Fall is a time when raking up leaves and yard maintenance becomes a weekly chore, especially when you have an outdoor condenser unit to keep clean. But there are many things you can do with the leaves rather than throwing them in the trash.

Raking and Gathering

Raking up leaves is a fun activity. So why not get the kids to help. It gives them something to do outside while teaching them how to look after a yard at the same time.

Image: Cat meme about raking leaves

Raking doesn’t need to be a time-consuming chore. Here are our top tips to help you blast through your raking.

  • Get a rake with wide teeth to grab more leaves at once.
  • Clean up your yard before raking up the leaves — remove any branches or sticks that might be in the way (and don’t forget about those acorns!).
  • Remove any rocks or debris from the ground before raking up your leaves, so they don’t clog up your leaf blower or vacuum cleaner later.
  • If it’s been raining lately, wait until after it stops before raking up. Raking wet soggy leaves isn’t much fun.
  • Carry out some simple HVAC maintenance. Leaves and other organic matter can become lodged between fins on the cooling coil, which reduce airflow and cause overheating.

Turn Your Leaves into Compost

When the leaves start falling, it’s time to create a compost heap. Composting is a great way to reduce household waste and is a fun activity for the whole family.

Choose a sheltered area in your garden that gets some sun but is sheltered. You can also make a heap against a wall or fence, which will help keep it dry. Next, create layers of leaves and add top dressing such as grass clippings or composted manure every now and then while it’s decomposing (especially towards the end when most of the volume has been removed, and all that remains is dark black soil-like material at the bottom).

Try Making Leaf Mold

Leaf mold is the dark brown or black soil that forms when strongly decomposed leaves are left to sit in a pile. It contains many nutrients and can be used as a mulch or soil amendment.

You can make leaf mold by simply piling up your fallen leaves and letting them decompose. It’s a great way to use up some of the leaves that have been piling up around your yard.

Leaf mold takes quite a long time to form – anything from 6 months to three years! But be patient, and you’ll have a fabulous soil conditioner rich in magnesium and calcium.

Image: a rake gathering leaves.

If you have potted plants or veggie gardens, leaf mold is ideal for boosting your growing power.

Make Some Mulch

Leaves are one of the most abundant materials in your yard, so it makes sense to use them as mulch. They’re also free and easy to collect. Just rake them into piles and let them dry. Add leaves to the pile, and eventually, they’ll rot and turn into mulch – the perfect way to add nutrients to your soil.

Mow Leaves Back into the Lawn

After all the leaves have fallen and are decomposing on your lawn, it’s easier to cut them back into your lawn so they can feed your grass roots.

Another benefit of mowing leaves back into your lawn is that the leaves will act as mulch and protect your lawn from the cold temperatures that come with winter. They will also help keep the soil moist and prevent it from getting compacted by snowfall and ice during winter.

Image: a person petting their nice, lush lawn

Even better, mowing over leaves can also help prevent weeds growing throughout the warmer months because it reduces their ability to grow roots in areas where they can be easily seen.

Create a Leaf Masterpiece

Turning leaves into leaf art is a great way to add something special to your home décor. You can use the leaves on their own or incorporate them into other projects like wall hangings, centerpieces, or wreaths.

The easiest way to use your leaves is by making leaf art. First, gather a bunch of fallen leaves and place them on top of each other in different colors, shapes, and sizes. Then arrange them into a pattern or design you like and carefully glue them down. You can even use the center of a leaf as the focal point for your piece of art.

Or why not try leaf rubbing or creating a fall wreath out of your leaves. Experiment and see what ideas you can come up with – go wild and let your creativity flow!

Image: leaf art

Don’t get cold this fall. Book your HVAC maintenance and keep your furnace in top condition for the colder months. Contact the professionals at ASI and keep your San Diego home cozy this winter.