If you take pride in an immaculate lawn, autumn can be a frustrating time: every gust of wind brings more leaves settling on your grass. So you rake them up, but more blustery weather arrives and your neat pile of leaves are in a flurry again. But there are other approaches to the leaf situation.

Don’t let them go to waste!

Lots of people pop their leaf-fall into the garden waste to be whisked away on collection day. But keeping leaves can save you time and money, and benefit your garden.

Leaf them be

As controversial as this might be to some, you could consider…leaving leaves to lie on your grass. Why might you do this? Well, leaves can offer your lawn protection through winter and slow weed growth. Beware! A thick covering of leaves will smother your lawn, trap moisture and damage the grass, so you should remove much of the leaf cover in this situation.

Make your own mulch

We’ve met a few people who shove their leaves in the bin in autumn, and then pop down to the garden centre to buy mulch come spring. Yet with a little effort, you can make your own. Let your leaves get dry and crunchy, run your mower over them to shred them, and boom – you have leaf mulch providing your lawn with  nutrients. You can buy mulching mowers or mulching blades to attach to your mower. Both options will chop those leaves up nice and small. Or you can rake leaves onto bedding areas to rot down and replenish your soil while insulating your winter plants.

It’s a good habitat to get into

Fallen leaves are a vital habitat for lots of creatures: insects, spiders, small mammals and even some amphibians. Some will hibernate there, others lay eggs or pupate there. These insects and grubs are an important source of food for birds. Better biodiversity benefits your garden! Raking up and discarding leaves banishes useful critters from your garden. For instance, spiders can keep populations of garden pests under control, and pollinators will help your garden too. You may find a hedgehog decides to call your leaf pile home over winter. Compost and Leafmould

If you really don’t want leaves on your lawn, they can still be useful if you compost them. Add some leaves into your compost heap or create a leaf-only compost. Turn the leaf pile regularly to make sure they get the moisture they need to decompose. Either way, over time, you’ll get a good quality compost or leafmould for little effort and no extra cost.