Leaf Well Enough Alone
However counter-intuitive (or is it intuitive?) it may seem, leaving your leaves where they fall is also an option. Again, this is how natural ecosystems work: The leaves fall, decompose into rich humus, and aid in future growth (like Mufasa told Simba, “And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life”). As the real nature lovers out there can appreciate, in addition to the previously mentioned benefits, this method also provides a safe overwinter environment for butterfly eggs and pupae, for instance, but also for slugs and snails (that is, they won’t be massacred by a run through the shredder or a trip through the compost pile).
This is a variation on the “leaf well enough alone” theme. The reason most people want to get rid of their leaves, besides keeping up appearances, is because they fall on the lawn and threaten to choke it out. Well, here’s one way to hit two birds with one stone: Take a lawnmower to your leaf-littered lawn. Let the mower chew up the leaves, and then let the shredded leaves decompose into the grass. This adds nutrients and essential organic matter to the soil, and has the potential to suppress weeds.
Whichever method you choose, at least take this piece of advice: Put the cell phone down and try to enjoy a little time working in your yard!