Trees usually start to drop their leaves all over your yard and garden when summer transitions into fall. As a homeowner, you want to get them cleaned up as part of your yard cleanup process. Leaves create a thick blanket in your yard that can cause a lot of issues if you don’t remove them. As winter comes around and the snow starts to fall, it can be much harder to estimate leaf removal costs. Depending on the amount of leaves in your yard, you may need a leaf cleanup service to come a few times if you don’t want to DIY.
The national average for your leaf removal cost is between $150 and $500 a visit. Most people tend to pay roughly $300 to get a fall yard clean up with a vacuum and mulching leaves for a yard that is ¼-acre. At the low end of the leaf removal cost spectrum, you’ll pay roughly $50.00 for blowing, collecting, and bagging for the city to remove leaves from a ⅙-acre lawn. At the high end, it can easily reach $700 for blowing, removal, and disposal of all of the leaves on a one-acre lawn.
Removing leaves can be a huge project to try and take on by yourself, and this is why many people choose to bring in a company to do it for them.
|Average Leaf Removal Cost|
|Average Range||$150 to $550|
Why Clean up the Leaves
There are several reasons why you should make a point to clean up your leaves other than giving a very neat look to your yard and boosting your curb appeal. Leaves that you don’t remove or mulch will create a thick blanket across your lawn and won’t just decompose into the soil without any help. They will eventually cause damage to your lawn by smothering the grass. The longer you leave your leaves, the more likely they are to rot. Along with destroying the grass, any rotting leaves can cause disease for plants or tree roots.
Leaves also have a reputation for collecting in other places like your gutters, roof, and driveway. If you don’t have gutter guards installed, the leaves will pile up and collect in the gutters to cause clogs. They can lead to huge water backups and home damage if you don’t get your leaf removal cost quote and get them out. Wet leaves can also be a big problem for collecting in the corners and trapping moisture against your home. They can even cause moss to grow on the roof or along your home’s walls.
Leaf Removal Cost per Acre
Generally speaking, your leaf removal costs range from $400 to $700 per acre, depending on several factors like the amount of leaves and the lawn condition. The most common leaf removal cost fluctuates from $100 and $250 since most homes are on a quarter-acre lot. Keep in mind that the exact prices of disposing of the leaves collected from your property will depend on how many leaves there are and the method you want to use to get rid of them.
|⅙ Acre Lot||$50.00 to $150|
|⅕ Acre Lot||$75.00 to $200|
|¼ Acre Lot||$95.00 to $250|
|½ Acre Lot||$225 to $400|
|¾ Acre Lot||$270 to $600|
|1 Acre Lot||$400 to $700|
Leaf Removal Cost by Cleaning Method
There are three main types of cleaning methods you can employ when it comes to leaves, and they all come with a different leaf removal cost. You can vacuum them, blow them, or rake them. Most companies charge a set rate per hour for each worker at $15.00 to $60.00, and they usually have a minimum fee of $75.00. If you want to have the leaves bagged to dispose of them, they charge between $5.00 and $10.00 a bag.
You do want to remove your leaves promptly before they get into your gutters, start to rot, and produce a nasty smell while stopping the water from draining or they cause damage to your lawn. However, with the correct tools, it’s an easy process for professionals. The most popular methods and their price points are as follows:
|Cleaning Method||Cost per Hour||Cost per Bag|
|Blowing||$15.00 to $45.00||$5.00 to $10.00|
|Raking||$25.00 to $50.00||$5.00 to $10.00|
|Vacuuming||$30.00 to $60.00||$5.00 to $10.00|
Leaf blowing is a very popular method to get rid of leaves, and it costs between $15.00 and $45.00 per hour on average with an additional $5.00 to $10.00 bag fee to get rid of them. A leaf blower is a tool that forces air out of a nozzle to move leaves and light yard debris, and it’s great to use on gutters, driveways, and bigger yards. They are powered using gasoline or electric motors, and they’re a self-contained tol that you carry or wear backpack-style with a handheld wand attached. Leaf blowing is far less time-consuming than raking. However, carrying the leaf blower around can get very heavy with larger yards. A leaf blower also isn’t as effective at directing wet leaves and will scatter them instead. You also need a rake to put the leaves into a consolidated pile after you blow them around to make bagging easy.
Raking is the most traditional and oldest method used to collect leaves, and your leaf removal cost will typically fall between $25.00 and $50.00 an hour with a $5.00 to $10.00 per bag fee to get rid of them. The worker will typically have a heavy-duty fan rake to collect the leaves into several piles throughout the yard to make picking them up easy. Fan rakes are great at collecting leaves without causing any damage to the lawn, and they’re good at picking up wet leaves. If you have a large yard, raking may not be the best option for removing leaves as it can be tedious and time-consuming.
