A long-lasting organic mulch option is pine bark or shredded bark, according to experts at The Morton Arboretum in Illinois. You can purchase bags of small or large chips. Other types of organic mulch are grass clippings, as well as animal manure (mixed with a coarse-textured material). Composted leaf litter will work, but it may increase weeds if not thoroughly composted.
A leaf rake comes in handy for moving leaves, pine cones, fallen fruit and other tree-related items. Look for an ergonomic design that makes the task an easy extension of natural body movements. Choose a wide head with springy tines to make quick work of cleaning large areas. For raking leaves from around shrubs, select a rake with a small head and shorter handle. Use a lawn rake with thin tines to gather grass clippings or clean up the lawn after winter. A bow rake is handy for soil prep in vegetable gardens and new beds, as well as raking gravel areas. A small hand rake earns its keep if you have planting beds beneath trees. Its widely spaced tines let you remove leaves without damaging plants.
In the dining space, designers from America's Most Desperate Kitchens added plenty of storage and a bar area. To add more display options and complete the design in the space, a vintage barn shutter was repurposed into a shelving unit that is illuminated by a bright, broadway light fixture. Vintage metal rakes on either side of the shelves were upcycled and used as wine glass racks.
An old, sturdy golf bag makes a perfect storage station for gardening tools large and small. Rakes and shovels fit it in the top, and the pockets are perfect for gloves, a bulb planter and other hand tools.
Kim Woodward of Newly Woodwards drilled two pieces of PVC tubing to the wall to create a DIY tool holder. It’s a simple solution for organizing your shovels, rakes and other handled garden tools. See her tutorial at Newly Woodwards.
These fleece-lined beauties from L.L. Bean will keep your feet cozy and warm during all of your fall and winter gardening chores. And they're so cute, you can transition from leaf raking to shopping without missing a beat. Insulated Wellie Rain Boot. $119
Turn the area below an elevated deck into storage space for outdoor equipment and garden supplies like McLean, Virginia's Land Art Design did for a client. The wide doorway gives easy access when it's time to fetch a rake or trowel, and a padlock keeps everything secure.
Get leaves off the lawn before the snow flies. Leaves that remain on lawns as snow starts to pile up tend to mat, which in turns creates ideal conditions for snow mold to form on grass. Try to rake and remove leaves as soon as possible after the major fall drop occurs.
Rake and remove leaves to avoid damage to grass. Doing so also can protect water quality. In winter, freezing and thawing can cause leaves, dead grass, plants and other organic debris to release soluble forms of phosphate (and nitrates). If these chemicals run off frozen ground during spring snow melt and early spring rains, they can end up in surface water.