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Leaf Clean-up Cost

Leaf Clean-up Cost

National average
$300
(vacuum and mulching leaves on a 10,00 sq.ft. property for garden or compost)
Low: $200

(blowing, collection, and bagging for city removal)

High: $500

(blowing, removal and disposal)

Cost to clean up leaves varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from landscapers in your city.

The average cost to have leaves cleaned-up is $300.

In this guide

Why clean up leaves in your yard?
How often should we clean up leaves?
Cost factors
Types of cleaning
Mulching
Composting
Labor
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to clean up leaves?

When autumn rolls around, trees start dropping their leaves. If you have a lot of trees, that means a lot of falling leaves blanketing your yard. Autumn is one of the best times to have leaves removed. As winter rolls in and snow begins to fall, leaf clean up can get a much harder. Leaf clean up is important to a homeowner because removing leaves from your yard keeps your property clean and safe.

There are different options when it comes to cleaning and removing leaves. A professional can haul the leaves away, leave them for city pick up, or mulch 1 them for your yard. The average cost to get a fall leaf clean up with a vacuum and mulching leaves for garden or compost 1 for a 10,000 square foot property is around $300.

Why clean up leaves in your yard?

As a homeowner with land, if you take pride in keeping your property and lawn looking nice, then you will want to get those leaves cleaned up in the fall. Not cleaning them makes them a nuisance to you later. Despite popular myths, a build-up of leaves on the ground is not good for your grass or soil. Full leaves that aren’t mulched create a blanket across your yard. They won’t decompose as fast into the soil the way mulched leaves will. A bed of wet leaves opens your property up to damage by destroying your lawn and causing additional work, money, and time to get it back. The longer the leaves are left, the higher chance they will rot. In addition to destroying grass and surrounding land, rotting leaves can suffocate and cause disease in plants and tree roots.

In addition, if you are selling your home, you will want curb appeal to attract buyers. Professional leaf clean-up makes your home more attractive to potential buyers. Keep your property clear of leaves while you are planting flowers and laying mulch. Fallen, wet, or rotting leaves can ruin the aesthetic.

Leaves can also collect in unsuspecting places such as your driveway, roof, and gutters. Wet leaves especially collect into corners and keep moisture against your house. Wet leaves can cause moss to grow on roofs where seems meet, such as at eaves 2 or the chimney. If you do not have gutter guards, then leaves are sure to pile up inside your gutters causing them to clog and not work they way they are supposed to. Gutter spouts are also prone to leaf buildup, which causes water backups.

How often should we clean up leaves?

To prevent damage caused by rotting leaves in your yard, at a minimum you should get them cleaned up once every late autumn. Ideally, multiple times over the season is better. Also, go for a spring-clean up after the winter to get anything that fell late or was left behind. If you opt for one leaf clean up a year, it is best to wait until most, if not all, of the leaves have fallen from the surrounding trees at the end of the autumn season. Late October or early November is an ideal timeframe. For a more aggressive approach, a cleanup every few weeks over the course of the season gets those leaves raked up as soon as they hit the ground.

If you don't have many trees, or your trees tend to drop leaves more in waves or all at once rather than over time, one clean up per year should be sufficient. However, if you have a larger property with many trees that tend to drop leaves on a whim, regular cleanups spaced a few weeks apart might be more efficient.

Cost factors

There are many factors that go into determining the cost of leaf clean up, including your yard size, number of trees, and the process used. Professionals will consider the following when determining the cost for cleaning up fallen leaves in the autumn:

  • Yard or property size. The size of your yard is one of the biggest determinants of costs associated with leaf clean up. The larger your yard, the more time it will take and the more man power is needed to leaf blow, rake up, and remove all the leaves. Most lawn care or landscaping companies book a specific number of people to clean up your property. They often charge per hour and per person for cleanup.
  • Amount of leaves and number of trees. One of the other biggest cost factors associated with leaf cleanup is the amount of leaves settled around your property. The more trees you have, the more leaves that fall onto the ground. A smaller property with many trees might cost you more than a larger property with fewer trees. Therefore, a larger property with many trees requires more work and will cost more money.
  • Type of trees and condition of leaves. Wet, heavy leaves are harder to clean up than dry, brittle, airflow-friendly leaves. Wet leaves weigh more and may cost more for removal and disposal. The type of leaves may also change the price. Pine needles, for example, are harder to pile up with a leaf blower or a rake as compared to maple leaves. Some trees also drop things other than leaves, such as acorns and seeds.
  • Method used. Different equipment is needed to clean up different types of leaves and yard debris. A leaf blower is the most common and is able to blow dry leaves into piles. Rakes might be needed for dragging wetter leaves into the piles. There are also leaf vacuums, which suck the leaves up and sometimes mulch them as they are dumped into a bag or a truck. Some companies use multiple methods on one lawn. The more advanced equipment, or the more workers a company has, can increase the cost of your leaf cleanup.
  • Season. Autumn is the most common time of year for a leaf cleanup. Autumn is also the busiest time of year for landscaping company. If you wait till the last minute to book a landscaper or lawn maintenance company it may cost more than booking in advance.
  • Frequency. If you decide to hire the service twice or three times per year, they might apply a discount. The more often you receive leaf cleanup service, the easier it is for a landscaping company to maintain. Since they often charge a flat fee, plus an hourly fee and a disposal cost, doing this more frequently requires less time and may cost less money per cleanup.