Leaf vacuuming is one of the most efficient and easy ways to get rid of leaves from your yard, and the typical leaf removal cost ranges from $30.00 to $60.00 an hour with a $5.00 to $10.00 fee per bag. A leaf vacuum looks a lot like a leaf blower, but instead of blowing the leaves around, it sucks them up and collects them into the bag. This method is a very efficient way of removing leaves from the lawn without having to rake or blow them up. The only downfall is that it can get heavy and it requires you to empty it a lot.
The method the company uses to remove the leaves will impact the final cost because it’ll set the pace for the projects.
Leaf Removal Cost by Frequency
Depending on the number of trees and size of your lot, you may want to consider setting up frequent visits on a set schedule to help stay on top of the leaves. The more you use this service, the less you’ll generally pay per visit. How often you have your yard cleaned up is completely up to you. A lot of people like to have as few leaves as possible in their yard. Also, when you clean the yard more often, it’ll take less time per visit to lower your leaf removal cost. However, when the company has to make more trips to come out and take on the project, you’ll have higher expenses.
Depending on your specific needs, leaf removal companies will work with you to set up a plan and price for return visits. You can expect to pay between $150 and $500 for an annual service, but many factors come into play. A one-time visit to a smaller yard will usually have a leaf removal cost of $250 to $850 per year. A quarterly service will cost between $200 and $750 a year. For a monthly service, you can expect to pay between $300 and $900 a year. A bi-weekly schedule costs an average of $1,170 and $,1560 a year.
|Frequency||Cost per Year on Average|
|Annual||$150 to $500|
|One-Time Visit||$200 to $850|
|Quarterly Visits||$250 to $750|
|Monthly Visits||$300 to $900|
|Bi-Weekly Visits||$1,000 to $1,500|
Average Leaf Clean-Up Service Pricing
When it comes to leaf clean up, there are three very common pricing methods. Companies can charge per acre, per hour, or per bag. Most companies will charge by the hour for average projects, and this ranges from $15.00 to $60.00. Companies tend to charge per acre for bigger yards that are over an acre, and this leaf removal cost ranges from $400 to $700. Some companies may also tack on a minimum flat rate for leaf removal if your yard is below 500 feet square. The minimum charge is usually around $75.00 to $200. For the average property, most companies charge bagging rates per bag of $5.00 to $10.00 for every full bag they take out.
One of the biggest factors of your total leaf removal cost is the property or yard size. The bigger your yard is, the more you can expect to pay because it’ll take more time and power to get rid of all of the leaves. Another big cost factor is the number of trees you have on your property that drop leaves. The more trees you have, the more leaves will fall onto your garden and yard, and the higher the cost will go. To remove wet leaves, you will usually pay more because they are harder to clean up and heavier. Pine needles are also harder to rake up or move around with a leaf blower, so they cost more than your standard leaves.
Some trees are messy and will also drop things other than leaves, like acorns or seeds, and this makes it harder to complete the job. Whether the job requires a rake, leaf blower, or vacuum also influences your total leaf removal cost. The more advanced the equipment has to be and the more workers needed, the more the price rises.
Fall and Spring Leaf Removal Cost
Generally speaking, you’ll pay between $200 and $500 for a fall leaf removal on average. If you don’t take care of the leaves right when they fall, they can start to rot in your yard and clog up your gutter system. Also, fall is one of the busiest times for professional yard clean-up companies, so you may find that the prices double or triple what you’d pay in other seasons. During the springtime, a lot of homeowners look for removal companies to get rid of all of the leaves that fell during the autumn months. Generally, you’ll pay between $100 and $300 for a one-time visit in the spring.
Leaf Pickup Service Cost
Professional leaf cleaning and pickup can be done if you are willing to pay a fee of $30.00 to $50.00. The leaf company will come along, grab the bags of leaves, and get rid of them. A professional landscaper can haul your leaves away too, or you can wait for a city cleanup day. Another option is to create mulch out of them. Having your leaves disposed of properly can leave you with a lot less stress and work involved in the whole project.
If you have a compost bin or pile, you can compost your leaves. Compost is organic matter that you leave to decompose. Any homemade compost usually features a variety of scraps from the kitchen including banana peels, egg shells, apple cores, and other scraps. You do want to exclude poultry, meat, and dairy byproducts though. Instead of tossing these things into the garbage, you can pop them into your compost bin and eventually add them back to the environment in your garden as they break down and decompose. Earthworms will help turn your compost into a nutrient-rich boost for your plants.
Dead mulched leaves are a great compost base because of the nitrogen that forms as the leaves break down. These nutrients cna work to create a green, thick, lush grass for the next spring. Professional companies can also mulch the leaves for you. If you compost them instead, you don’t pay removal fees.
Mulching your leaves is a great way to get rid of the leaves by helping to reduce a large pile of leaves to one-tenth the size. Unshredded leaves get sucked up and put into a mulching machine where they end up chopped into tiny pieces. Most times, you’ll have to hire a professional with this machine as it allows them to pick up the leaves and mulch them at the same time to make large projects go by quickly.
