Feeding Your Garden Soil: The Most Creative Ways to Use Fall Leaves

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When autumn comes around, your routine would be to pick up the leaves and put them into trash bags. But you may be asking, are leaves good for the garden? There are multiple uses for fall leaves, including DIY compost, decorations, and using them to protect your garden.

The Most Creative Ways to Use Fall Leaves

Feeding Your Garden Soil: The Most Creative Ways to Use Fall Leaves

Instead of being wasteful or paying to get them removed, you can use fall leaves for multiple projects. This allows you to discard them as needed, which can be a huge plus if you have a bunch of trees on your property. In this article, we will give you eight different methods for using fall leaves.

Feed Your Lawn

The first method of using them to your advantage is turning them into lawn fertilizer. Instead of raking your debris, use your leaf vacuum mulcher or other equipment to slice the leaves into tiny pieces. Using a vacuum will help to collect them evenly across your yard.

A mulcher does most of the work by cutting the leaves into smaller pieces that decompose faster. This rapid decomposition helps fertilize your lawn. Doing this in the fall can help prepare your soil for the springtime.

Spread Them as Protective Mulch for the Landscape

Another method is to turn them into leaf mulch for a vegetable garden and use it as a protective layer for your lawn. Autumn leaves are known for being nutrient-dense and provide your soil with multiple macro and micronutrients.

To make your mulch, you’ll need to shred them into small pieces. The quickest method is to run them over with a lawnmower and have the bag attached. From here, you are putting shredded leaves in the garden. Generally, you’ll fill up around a 30 to 55-gallon trash bag, which is enough to mulch a whole backyard garden.

Insulate Tender Plants


Another use for shredded fall leaves is to insulate your plants during fall and winter. Depending on how many trees you have on your property, you may have enough to insulate your tender plants during the cold months. The average-sized yard needs at least 6 inches of leaves. This method is even better to use on cold-hardy vegetables and others that grow in the winter months.

DIY Compost

Turning leaves into the soil is not only cost-efficient but also better than some of the brand-named composts. As we’ve stated before, they have plenty of nutrients, both rich to soil and plants. They can be used to make your compost in the spring.

To make your fertilizer, pile the leaves in a place where they remain untouched during the winter. Once they decompose, you’ll be able to use the compost located underneath to use in your garden. To make them more effective, tilling leaves into the garden can produce a more efficient result.

Mow Back over the Leaves a Few Times


If you’re using leaves for any DIY project, it’s best to get them into shredded pieces. The smaller the pieces are, the better. Using a mower to shred them is quick, easy, and doesn’t require much cleanup.

All you’ll need is either a mowing bag or a trash bag to help store the leaves. Run over the fall leaves at least three times or until they reach your desired size. Running over them too many times creates super small pieces, which may not be ideal if they don’t decompose.

Save Them for Later

If you’re not using the leaves right away, you can always store them for later. Whether you save them for compost or fertilizer, you can store leaves for the future. One method for storage is to place them in an area where they won’t hinder you or your family during the winter, or by setting them in a bag for later use.

Decorate the Garden


The fall season is full of orange, red, and yellow fall leaves. If you don’t need them for your yard or have too many, you can always use them for decoration during Halloween or to brighten up your yard before winter hits. Just take leaves and stack them in different formations. You can also get decorative bags and utilize them as stuffing for outdoor decor.

Make a Playground for the Kids

Lastly, you can use your leftover fall leaves to make a pile of leaves for your kids to play. We all remember the joy jumping leaves gave us as a child. It’s a good opportunity to get your young ones involved with a family activity, which you can use to your advantage. Your kids will want to help out clearing and gathering the leaves, and as a reward, they can play in the piles.


Fall leaves have more than just one or two uses. If you think it over, you can make the most of your leaves useful for multiple situations. Use them for compost, decor, or even for fertilizer for the coming spring months. Either way, we hope that the information we presented here, helped you find a few new ideas to use during the fall. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Further reading:

This is a guest post from Archie

Archie was a builder for more than 40 years. Mainly after his retirement the enthusiastic electrical works in the garden and writes for a blog Homemakerguide.com to keep himself occupied. His many years of experience can get you the right tool reviews whether it is a drill, welding machine or so. An impressive fact to note about him is that almost everything in his house is a representation of his skills made by his hands.

Ways to Use Fall Leaves

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About the Author

I’m Emily and after a ten year career as a journalist I have moved on to share my passion for gardening. While getting out in the garden is one of my favourite hobbies, and helps me de-stress after a long day in the office, I often found myself frustrated at not getting the results I wanted from my plants. Through blogging, I have uncovered the answer to lots of common problems and now I want to share my knowledge with other horticulture enthusiasts. Get in touch with me via: Pinterest, Twitter