Nationally, the average cost to have leaves removed by a lawn care or landscaping professional is $135, with a low-end estimate of around $30 and a high-end estimate of $550.
Leaf removal cost:
|National average cost||$135|
Several cost factors influence this fee: the size and condition of your lawn, how many trees there are, additional services and where you live. Check with professionals in your area to get an idea.
What’s in this cost guide?
- How much does it cost to remove leaves?
- Factors that impact leaf removal costs
- How to estimate the cost of removing leaves
- Leaf removal process
- Other yard cleanup services you might need
- DIY vs. hiring a pro
- When to hire a leaf removal service
- Tips to save money
- How to hire a pro to remove your leaves
- Leaf removal FAQs
- Find a leaf removal service near you
How much does it cost to remove leaves?
Average leaf cleanup prices range between $30 and $550, with a national average of $135.
Some leaf removal services might charge by the hour. The average cost per hour is $63.
Factors that impact leaf removal costs
The factors affecting leaf removal cost include:
- Your flexibility with time and date
- Size of your yard
- Residential vs. commercial property
- Height of grass
- Additional services
- Minimum charges
- Additional compost fee
- Regular scheduling rather than individually scheduling of a cleanup service (regular schedules may be less expensive)
- Leaf removal vs leaf blowing (a leaf removal service may cost more than leaf blowing)
How to estimate the cost of removing leaves
The most influential factor is size — an 1-acre lot will require less time for a yard clean-up service than a 5-acre lot will.
Start by measuring the area of your lawn. Though prices will differ by company and area, let’s say it costs $150 to clean up a 1,500-square foot lawn fall cleanup. This comes out to roughly $0.10 per square foot.
This estimate will increase or decrease depending on the length of your grass (over 6 inches is more labor-intensive), the time of year (fall, spring and summer are the busiest), how specific your date and time-of-day availability are, and whether you need additional lawn care services on top of leaf cleanup.
The lawn care company may also examine the types of trees around your property to determine how many leaves will fall. They may also look at your neighbor’s property to see if it will contribute to leaf buildup.
Leaf removal process
A fall cleanup generally takes four different forms: bagging, vacuuming, blowing or mulching. The following are explanations of these techniques:
The yard cleanup service will rake, blow, or dump leaves into trash bags.
Pros of leaf bagging:
- It’s quick and easy.
- It may be less expensive.
- Some areas offer free pickup for curbside leaf bags.
Cons of leaf bagging:
- If not tied properly, leaves can spill.
- You may have to deal with bags yourself.
- You may have to pay dump fees and leaf removal prices.
A leaf vacuum lets lawn care companies remove leaves off the yard during cleanup through suction — much like a leaf blower in reverse. They may dump the leaves in bags, or the vacuum may be attached to a truck.
Pros of leaf vacuuming:
- It’s clean and thorough.
- It kicks up less dust than blowers.
- Leaves are out of sight at the end of the project.
Cons of leaf vacuuming:
- Vacuuming, bagging and removing leaves may be more expensive than blowing.
- It can be noisy and loud.
Fall cleanup services often include clearing leaves and other debris from your yard with a leaf blower. Far more time-efficient than a rake, a blower shoots high-speed air out of a tube to blow leaves away from the worker. If you're having the company leave the leaf piles on your property, specify where you want them.
Pros of leaf blowing:
- It’s simple and doesn’t require expensive equipment.
- You can have the leaves placed where you want them.
- Some areas pick up unbagged, blown leaves from the roadside for free.
Cons of leaf blowing:
- It kicks up dust.
- It can be noisy and loud.
- If leaves are in piles, a strong wind can re-scatter them.
Depending on the health of your lawn, the company may also recommend mulching leaves to add compost to your grass. The crew will use a lawn mower with a “mulch” setting to turn the dry leaves and grass clippings into a fine mulch, which adds nutrients to the soil. Rather than paying to remove yard waste, you can also put this compost on your garden or flowerbeds.
Pros of leaf mulching:
- It’s efficient.
- It’s good for the health of your yard.
- It saves money on mulch for flower beds.
Cons of leaf mulching:
- It may not be the type of mulch you want for your beds.
- For some yards, it may not be appropriate.
With any of these options, if you want a full yard clean — removing green waste entirely from your property — you may pay extra for dump fees. Be sure to ask your lawn care professional about this ahead of time.
Other yard cleanup services you might need
Lawn care services can also perform landscape improvements through aeration, tilling and replanting hard surfaces, planting seasonal flowers, and taking extra steps to winterize your lawn and beds.