Types of cleaning

There are different ways leaves can be cleaned up from your yard. Professional equipment is more thorough than simply raking and bagging leaves and yard debris. With the right tools, the job is fast and easy for any professional. Also, no matter which way is chosen to gather the leaves, they will usually be bunched up into a pile.

  • Raking. Raking is the oldest and truest method for gathering and collecting leaves. A heavy duty fan rake helps you collect leaves into multiple piles throughout the yard, making them easier to mulch or bag. Fan rakes collect leaves without digging up grass or damaging the lawn. They are also good for picking up wet leaves and using with a shovel to grab leaves. Raking is time consuming and can get tedious if you have a large yard. It’s best to rake leaves onto tarps in multiple piles and then drag those tarps to your bagging or mulching area.
  • Blowing. A leaf blower is a good tool for larger yards, driveways, and gutters. A cordless electric leaf blower is more eco-friendly than a gas-motored blower. However, a blower that needs to be plugged in during use has a limited range. Other than carrying the blower around, which can get heavy after a while, it is less time consuming than raking. A leaf blower doesn’t blow wet leaves well and can scatter leaves rather than pile them. A rake might still be required after blowing to tighten up the leaf piles for bagging or composting.
  • Vacuuming. A leaf vacuum can look a lot like a blower, except instead of blowing leaves around the yard it sucks them up and collects them in a bag. This is a great way to get the leaves off your lawn without blowing or raking them into a pile. Vacuums gather and collect at the same time. The downside is the collection bag can get heavy and require regular emptying as you go about vacuuming.

Once leaves are collected into piles, you’ll need to dump them into bags. A great tool for helping with this task is a scoop claw. These hand-held leaf scoops make it easier to pick up large piles of leaves quickly and easily dump into bags. Bagging requires a lot of bending and lifting, which wears out the bagger and can strain their back.

Mulching

While collecting leaves you can also mulch them before bagging or composting them. Unshredded leaves are sucked up into or dropped into the mulching component and chopped into tiny bits. Mulched leaves take up less space in the bag or compost.

If you have a small yard, your professional might have a lawn mower that allows for a mulching attachment so you can use the mower to mulch the leaves. They will still have to be picked up with another tool after mulching. Mulched leaves can be used alone or added to compost. Most times, a professional has equipment that picks up and mulches leaves at the same time, which is much faster than a mower. This option is great for getting it done fast and for larger properties. Shredding leaves saves time, since they are easier to pick up and dispose of or carry to the compost. You can also use them as lawn fertilizer. Companies that remove leaves will charge you by the amount removed.The landscaping company can price out laying mulch 3 as part of the cleanup project if you want it included.

Composting

Compost is organic matter that has decomposed. Unlike fertilizer, which solely feeds plants, compost is food for your soil. It adds nutrients to the soil in flower and vegetable gardens. Organic materials in compost include dead mulched leaves, earthworms or crickets, and other live matter. You can also add food waste like eggshells and banana peels to a compost instead of throwing them in the garbage or down the disposal. Composting is environmentally-friendly since you are using natural products and adding them back into the environment. It lowers your carbon footprint and helps reduce waste.

Chopping the leaves first will help them decompose faster. Mulched leaves provide a great base for compost because the nitrogen formed during the breakdown of leaves provides nutrients and microbes for soil. Nutrients from mulched leaves create a thicker, greener lawn the following spring. Leaves can be collected with a catcher as they are mulched and then dropped into the compost. Professional companies can shred and collect leaves faster than a traditional mower. If you keep the leaves for composting you won’t have to pay for removal.

Labor

Hiring a professional is the best way to clean up your leaves. Leaf clean up is difficult and time consuming work. The larger the property, the longer it takes to clean up and the more wear and tear on your tools and equipment. A professional, on the other hand, can clean up all your leaves in a quarter of the time and dispose of them any time, leaving you to enjoy your yard after it’s done.

A professional will assess your property (including the size of your yard, number of trees and difficulty of the terrain) before quoting a price . If your terrain is bumpy or unlevel it can increase the price because it is harder to clean up or get equipment into certain sections of the yard. Price calculations vary widely by company, location, and size of the property, which determines how long it’ll take. Professional landscapers charge between $45 and $70 per hour.

