How to Compost Your Fallen Leaves

Updated: Nov 2, 2018

Tired of all the fallen leaves on your property but don't want to shell out $15 for a bag of durable landscaping garbage bags? Read on to find out how to build your own leaf pile, as simple as you like. Store the leaves now and feed your garden free fertilizer in the future.


Clean and feed at the same time, #thriftygardener



Things You'll Need to Build a Compost Bin

  • Area outside for compost bin - indoor options have been made but for leaf collection, we're going to need plenty of space.

  • Container to hold leaves while they are composting, or large enough lot on ground to hold leaves as they are composting.

  • Cover for leaf bin of pile.

Check out some DIY bin designs – you don’t have to be a carpenter and have access to a rotary saw and chicken wire! People have made successful, inexpensive compost bins out of materials as simple as wire mesh and a small plastic trash bin.


There are many styles of compost piles you could use to make your garden goodies. Typically, a large bin is created from chicken wire and wood. People have used storage containers, pallets or a simple tarp over a compost pile setup. It all depends on what you like your yard to look like. View our Pinterest collection for ideas!


Step 1: Construct and Place Your Composting Setup


About The Compost Site


How large and where you place your bin is very important to success and getting the product into your garden in the Spring. Find what would work best for you!


3 Things To Consider When Placing A Leaf Composting Setup

  1. How close to the garden is it? Save Future You's back and place it as close to the place you're going to put down compost as possible.

  2. How fast do you want to create compost? The bigger the area, the less time it will take to create the environment needed (warm, moist) to produce leaf mold. Ideally, you want an area 6 feet by 4 feet, enough to hold about 25 bags of leaves. This will produce compost in 12 months or less if well maintained.

  3. What do you want your compost area to look like? It can be as simple as a large pile of leaves on the ground with a black tarp over it, or black bags full of leaves with holes poked in them in a pile. You can go crazy and build a beautiful compost house if you want! It's all up to your design needs.

Leaf Collecting Supplies


Step 2: Collect Your Leaves


When it comes to creating leaf mold, the mulch that provides the microbiome you want in your garden, nitrogen content is key. For our purposes, this means collecting leaves as soon as they fall. After a few weeks, they leech valuable nitrogen into the environment (which is why they lose color). You want them to leech that nitrogen directly into your mulch, so bag them and get them into that pile ASAP.


Surface area is a factor in the time it takes for nature to run its course and break down your leaf pile. If you have a leaf blower with shredder capabilities, this makes your job much easier. However, if like most people you don’t keep that type of equipment, you can simply run over your leaf pile with your lawn mower a few times. Voila! Freshly shredded leaves, perfectly sized to break down over the Winter and feed your soil in the Spring.


Let LawnCraft LawnCare help you clear your yard!

Let us help you blow your leaves into a pile and make composting super easy!

757-774-TRIM(8746)

Serving Virginia Beach, Norfolk & Chesapeake


End Result: Delicious Compost For Your Garden!



What’s the big deal about leaf mold? I thought mold was bad for your health?


Not necessarily! Have you ever walked through the forest and noticed how soft and aromatic the ground is in areas under trees? Try scooping up a handful of the soil under a tree and smell it, it’s wonderful! All of this richness is largely a product of the leaves falling and decomposing, creating a network of mold fibers that create the substrate for the forest.


Leaf mold material is some of the richest, more fertile ground available and you can see the evidence of that in the forest around it. We can recreate some of that amazing vitality in our own gardens using the same principals but on a smaller scale. Not only are we cleaning our yards, but creating a healthier atmosphere by recycling our lawn waste.

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