It’s fall, and that means it’s time to get out the rake and carry out some yard maintenance and cleaning – especially around your outdoor condenser unit. You don’t want the rotting leaves to clog up the unit. But before you toss your fallen leaves in the trash, consider putting them to work.

Let’s Get Raking

Raking leaves is a good way to get exercise and improve the appearance of your yard. However, it can be a lengthy process, so here are our best tips for speeding up the chore –

  • Gather all the tools and materials needed before starting the job. This includes a rake, shovel, leaf bags or boxes, and garbage bags.
  • Use a rake with metal tines instead of plastic ones, which can break more easily than metal ones. In addition, metal tines last longer than plastic ones and don’t need replacing as often.
  • Pick up any large sticks, twigs, or stones before you start. You don’t want them getting stuck in your rake.
  • Don’t try and rake your yard or garden in one large pile. Split the area into sections and create smaller leaf piles.
  • Do some HVAC maintenance by cleaning around your condenser. Fall leaves can clog drain lines leading to the condenser unit and prevent water from draining correctly. This can lead to flooding and damage to the equipment itself.

Create a Compost Heap

Compost is a great way to get more out of your yard and garden, and it’s simple to make your own. It only takes a few ingredients: leaves, grass clippings, and kitchen scraps are good candidates for composting.

If you don’t already have a compost pile, it’s easy to set one up. The first step is to choose an appropriate location for your compost heap. Next, layer up your leaves and add some greenery, like grass clippings. After that, you can keep adding to your compost pile throughout the fall and winter.

Make Leaf Mold

Leaf mold is compost made from fallen leaves and other plant matter. It is typically used as a soil amendment and fertilizer and can be used in container gardens or flower beds. Leaf mold can also be used to make potting soil.

There are several ways to make leaf mold, but the easiest way is simply by piling up leaves in a spot where they will not be disturbed, such as an un-mowed corner of your lawn or garden bed.
The leaves need to decompose over time and eventually break down into a blackish-brown organic material that looks similar to soil. The process takes several months, during which you’ll need to periodically water the pile so that it doesn’t dry out completely.

When ready to use the leaf mold, just dig out what you need from the top layer of your pile and use it as needed for gardening projects.

Make Some Mulch

Leaves that have been raked and bagged can be used as mulch.

The easiest way to make mulch from fallen leaves is to simply rake them into piles and leave them until spring when they decompose on their own. Or bag up your leaves and speed up the process.

Use your mulch on your flower beds to protect perennials or stop the soil from washing away in winter storms.

Use the Leaves to Improve Your Lawn

Mow your leaves back into the lawn rather than bagging them up or composting them. You’ll save money on mulch and fertilizer, and you’ll help the environment by preventing the loss of nutrients from decomposing leaves.

The process is simple – mow the lawn as usual, but don’t bag the clippings. Instead of using the mulching feature on your mower, just mow over the leaves. This will shred them into small pieces that gradually decompose and become part of the soil.

Get Creative and Make Some Leaf Art

You can use your leaves and other materials to create some leaf art. It’s great to keep the kids busy or as an activity to help you chill out. Check out these easy leaf art ideas –

  • Make a collage with cut-up leaves and torn paper.
  • Use leaves as stencils when drawing or painting on paper or canvas.
  • Make leaf outlines with ink pens and then fill them in with paint or colored pencils.
  • Use dried, natural leaves as place setting cards at a party or wedding reception table setting (with little labels).
  • Gather up different kinds of twigs, branches, and stems from the yard and arrange them in a vase or bowl for display indoors.

Keep your Los Angeles home cozy this fall by booking regular HVAC maintenance for your furnace. Speak to the experts at JW Plumbing, Heating and Air about keeping your HVAC system in peak working order and staying warm through the colder seasons.

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