When the leaves on the trees start to change color, it can be one of the most beautiful times of the year. Unfortunately, there is no stopping this gorgeous plant matter from hitting the ground and turning your once pristine yard into a massive project.
Yes, leaves can be annoying. However, they can also be enjoyable. It’s all about perspective!
With that being said, we have come up with 15 different ways for you to use leaves this Fall. Some of them may be a bit obvious, but we admit most are pretty clever.
Yes, sometimes, you just need to rake them.
The simplest thing you can do with leaves is rake them into large piles, put them in bags, and leave them out for the trash collectors to pick up. This is the least fun, least useful, and least economical way to use your leaves. We had to add it to the list because it’s an option, but not a great one. The only good news about raking is that it is a great exercise.
Jumping in a great big pile of leaves is an experience every person should have in their lifetime. If you never got the change to jump into a large pile of leaves as a kid, we suggest you try it.
As an adult, you may want to give it a try in the backyard to avoid any strange looks from the neighbors.
As a bonus, rake your leaves into large piles all over the yard and set up an obstacle course for the kids (or yourself). Even better, have them help you gather them first so that you get a little bit of assistance.
Jumping in a pile of leaves is a great sensory experience for kids and one that they will always remember about the Fall.
Leaves are a great starting point for several different craft projects. You can make leaf rubbings or use them as part of a wreath you are making. There is a tremendous amount of intricacy and detail on leaves that can easily be used to make your home more beautiful.
Try using a bit of paint and making leaf prints for a fall addition to your inside décor.
Although it may seem a bit lazy to just mow right over your leaves, you are actually helping your grass out a lot!
By mulching the leaves, you are leaving organic material in your grass that will help it grow and thrive. Make sure your mower blade is sharp, and it’s best when the leaves are not wet.
One thing to note — your grass still needs some room to breathe. Do not completely cover it with mulched leaves.
Vegetable Garden Paths
In the winter and early Spring, your vegetable garden paths are bound to be muddy and difficult to get through. You can prepare for this in the Fall by placing leaves down the paths of your garden and setting yourself up for a much less muddy Spring.
If you don’t have a spot in your yard for a compost pile, find one!
Great soil is very expensive. Having a place where you can create your soil that is rich in nutrients is a great benefit to any gardener. After finding a spot for the pile, you can add leaves, other plant material, even some leftover vegetables or fruit peels.
Around Thanksgiving time is probably when the majority of your leaves will decide to come down. You can use the leaves you collect from your yard to make some beautiful tablescapes for your holiday meal.
To make a proper scarecrow, you must stuff it with a lot of leaves!
Simply dig out some landscaping bags or an old pair of overalls. It won’t be as effective unless it looks like an actual person and leaves helps your scarecrow “fill out”.
Sometimes you will want to get leaves out of your plant beds, and other times you will want to put them in. If you happen to mow over your leave and use the bag attachment on your mower, you can disperse those leaves in your flower beds. The mulched leaves will help to increase the nutrients in the soil!
Prep Beds For Next Season
Similar to mulching the beds with the leaves, you can also use them to prep some of your planting beds for next season. Take some of your leaves and mix them in with the current soil. Try and turn the ground over a few times, and it will help to incorporate the leaves. As the leaves breakdown, they will leave plenty of great benefits behind.
Some plants that will be exposed all winter may like a little extra blanket to keep them warmer. You can put a layer of leaves around the base of your plants to keep the temperatures at least a bit more regulated for them.
Weed Barrier For Spring Plantings
Leaving a layer of leaves in your plant bed during the winter will help give you a head start when it comes to Spring weed removal. As the weeds start to pop up in the Spring, you can remove the leaves and put in whatever type of weed control you usually use. Give yourself a break over the colder months and keep those beds covered with leaves.
Letting a leaf dry out between the pages of a book can be an excellent project for children or a wonderful craft for an adult. When the leaves are dehydrated, you can frame them as prints around your home. Saving a leaf from a particular tree or special place can be a great souvenir.
Use Them For Fall Photos
If you are not a professional photographer, you can still get professional looking photos. And the Fall is a great time to do it!
You can rake leaves into piles and have the kids sit in them. You can also have the kids lay in the leaves and take pictures from above. There are many ways to get creative with the Fall photo-shoot and use leaves as a perfect background.
Can your kids tell you what types of leaves you have in your yard?
Does everyone in the house know how to classify the leaves that you collected?
There are hundreds of science lessons that you can do with leaves starting from the time your child is three years old. As your children age, you can do things like dissecting a leaf or having them write poems about the Fall and do a leaf drawing to go along with it.
This Autumn, before you get cranky about having all those leaves in your yard, try to be positive about all the possibilities you have with them. Sometimes it just takes thinking outside the leaf bag to make your Fall season that much more enjoyable.