uses tent construction technology to form sides and a back, and has reinforced pockets and stitched handles for easy hauling and dumping.

And if you already have a tarp, you can easily clip handles to it to make it easier to haul when full of leaves. For example, the EZ Tarp Tugger is a low-cost option that combines handles with stakes, so you can keep your tarp in place and then pull it away when it is full of debris to bag or compost.

Remember, dragging leaves away is easier on your back and environmentally friendly.

Weed Wisely

Weeding can be made less painful if you adhere to the old gardener’s trick of weeding after it rains. When earth is dry, it’s harder to pull out the whole weed without breaking off the top. After rainfall, the ground is damp, making it easier to pluck out entire weeds.

This way, weeds can easily be added to leaves and other debris that need to be hauled away.

More information on innovative tools for raking, hauling and bagging yard debris can be found at www.ezlawnandgarden.com.

Remember, fall is your last chance to put your lawn in order before next season’s warm weather.