How to Burn Leaves in Your Yard Without Problems

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A lot of leaves have fallen in your yard. You managed to collect it. Now the question is what to do with that pile. One possibility is to burn it. So how to burn leaves in your yard, you ask?

Find out below how to do it efficiently and safely. Here we will also talk about the negative sides of leaf burning, as well as alternative methods.

Legal Regulations 

Burning a leaf carries the risk of things getting out of hand. But not only that, it can also contribute to damage to people’s health and environmental pollution. More on that later…

This method of leaf removal should be chosen as a last resort. However, it is important to say that it can be done in a safe way if you follow a certain procedure.

If you decide that it is best for you to burn leaves, first ask about the legal regulations where you live.

There are municipalities where it is not allowed to burn leaves and twigs outside. It is allowed to do it at home, in ovens. But burning leaves outside is another matter.

If necessary, obtain a leaf-burning permit.

How to Burn Leaves in Your Yard-Procedure

A burning leaf held upright by a human hand. The background is dark.First, read the weather forecast. You should not burn leaves when the wind is blowing or when the weather is too dry.

In these situations, the fire can flare up and get out of control, setting fire to the house or residential building.

So, how to burn leaves in your yard actually?

It is good to have a plan of action before burning leaves. You should follow these steps:

First Step

Find a leaf-burning spot that is at least 25 feet (8 m) away from any structure or combustible materials. It should be in an open area.

Tree branches should not hang above, because the crackling of the fire could set the wood on fire.

You must have a bucket with water and a water hose nearby.

Second Step

Separate the leaves from other debris.

Also, clear the area around the location where you will be burning the leaves.

Third Step

It is best to use leather gloves that protect you from possible fire injuries and burns.

Burn Barrels

Drawn gray burn barrelIt is better and safer to burn leaves in containers like a burn barrels than in open fire pits. Special barrels can be found on Amazon.

You can also make them yourself out of heavy-duty metal drums. Drill 10-15 holes there for air circulation, including at the bottom.

Put the leaves in a metal barrel, and fill it to the top with leaves. When you are ready, ignite the top layer of dry leaf material with a match or lighter.

You don’t need gas, kerosene or other accelerators to light a fire. This can lead to an explosion and a huge fire.

Cover the barrel with a lid to prevent the spread of toxic gases.

Be sure to keep an eye on it throughout so that the fire doesn’t get out of control.

 Open Fire Pits

Lay the bricks in a circle around the place where you want to burn the leaves. Place two inches of sand on that area. Then soak the sand in water for at least an hour before lighting it up. 

Burning leaves in an open fire pit in the yard

Start by stacking dry leaves in a circle and slowly layering wet ones on top.

Burn leaves with a smoldering fire.

The height of the fire should not be higher than the knees. If it grows higher, cut it down immediately.

Keep the piles small, adding leaves as the pile burns down.

While the fire is burning, you have to always be there. So, don’t move away.

Fourth Step

When all the leaves have been burned, add a water to the barrel.

If the leaves were burned in a burn pit, add water and spread the ashes with a rake or shovel. Do this several times, to check that there is no burning things left.

Remove all ash, so that it does not damage the soil.

RELATED: Read the article The 3 Best Lawn Sweepers (Reviews and Buying Guide).

Alternative Methods

Before starting a fire, consider alternative methods. For what reason?

When burning leaves, things can get out of control and cause a big fire and chaos. In that case, the fire can also engulf residential buildings. Burning leaves also poses a risk to neighbors.

It is known that in the USA more than 85% of fires are caused by human negligence when burning leaves, debris, etc.

Burning leaves can also lead to harm to people’s health. On this occasion, particles are created that a person can inhale. This especially bothers asthmatics and small children.

When burning leaves, various harmful gases are produced, including CO (carbon monoxide).

In case of the creation of a large amount of CO, this gas can enter the blood and lead to poisoning. It binds to the hemoglobin that carries oxygen in the blood. That can lead to a reduced oxygen level and eventually to death.

It should not be overlooked that burning leaves can also contribute to environmental pollution. This is manifested through air pollution, soil pollution, and water pollution.

Our goal is to remove leaves efficiently. In which way, it is up to us to choose. Burning leaves should be our last resort.

Mulching Leaves

Mulching is putting (in this case) leaves on top of the soil surface for its protection. It helps to keep your garden weed-free. In this way, the health of the garden is maintained.

Mulch also contributes to keeping the soil moist for a long time. That means less watering of your garden.

Place a mulcher blade on your lawn mower. You can use it to chop the leaves nicely. Leave evenly distributed leaves in your yard. Such leaves turn into fertilizer over time.

Very important: do it once a week. If a thick layer of leaves is made on the grass, then neither the sun nor the air penetrates the grass. And that can actually damage your soil.


Compost made from eggshells, potatoes, carrots on the soil. Next, a human hand full of soil

The leaves can be added to your compost. You can make the compost in a bucket or designate a special place for it in the yard.

You put biodegradable garbage, banana peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea, etc. in there. And you add leaves. Stir the mixture occasionally. Over time, the leaf decomposes. The compost is ready when it darkens.

Composting is an old method of fertilizing the soil, i.e. storing it, and improving the soil to produce better crops. It is certainly a healthier way to remove leaves.

Leaf Vacuum Truck

In some municipalities in the USA, a truck comes with a vacuum cleaner every two or three weeks. 

You leave a pile of leaves by the side of the road and they vacuum it up, free of charge.

Leaf Bags

2 bags with leaves, outdoor. Over the bag is a rake.

You can also put the leaves in biodegradable bags. If leaf vaccum truck doesn’t come in your place, you can put the leaves in bags.

 You then take those bags to the place designated by the municipality. They will take care of it further.

Pros: This is how you protect the environment. There is no risk of fire spreading, or pollution at any level.

Cons: You pay for the bags, it’s not cheap. It requires effort because you have to rake, to collect the leaves.

So Let’s Wrap It Up

I hope you learned a lot about leaf burning, and about risks and negative sides.

We also discussed alternative methods, such as mulching, composting, leaf vacuum truck, or bagging.

Now you know how to burn leaves in your yard. If that is your choice, take steps to get all those leaves out. You have got all the tips you need to do that!

If you have any suggestions or question about Burning leaves feel free to join the discussion. Please leave a comment below.

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