In smaller yards, you can mulch the leaves with a lawnmower and attachment, but you’ll still have to pick them up after you mulch them using another tool. Shredded leaves make a great lawn fertilizer or compost, and some companies will offer leaf mulching for an additional fee. The average cost to mulch the leaves is between $50.00 and $150, and it depends on how many leaves you have and your property size.
Leaf mulch is a very common alternative to traditional wood chips, and it works to boost the nitrogen levels in the soil to make your grass and plants healthier in the spring.
Mulching Leaves vs Bagging Leaves
Mulching and bagging are two popular methods for removing the leaves from your lawn. Mulching is where you grind and chop the leaves down using a mulching machine to shred them to 1/10 of their original size. The mulch is then put into a compost bin or used as lawn fertilizer the following spring. Bagging is where you put the leaves into bags to have them removed. You can dispose of them using a leaf removal company or by your city or town on yard waste pickup day. There are benefits and drawbacks to both methods you should consider.
Mulching is usually less labor-intensive when compared to bagging because it uses a mower that spits out the chopped leaves onto the lawn. Mulching is a great option for nutrients for the soil without harming the lawn. One drawback of mulching is that if you mow over the dried leaves, you should wear protection to avoid debris. Mulching wet leaves is also hard on your lawn mower, and it can produce bigger leaf pieces. It may not work, depending on the type of trees you have, especially if it’s pine. The needles decompose far too slowly, and they can suffocate your lawn.
Bagging leaves can leave your lawn looking neat and uncluttered, and it can be very good exercise to do so. Most cities and towns will pick up bagged leaves and take them to make compost. The drawbacks of this process is that it can be a very tedious, tiring task to take on, and your leaf blower can be very noisy. You also have to have enough bags to fill with leaves and have the means to move them to the curb. While most cities and towns allow curbside pickup, there are some that don’t and will require different arrangements.
Yard Improvement Costs (Optional)
The following can quickly add to your leaf removal cost, but most of them are purely optional. If you don’t have time or the desire to do them yourself, you can hire a company to do it for you.
Backyard Waste Cleanup
Backyard waste cleanup costs between $150 and $400. Waste usually encompasses junk besides organic waste products. The size of your yard and accessibility will play a huge role in the final price. If the company can’t get the truck near the waste products, it’ll require more labor to remove it and take longer.
If you want to keep your yard healthy and increase how much grass you get the following spring, then you want to fertilize your yard. This can cost anywhere from $200 to $500, depending on the size of your yard and the type of fertilizer used. Fertilizer will add nutrients back to the soil and make your grass thick, green, and lush. Fertilization usually happens early in the spring months and into the summer, right before the main growing period kicks in. Some lawns may require additional treatments through the year, and the final cost will vary.
Garden and Flower Bed Cleanup
Generally speaking, you’ll pay between $45.00 and $75.00 per hour for a professional to clean up your flower beds or garden. You’ll spend roughly half that if you hire independent contractors who work on task fees of $60.00 to $100.
General Lawn Care
The average cost for lawn care ranges from $65.00 to $150 a visit, and most people will spend roughly $100 per visit if they have a weekly lawn care service. Keeping your lawn looking nice can be a very tedious project, and this is why many homeowners hire a company to come and do the work. Lawn service companies will come to the property once a week or every other week to maintain the lawn and provide mowing, fertilizing, and yard-clean up services. Remember that every lawn is different and the needs will vary, depending on the location, size, and season.
Gutters are a very important part of keeping water away from the house. They can only do their job efficiently if they don’t have any clogging issues from debris and leaves. A professional will typically use a leaf blower with a special attachment to get the leaves out of the gutters. The average cost to clean your gutters ranges from $150 to $225. Most people will spend roughly $190 to clean 100 linear feet of gutters.
Cleaning out your gutters is something you should do at least once or twice a year to ensure they stay clog-free and don’t trap water by your home.
Cleanup comes as part of a larger landscaping installation costs of $1,400 to $5,300. The actual prices will vary depending on the type of cleanup you need, and this includes:
- Aeration – $75.00 to $200
- Landscape Construction Cleanup – $250 by $700
- Tree Removal – $400 to $1,200
Additional Costs and Considerations
Along with the normal leaf removal costs, there are a few additional costs and considerations you want to keep in mind, and they include but are not limited to:
Your leaf removal can be DIY, but it can be a very tedious project that requires a lot of time and strength. The bigger your yard is and the more trees you have, the more leaves will fall. In turn, this can mean more physically-demanding work. Using a rake can take a large chunk of time to finish the project, and you also have to consider all of the lifting and bending you’ll have to do that can be very hard on your body. This is why many people choose to hire a professional lawn care company.
A lot of landscaping companies offer a range of different services that will vary from company to company. In most states, your company will require a license to work, and they should always have insurance on them. To get a license, they have to work for a minimum of three years as an apprentice before passing an exam.
Your leaf removal cost will fluctuate very quickly, depending on the size of your lawn, type of trees you have, and how many leaves. You can use this guide to get a rough estimate of your leaf removal costs and call around to your local companies to figure out which one to go with to get a healthy, tidy yard this season.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.