The landscaper will start by vacuuming up or blowing leaves into a pile. They will collect the leaves and dispose of them. Some companies might mulch them for you, or mulch them before collecting and disposing of them, since they will require less space in their truck that way. Landscapers usually have a minimum charge of around $200.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Remove leaves from gutters

In addition to your yard, leaves fall in gutters. They need to remain clean and clear in order to do their job and keep water away from your house. A landscaper might use a leaf blower with a special attachment to blow the leaves from your gutters. This might cost an additional $90 to $140 to have gutters cleaned, including 2 hours of labor.

Lawn treatments

Landscaping companies vary widely in the services they offer. Some leaf clean-up companies may offer lawn treatments. If this is a service you are in need of, to help your lawn grow back in the spring, you might have to hire an additional company to provide this service. Treating your lawn costs around $150 to $200 for one treatment and depends on the size of your yard.

Fertilizing or reseeding lawn

Some landscapers will also fertilize and reseed the lawn, others may not include this in their list of services. This is especially good for your lawn regrowth the following spring. The average cost for this is around $400.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Permits. A permit is not required to clean up leaves from your lawn.
  • Licenses. There isn’t a standard for what services landscapers provide, and companies run from small, one-person businesses to large, national chains. However, in most states a landscaper needs a license to operate. To get this license they must work for three years as an apprentice and pass a professional exam. Landscapers should also carry insurance and be bonded.
  • DIY. You can clean up your own leaves, but it is time consuming and requires resilience and strength. The larger the property, the harder it will be and the longer it will take. In addition, more trees means more leaves, requiring more physically demanding work. Using just a rake can add significant time to the job and leave you with calloused hands and a sore back. In addition, the bending and lifting to add leaves to bags is not easy. It can take a few hours to a few days to rake up a lawn, requiring significant time and energy that many people do not have.
  • Access to the property. Most often you do not need to be home when a landscaper comes to clear your leaves. They do not need access to the house, as long as the yard is accessible. Otherwise you will need to be there to give them access.
  • References. Request references from other homeowners they’ve worked with to determine if a landscaper is the right one for you.
  • Disposal. Landscapers may or may not dispose of the leaves. Many of them will take the leaves with them. Some will mulch them for you to add to your compost. Some will leave for city pick up. This is an important question to ask when hiring a company. Leaf disposal costs between $30 and $50.

FAQ

  • How much does leaf clean-up cost?

Leaf cleanup costs on average $300 for clean up and removal of leaves.

  • How much should I pay for yard clean up?

Yard clean up service costs between $200 and $600.

  • How much does spring clean up cost?

Spring cleanup costs similar to fall cleanup, between $200 and $500.

  • Can you make money raking leaves?

Yes. While raking leaves is hard work and you need to have strong arms and a healthy back, you can make money raking leaves if you work as a professional.

  • What is the best way to clean leaves?

Using a leaf blower or vacuum is the easiest way to clean leaves. You can also use a lawn mower that mulches if you don't have too many leaves.

  • Do you have to clean up leaves?

You should clean up leaves from your yard in order to reduce the possibility of killing your grass or preventing it from growing back in the spring. Cleaning up leaves also makes it harder for fungus, plant disease, mold and mildew to grow. Wet leaves are a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Without them, you'll have less mosquitos.

  • How do you deal with a lot of leaves?

You can pack them all into bags and leave them for your city, if they clean them up, to pick up the bags on designated days during the autumn months. Or you can hire a professional landscaper who takes the leaves and disposes of them for you.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Compost: (Also known as Mulch) A natural substance derived from plant, animal, or mineral matter that is added to soil in order to make it more fertile
2 Eaves: The edge of a roof that connects with the wall of the building. Usually this part of the roof comes out further than the wall

Cost to clean up leaves varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Professional collecting autumn fallen leaves in the yard

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Alhambra, CA
+9%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Austin, TX
+13%
Avon Lake, OH
-21%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Bartow, FL
-15%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chelmsford, MA
+36%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Chula Vista, CA
+8%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Cleveland, TN
-20%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Dahlonega, GA
-31%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Denver, CO
+1%
Dunedin, FL
-14%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Elgin, SC
-12%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Grand Prairie, TX
+6%
Hemet, CA
-6%
Henderson, NV
+10%
Hesperia, CA
-1%
Honolulu, HI
+35%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Irvine, CA
+23%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kunkletown, PA
-34%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lincoln, NE
-13%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Lynchburg, VA
-23%
Marietta, GA
+10%
Mesa, AZ
-2%
Miami, FL
+1%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Modesto, CA
-12%
Monroe, NC
-6%
Labor cost in your zip code
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Methodology and sources