Tips for Tidying Up the Yard in Autumn

October has begun and the first few leaves are turning gorgeous shades of red, yellow, and orange. This means we’ll soon be enjoying chilly weather, bonfires, and hayrides—and it also means we’ll be spending plenty of time in our yards, raking up the leaves once their vibrant colors fade to brown. But there’s good news. You don’t necessarily have to spend hours scraping leaves into piles and shoving them into garbage bags. You’ve got a few other options for tidying up the yard that might make life a little more pleasant this fall.



Skip the rake and just mow over leaves, but make sure your lawn mower has a bag attachment to collect the yard waste.



You can always use a leaf blower to clear leaves away—but only if you have a larger yard. If not, it’s still probably more practical to rake.



When your yard gets covered in autumn waste, just suck up the leaves and twigs with a leaf vacuum.

Once your leaves are mowed, blown, or vacuumed away, you’ve also got a few choices for disposing them. You can always pack them into bags and throw them in the garbage, but we don’t recommend it. There are other, more constructive ways to use yard waste.



Spread your leaves around your garden. They will insulate your perennial plants during the winter and then add nutrients to the soil as they break down.



Use the leaves as “brown material” for your compost pile and add a layer of them after discarding vegetable matter. The yard waste will help create high-quality compost for your spring garden. If you live in Paducah, KY, you can also call the city to pick up your yard waste for municipal compost.



If you don’t have a compost pile or a garden, ask around and find a neighbor who could use your yard waste instead. Not everyone has a lot full of trees, and some people might appreciate the generosity.