Gathering autumn leaves

How to collect autumn leaves

Discover some of the different ways to collect leaves and the handy ways to use them, in this simple practical guide.

Do it:

Oct, Nov

Takes just:

not specified

Autumn is a beautiful season in the garden, with many perennials, shrubs and trees providing some stunning colour. But once the leaves have fallen, they will need clearing up, especially from lawns, where they will smother the grass, and from paths and patios, where they may become slippery. It's also a good idea to remove leaves from gravel, otherwise it will become messy.

Discover 10 plants for autumn colour.

Leave hedge bottoms untouched to provide shelter for garden wildlife.

Be sure to make use of the leaves you collect. You can compost some of them, sweep them under hedges for wildlife, or create leaf mould, which makes a wonderful soil improver.

You can make the sweeping and collection process a lot easier by using a combination of different tools and methods, outlined below.

You will need

  • Lightweight leaf grabbers
  • Flat-tined plastic or rubber rake
  • Besom broom
  • Leaf blower
  • Woven plastic bags
  • Rotary lawn mower


Use a lightweight pair of grabbers with long handles to collect a large amount of leaves at one time. Alternatively, two seed trays do the job just as well.

Choose a relatively gentle, flat-tined rake for sweeping leaves off the lawn and gravel areas of the garden on a daily basis.

A leaf blower - particularly one that also collects and shreds leaves - can be very useful (although some gardeners object to them on environmental grounds), especially on areas that are hard to sweep or rake. Choose an electric one that can be switched from blowing to sucking. Blow the leaves under hedges, where they will provide shelter for wildlife.

Leave the bottoms of hedges untouched to provide shelter for garden wildlife.

Leaves have a habit of jumping out of wheelbarrows when they are on the move, so load them into a couple of large bags. These are lightweight and easy to lift when full of leaves.

A rotary lawn mower is a useful tool. Simply sweep up as many leaves as you can into the middle of the lawn and mow over them. This chops them up and, together with the added grass cuttings, helps to accelerate the composting process in your bin or heap.


Maple leaf

Leaves for leaf mould

It's a good idea to divide your leaves for leaf mould into different types, so that they rot down at the same speed. Find out about the best leaves for leaf mould.

Discover more ideas and inspiration

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