Research by Cornell Extension Service shows that raking your lawn is totally unnecessary. Just use a mulching mower (almost any gas or electric-powered mower will do) to chop the leaves into small pieces which will compost directly into the soil over the winter. Cornell’s research shows up to sixteen (more than a foot) inches of dried leaves can be added to the soil every year. This includes tough oak leaves, which break down very slowly unless they have been chopped up, and pine needles, which are less acidic than oak leaves. If your leaves are deep, you may have to mow twice to chop them all sufficiently small, but it’s still a lot less work than raking and much better for the environment than throwing leaves in the trash. By mulching, all the nutrients in the leaves go back into the soil where they’ll be available for the tree roots to take them up for future years.