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10 Things You Can Do With a Pile of Leaves

From composting to mulching to decorating your home, or just having some backyard fun, you can do a lot with a pile of leaves.

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bin

Compost

Fall leaves make the perfect seasonal addition to your compost pile. Simply layer them between all your green garden debris.

Balance is everything when it comes to successful composting. To maintain a healthy ratio of carbon and nitrogen materials in the compost bin, your pile should have about two-thirds carbon (brown) materials and one-third nitrogen (green) materials. Before fall is over, brush up on winter composting with these 10 helpful tips.

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fall

Press Them


Gather up some of the most attractive leaves and press them to create beautiful artwork. To press leaves, be sure to choose ones that aren’t spotted or bumpy. Then sandwich the leaves between newspaper or waxed paper and lay your heaviest books on top for about two weeks, or until the leaves are totally dry. Another option is to press leaves under a piece of glass on a coffee table for seasonal decor. Here are the best trees for fall foliage.

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family

Take Family Photos


There’s no doubt fall is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year, from the sun’s more gentle light to the incredible foliage colors. Before you start raking your yard, take some family photos at the height of the fall leaves’ vibrant color. Here are the 15 best home improvement projects to do in fall.

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decor

Create a Seasonal Still Life


You don’t have to do much to make fall leaves look pretty. Create a leaf bouquet by collecting undamaged leaves with long stems and putting them in water, like flowers. Unless they are really dry to start, they will look fresh for at least a couple of days. Check out this uniquely beautiful leaf-printed concrete coffee table.

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fall wreath

Make a Wreath


A seasonal wreath on your front door is an inviting statement and a festive way to greet the season. This gorgeous wreath uses dried twigs and leaves, along with some gourds. You could also add pine cones and acorns. Here are 14 fall wreaths you haven’t already seen.

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shrub

Use Them as Protective Mulch


Before you rake up and get rid of your fall foliage, make use of it. Leaves make a wonderfully protective cover for overwintering tender perennials or root crops stored in the ground. The leaves work to successfully insulate your crops, allowing such things as fall-planted garlic to root without sprouting.

Adding a layer of mulch pays off. Here’s your guide to successful mulching.

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scarecrow

Make a Scarecrow


Maybe you actually want to use a scarecrow to discourage birds from disturbing and feeding on recently cast seed and growing crops. Or maybe you want to make a silly leaf person that sits in a chair by your front door. Either way, making a scarecrow is fun! Simply stuff the leaves into old clothes or even burlap bags. Check out these 13 amazingly creative scarecrows.

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dogs

Have Fun with Fido


Most dogs love to jump into a pile of leaves, and many will be just as happy to have you pile them up high around their heads for one adorable photo op. Get the kids involved by letting them jump in and out of the pile for the ultimate natural playground and cuteness overload.

Here are 12 ways to prep your lawn and garden for fall.

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frame

Make a Gallery Wall


Add year-round nature to your home by making a gallery wall of fall foliage. You can collect the prettiest leaves, iron them between sheets of waxed paper, mount them on mat board and frame them.

Here’s the easiest way to hang a gallery wall.

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mow

Shred and Spread Them


When you feel you’ve had enough fun, creativity and productivity with your fall foliage, what’s left to do? You can shred and spread them! Either go over the pile with a mulching lawnmower or toss them into a shredder. The finely cut leaves will decompose much faster and rapidly become part of the soil you spread them on. Here are 15 super-useful tools for dealing with leaves.

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website: livingbylex.com