I'm a new first-time homebuyer who needs to clean out my gutters. They are jammed with fall leaves. My home inspector told me to get a ladder and a leaf blower to do the job. The only problem is that the ground around my home is not level. It slopes away from the house on both sides where gutters are, most steeply in the back but somewhat in the front. Is there a way that I can safely place my extension ladder? I heard using a piece of plywood to create a flat surface might work - other good options?

  • if it's sloping away from the house, that's OK, as long as the ground is parallel to the roof (provided it's not too steep). Also, consider being a good neighbor and NOT buying a leaf blower. ;)
    – DA01
    Nov 6, 2011 at 5:12
  • @DA01 - all the neighbors have leaf blowers (it's a very wooded neighborhood), so I'm not sure that using rakes on the leaves and our hands to scoop junk out of the gutters will make us better neighbors in this case.
    – justkt
    Nov 7, 2011 at 1:18
  • "all the neighbors have leaf blowers" hmm. I'd be moving. ;) Jay is right though, a leaf blower probably won't do much good up in the gutters.
    – DA01
    Nov 7, 2011 at 1:54
  • DO NOT use a leaf blower to clean the gutters!
    – Tester101
    Nov 7, 2011 at 13:06
  • 1
    @justkt If you use a leaf blower to clean the gutters, you will likely achieve 2 things. 1.) a big mess. 2.) a trip to the hospital, when you fall from the ladder. Maneuvering a leaf blower from a ladder will be awkward, and can easily put you off balance and in a good position to fall.
    – Tester101
    Nov 7, 2011 at 13:12

2 Answers 2


It may be easier to find one place where you can safely place the ladder so that you can get onto the roof. Once you are there you can remove the leaves. Of course this depends on the how steep the roof is and your comfort level of being on the roof vs being on a ladder.

Unless you plan to buy a leaf blower anyway, make sure there are only dry leaves in the gutters. If they're full of decomposing leaves, you'll have to scoop out the gunk and a leaf blower isn't going to cut it.

  • While the last homeowner told us he did it from the roof, the pitch is steep enough that it's actually more comfortable going up the ladder (although there is a section of the house where a deck makes it only about a 7 foot climb to the roof).
    – justkt
    Nov 7, 2011 at 14:02

I would try to dig a flat spot for each leg of the ladder, but if landscaping does not allow, then attach a sturdy rope to the base of the ladder and then to something sturdy on the house at ground level. That way if the ground does give way under the ladder base, the ropes will keep the ladder from continuing to slide down the hill. Consider two ropes in a "V" shape attached to two anchors. I don't know what OSHA would say about this, but I've seen it in action a few times.

I don't think either is a convenient way to repeatedly move a ladder to clean gutters, and I would consider a telescoping wand gutter cleaner (used with water) or maybe you could rig one up with PVC like this guy except larger diameter and attaching to the leaf blower or the blow port of a shop vac.

  • Other solutions: gutter covers, iRobot's Luge (in most cases I think the covers are a better answer) ...
    – keshlam
    Sep 12, 2015 at 0:06

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