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Five Creative Uses for Fallen Leaves

Autumn always brings about the most extensive annual falling of leaves. But this doesn’t mean gardens aren’t inundated with dead leaves throughout the entire year. This of course is something that varies significantly, in accordance with numerous variables. The type of trees, the number thereof and the prevailing weather conditions at the time. Nevertheless, just when you think you’ve tackled the problem and tidied everything up, along comes another barrage of dead leaves to mess up your hard work once again!

But do dead leaves have to be the enemy of the home garden designer?

When dead leaves fall onto your lawn, leaving them where they are can have a detrimental effect on your lawn’s health. The reason being that along with blocking essential sunlight your grass needs to survive, they can also inhibit the essential removal of moisture from the soil. Which can in turn create an environment which is dangerously wet and soggy. All of which is precisely why most people see fallen leaves as a nuisance. One to be gotten rid of as quickly and efficiently as possible.

But is there a better way? How do savvy garden designers make better use of dead leaves?

1. Compost

First of all, there’s absolutely no sense whatsoever in getting rid of dead leaves. Not given the way in which they are absolutely ideal for composting. In fact, most homes that have got into positive composting habits will usually find that the majority of what’s in their compost bins throughout the year is dead leaves.  And this stuff is pure gold for garden designers at all levels. They generally have the ideal ratio of carbon to nitrogen, they decompose quickly and they create a nutritious, fertile mulch which can be used for pretty much any purpose around your garden.

2. Leaf Mould

This is an interesting alternative to mulching. Though one which differs by the way in which it doesn’t use a warm decomposition process involving bacteria, but instead a cold process that relies on fungi. It takes a little longer but couldn’t be easier to do. All you need to do is first cut your leaves using a mower or shredder. After which they can be placed in heavy duty bin liners and left to their own devices for around a year. If the leaves are dry, you will need to add a little moisture before putting them in the bin. Also prod a series of holes in the bags to allow for air circulation. Eventually, the contents of the bag will become crumbly and soft, which means they are then primed for use. A fabulous freebie for all garden designers.

3. Lawn Supplement

Contrary to popular belief, dead leaves do not have to be harmful for your grass. In fact, they can actually be quite beneficial. The reason leaves pose a threat to your grass is the way in which they block sunlight and create a dangerous environment for your lawn. However, if you shred the leaves to such an extent that they don’t block the essential sunlight your grass needs, they can serve as a welcome supplement. They slowly but surely break down and make their way into the soil.

4. Aquarium Supplement

Bizarre as it may sound initially, fallen leaves can be fabulous for your fish.  Specifically, if you have an aquarium set up at home, dropping dead leaves into the water results in an immediate colour change, due to the leaves releasing their tannins. These tannins can lower the pH level of the water in the tank. Higher pH levels are dangerous or even deadly for fish. In addition, there are also several common fish health issues that can actively be treated or corrected using dead leaves. An interesting added bonus for the modern garden designer.

5. Decoration

Last but not least, it’s worth remembering that if you have the time, you can transform fallen leaves into a wide variety of arts and crafts projects. This can be particularly enjoyable when involving the kids. Try your hand at everything from pressing the prettiest leaves to creating colourful wreaths to scrapbooking and really anything else you can think of. Perfect for home garden designers who are also quite the creative types!




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