“It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon.” -Sarah Addison Allen, First Frost

Though the trees and foliage are awesome, the amount of work their fallen counterparts create is not.

Exterior lawn care: Raking fall leaves is a hassle. Why not do something different? Here are four creative solutions to dealing with fallen leaves.
No one enjoys raking fallen leaves, so why not try something different? Source: Bob Vila

One of the greatest parts of fall is the brilliant colors that the season brings to the local foliage. With this glorious color, unfortunately, also comes leaves falling. While leaves falling in a wild wood is beautiful and poetic, leaves falling on your lawn aren’t nearly as dramatically gorgeous. For most homeowners, the solution is the age old “rake and bag” method, which is both tried and true and certainly effective but usually a lot of work. For those looking for a more useful way to utilize these leaves, read on and learn to make the leaves work for you.

1. Run Them Over

DIY Landscaping: Mowing fallen leaves is easier than raking and provides your lawn with nutrient-rich leaf mulch.
Mowing fallen leaves is easier than raking and provides your lawn with nutrient-rich leaf mulch. Source: Wilkes County Center

A simple way to make your fallen leaves work for you is to simply run them over with a lawnmower that has had it’s bag detached. This will create a leaf mulch that you can simply let sit on your lawn. Over the winter, this finely chopped leaf matter will break down into the soil of your lawn, creating a nutrient-rich environment for your lawn to thrive in.

2. Stuff a Scarecrow

DIY exterior scarecrows are a great way to utilize your autumn leaves.
Scarecrows are a great way to utilize your autumn leaves. Source: Pinterest

A classic fall craft since the days of the Pilgrims has been the creation of scarecrows. While you can stuff them with straw, you could just as easily stuff them with leaves. With a little creativity and enough leaves, you could make an entire scarecrow family like the one pictured above.

3. Start a Fire

Exterior firepit: There are few more noble uses for autumn leaves than starting a campfire.
There are few more noble uses for autumn leaves than starting a campfire. Source: Garden Weasel

Dry autumn leaves make amazing tinder for an indoor or outdoor autumn fire. In most cases, the best way to build a campfire is in the tipi style using dry fallen leaves as internal fuel. It’s important that you only use them in the beginning, though-burning leaves can drift away from the to of the fire and potentially be hazardous in dry conditions. Always be sure to check your local laws before building any type of outdoor fire.

4. Preserve Them

Home DIY projects: By preserving fall leaves, you can create your own seasonal interior accent pieces.
By preserving fall leaves, you can create your own seasonal interior accent pieces. Source: About

Autumn leaves are without doubt some of the most beautiful nature has to offer. By pressing them will allow you to keep their beauty vibrant for a very long time. There are even specialized frames for pressed leaves now, and they make great interior accent pieces.

While it’s unlikely you’ll use up all your leaves on these project, these creative uses for fallen foliage will certainly make a dent in your overall raking time. They also add some whimsy to your yard, nutrition to your soil, and beauty to your home. In short, don’t waste those fallen leaves. Put them to use for you and save yourself some yard work time while benefiting every part of your home!

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