Don’t Just Rake up Fall Leaves, Put Them to Work in Your Garden

Don't Just Rake up Fall Leaves, Put Them to Work in Your Garden
Fall is here, and with it, the hundreds of leaves falling in our yards and gardens. One important yard maintenance task not to forget is cleaning and clearing the area around your outdoor condenser unit to prevent it from getting clogged. But you don’t have to throw the leaves in the trash. Instead, try one of these fabulous ideas to make the most of the Fall leaves.

Get Raking

A leaf blower can be helpful when you have lots of leaves and need to get them cleared out quickly. However, if you have just a few leaves, it might be better to use a rake and sweep up the debris. That way, you avoid blowing the leaves around your yard or over other people’s property.

Image: a cat meme about raking.
Here are some handy tips for gathering fall leaves with a rake –

  • Use the right tool. If you have an old-fashioned metal rake with long tines and a handle that reaches almost to your knees, consider getting a new one. Modern plastic models with shorter handles are much easier on your back and less likely to bend under heavy loads.
  • Rake from the bottom up so that the weight of the pile doesn’t break down your rake’s tines prematurely.
  • Go after dry leaves first. Wet leaves are extra slippery and stick together more than dry ones, making it harder to rake smoothly.
  • Cleaning around your condenser as HVAC maintenance. Leaves can block the flow of air through your system, which will cause it to work harder and use more energy.

Create a Compost Heap

Composting is an excellent way to recycle your yard waste into beneficial fertilizer for your garden.

Gather leaves together in large piles where they can be left undisturbed for several months. Avoid collecting branches or other non-leafy materials, which can break down more slowly than leaves and result in an uneven compost mixture.

Don’t forget to water your leaf piles regularly (once or twice a week if possible) so that the leaves don’t dry out too much before they begin to decompose.

Finally, after two months of decomposing on their own, turn over your leaf piles to expose new surfaces for further decomposition.

Make Some Leaf Mold

When you have a pile of leaves and twigs to dispose of, try making leaf mold. Leaf mold is the end product of decaying leaves and twigs, eventually turning into soil. It’s great for your garden, as it contains many nutrients that help plants grow strong roots.

You can make leaf mold by simply piling up fallen leaves in a corner of your yard, then covering them with soil or mulch to protect them from rain and snow. The process can take some time — anywhere from three months to two years — but you’ll have some valuable soil ready to use in your garden beds when it’s done.

Create Mulch

If you have a pile of leaves in your yard, you can use them to make a natural mulch.

If you don’t have a leaf blower, rake the leaves into piles and then use your lawn mower to shred them. You’ll get an even finer mulch that way, but if you don’t have time for that, just rake them up and toss them into a pile.

Once they’re shredded, simply spread over your garden beds as needed.

Improve Your Lawn with Fallen Leaves

Leaves on your lawn can be beneficial. They help keep weeds down, add nutrients and provide a natural barrier against winter weather. If you have a large yard, it’s easy to rake up the leaves, but if you are like most homeowners with a small yard, this can be time-consuming and tedious work. So instead of raking them up, consider mowing them back into the lawn.

Image: a person caresses their lush lawn.
If you have a mulching feature on your mower, it’ll help chop up fallen leaves finely.

Turn Leaves into Art

Leaf art is a great way to use up some fallen leaves from your trees. Try turning the leaves into pictures. Paint your leaves, cut them out and glue them to paper to create an autumn collage, or use them as placemats on your table. You can also use leaves in place of flowers for floral arrangements and centerpieces.

Or why not try making leaf prints using the dry leaves and paint. Press the leaves onto paper and watch as the colors transfer over. The more pressure you apply, the darker the print will be. This is a great way to make decorations for your home at Thanksgiving or Christmas time. You can also use this technique on fabric or other materials to create unique clothing items.

Image: parchment paper with leaf and flower pressings.

Keep your Sacramento home cozy this winter by scheduling your annual HVAC maintenance for your furnace. Contact the professionals at Bell Bros for more information about keeping your HVAC system in top working order.