The benefits of hiring a pro to do these include a possibly better deal on individual tasks like leaf cleanup, as well as a healthier lawn and landscape come springtime — which means less work later.
Here are some estimates of additional yard cleanup costs:
DIY vs. hiring a pro
Leaf cleanup can be a time-consuming process, and it requires specialized tools.
You may consider a DIY yard clean up if you have tools like a rake, leaf blower or vacuum, a place to put the leaves, and enough free time to get the project done. Doing it yourself can save you money once you’ve done it enough times (blowers, vacuums and mowers aren’t cheap).
Make sure you have a plan in place for where to put the leaves. You don’t want to make enemies of your neighbors by having your leaves blow onto their property.
Hiring a Pro
Hiring a professional leaf removal service ensures that the job will be done thoroughly, without interrupting your schedule. In addition, yard cleanup services can also turn leaves into mulch for your lawn, flowerbeds and garden, which saves you money.
These companies can also perform other landscaping tasks to make sure your yard is ready for winter.
Making sure the job is done correctly saves you money in the long run. Because leaves smother and kill lawns if left over the winter, you’re also paying for a healthy lawn and less cleanup in the springtime.
When to hire a leaf removal service
If you notice your yard is dying in patches, or if leaves are falling faster than you can remove them, it may be time to hire a pro. Also, be aware of less obvious problems like compacted soil and pests.
A fall cleanup is about more than keeping up appearances. When leaves fall on your lawn, they block sunlight from reaching the grass. While this is particularly damaging to varieties that grow best in the fall, it can also kill springtime and summer grass. A layer of leaves also traps moisture, leading to leaf mold and pests.
When you leave this situation untouched through the winter, the grass may be dead by the spring. By this time, you’ll struggle to remove a soggy blanket of wet leaves without killing the grass below. This is why it’s important to hire a pro to perform a cleanup in the fall.
Tips to save money
If you’re on a tight budget, there are some steps you can take to lower the cost of leaf cleanup:
- Get free estimates. Go online to find nearby leaf removal services. When you contact a cleanup service, ask if they provide a free estimate.
- Consider regular services. Signing up for regular service may also reduce the per-session cost
- Do your prep work. Remove tools, toys, furniture and other objects from your lawn so the company doesn’t have to spend time moving them.
- Do what you can. The more you do yourself, the less time it will take the leaf cleanup crew. Make sure to keep your lawn mowed and maintained, as it’s easier to remove leaves from short grass.
How to hire a pro to remove your leaves
The best way to hire a leaf cleanup service is to compare professionals side by side online. Follow these steps:
- Read online reviews and ratings.
- Look at customer photos to evaluate the quality of the pros’ work.
- Search for pros who can offer additional yard services at a fair price.
- Compare estimates from several pros.
- Look for Thumbtack’s Top Pro badge to indicate the highest-rated professionals.
Read Thumbtack’s Smart Hiring guide to get more tips on how to hire a pro safely.
Leaf removal FAQs
The following are answers to some of the most common questions people have about leaf removal:
How often should you remove leaves from your yard?
It’s okay to let leaves sit on your grass for three to four days. During a steady fall, you may want to hire a pro to clean your yard every week. This depends on factors like how thick the layer of leaves is and how wet they are. Wetter leaves smother grass more quickly.
What happens if I don't rake my leaves?
If you leave leaves on your lawn too long, the grass can be smothered and die. This is particularly problematic if the leaves stay on the lawn all winter, when mold can grow underneath the snow and cause brown patches or snow mold. The layer of leaves also blocks nutrients from reaching the roots.
Is it OK to leave leaves on the lawn over winter?
No. Leaving leaves over the winter compresses them into a blanket that’s hard to remove. This blanket can invite pests and mold. It also smothers the grass underneath, suffocating it and preventing the absorption of nutrients.
Is it OK to mow leaves instead of raking?
If your grass could use some compost, it’s OK to mow leaves — but you need the right equipment. Your lawnmower must be capable of mulching leaves into very fine bits so that they can move down between the blades of grass.
How do I get rid of large amounts of leaves?
Large amounts of leaves can be removed by a blower or vacuum system. Hiring a pro is the best way to remove large amounts of leaves. These pros can collect and dispose of leaves from your property.
Find a leaf removal service near you
Hiring a pro takes the labor out of fall cleanup. Compare leaf removal services near you and get an estimate.
Protect your lawn’s health, and enjoy a more beautiful landscape all year long.