Autumn Project: Turn Raked Leaves into Compost, Décor, and More


The colors of autumn leaves are exciting to see, but ultimately, all those leaves will start to fall. They will eventually form a dense mat in your yard or even on your roof. When left to their own devices, these leaves could clog your outdoor drains or gutters, requiring you to hire drain or roof-cleaning services eventually.

Typically, many homeowners would bring their rake and leaf blower out to deal with fallen leaves before they cause bigger issues. But instead of sending leaves to the landfill, consider recycling them into mulch and compost or upcycling them into a beautiful autumn decor. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Create a “lasagna garden”

Lasagna gardening refers to the method of adding layers of organic materials that will “cook down” over several weeks or months, resulting in nutrient-rich, fluffy soil that will help plants thrive. Those fall leaves could be an essential part of your lasagna garden. Simply place cardboard over a bed of weeds, wet this layer down, and then add layers of fallen leaves. Pretty soon, you will have a thriving soil ecosystem.

Insulate tender plants

If you have perennial plants that might not survive the winter outdoors, use fallen leaves to insulate them. Build a cage around each plant, add leaves in this area, and let these leaves help the plant endure winter. But only do this technique if you live in a place with a climate that is cold but not wet. Damp leaves will rot and might infect your tender plants.


Let leaves offer shelter to beneficial insects

Leaves beneath shrubs and in planting beds help provide shelter to beneficial insects. Let leaves stay in these areas until winter season ends and spring arrives. Warm spring days will wake insects from winter hibernation, and they will crawl or fly out of dead leaves to begin a new cycle and help your garden thrive.

Create décor and art projects

You can preserve those leaves that have fallen at the peak of their color. You can use them to create real fall wreaths or garlands. Want to have a nature-inspired design for your bowl or candle holder projects? Use dry leaves to create patterns or glue them for decoration. You can also use dry leaves as stuffing for a scarecrow or any yard figure you want to build this upcoming Halloween.

Offer bagged leaves to neighbors

If you are not a gardener or not interested in DIY projects, rake those leaves up, bag them, and offer them to your neighbors and friends who want to use them for mulch and compost. Also, consider reaching out to your local community to see if they have a recycling program that can collect your bagged leaves.

With these recycling and upcycling methods, you can stop sending leaves to the landfill while keeping your lawn neat and avoiding home maintenances issues that might require costly repairs or services. You can welcome winter and spring with a peace of mind that your yard or roof is free of damp and dead leaves.

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