How Much Does Fall Cleanup Cost?
When fall rolls around, it’s a good reminder for homeowners to remove accumulating leaves and tackle yard tasks before the first frost. Fall cleanup costs between $191 and $573, with many homeowners spending an average of $367.
- The typical cost for fall yard cleanup ranges from $191 to $573, with a national average cost of $367.
- The factors that influence the total cost of fall cleanup include the size of the yard, the types of services needed, the frequency of the services, the cost of labor, and the home’s geographic location.
- Homeowners may need fall cleanup if they notice excessive fallen leaves, weed growth or brown spots in the lawn, or clogged gutters.
- Although a homeowner may be able to perform their own fall cleanup, it can take time and be physically difficult; for that reason, many homeowners opt to hire a professional.
Autumn is a beautiful time of year as the trees change colors. But it’s also when the leaves start falling on the ground, which can create a mess—and a headache—for homeowners. If leaves are not dealt with right away, they can accumulate and cause problems like killing the lawn and attracting pests. To keep the landscape looking healthy, there is some prep work for homeowners to put on their to-do list each fall before winter arrives. These fall cleanup services include gutter cleaning, leaf mulching, lawn aeration, and, of course, leaf cleanup.
How much does fall cleanup cost? According to HomeAdvisor, pricing ranges from $191 to $573, with the national average at $367. The overall cost for fall cleanup services depends on a number of factors, such as the size of the yard, the type of services needed, the frequency of the services, labor rates, and geographic location. To find out rates in their area, homeowners can search for a leaf removal cost calculator or contact a local pro for a quote. Before contacting a pro, though, homeowners will want to learn more about specific fall cleanup tasks, services that are needed, and the differences between DIY and hiring a pro.
Factors in Calculating Fall Cleanup Cost
When it’s time to address a messy yard in autumn, it is important for a homeowner to consider the factors that influence the price of the services they will need. While most homeowners will spend an average of $367 on fall cleanup services, costs can vary depending on the size of the yard, service type, service frequency, local labor rates, and geographic location.
The size of the yard is one of the main factors that influence fall yard cleanup cost. Larger yards take more time and effort to maintain, so the overall cost will be higher than for a smaller property. Plus, larger yards often have more trees, which means more leaves. The more leaves that fall, the longer the job will take, so the higher the cost. However, smaller yards that have been neglected for a long time can cost as much as or more than a larger yard that needs some simple leaf removal, since it will take additional time to clean up the space. Most landscaping companies will start a quote by looking at the size of the customer’s yard.
|Yard Size||Average Cleanup Cost (Materials and Labor)|
|⅙ acre||$100 to $200|
|⅕ acre||$100 to $300|
|¼ acre||$200 to $400|
|½ acre||$200 to $700|
|¾ acre||$300 to $800|
|1 acre||$500 to $1,000|
Fall yard cleanup cost depends on the type of service needed for the property. Fall yard cleanup includes anything from hiring a leaf removal service to a tree removal service to bringing in a pro to pressure-wash the patio. Each service is typically charged as a separate task. The price per service depends on local labor costs, the equipment needed to complete the service, and the number of people it will take to do the job. The most common types of fall yard cleanup services include garden bed cleanup, gutter cleaning, lawn aeration, leaf removal, mulching, patio pressure-washing, and tree removal.
Although some homeowners may need yard cleanup help only in the fall, frequent service throughout the year means there will be less to clean and maintain during each visit. This can help homeowners keep costs down in the long run. The best lawn-care services may also offer a discount for customers who sign up for regular service. Some homeowners may need multiple visits just during the fall season if there are trees on the property that not only drop leaves but also fruit, flowers, or acorns. Those who prefer a pristine yard may want to schedule weekly or biweekly maintenance, while others may be satisfied with a semiannual or yearly cleanup. Lawn-care costs will vary depending on the frequency of the services.
|Service Frequency||Average Annual Cost (Materials and Labor)|
|Onetime visit||$200 to $850|
|Biweekly contract||$1,000 to $1,500|
|Monthly contract||$300 to $900|
|Quarterly contract||$250 to $750|
|Annual contract||$150 to $500|
Labor rates will impact the overall cost of fall yard cleanup. Some landscape companies will charge an hourly rate, while others will charge a flat rate. Labor fees can range from $15 to $60 per hour but may be higher in certain regions. Homeowners will want to ask the company if they have a minimum fee to cover the cost of travel and a certain number of minimum hours. Since each contractor charges differently, homeowners will also want to ask up front how labor is charged to avoid any unexpected fees.
Geographic location affects the total cost of a fall yard cleanup for several reasons, such as local labor rates, weather, availability of local pros, and the standard size of local lawns. Homeowners can expect to have higher bills in urban areas than in rural ones, since labor is usually more expensive in metropolitan areas. Local climate also drives prices and the need for a fall yard cleanup. Those living in subtropical places like south Florida do not have to deal with fallen leaves in autumn. Yet for homeowners living in areas that frequently get heavy storms in the fall, yard cleanup services will be in higher demand and likely cost more than usual, especially after a storm.
|City||Average Cost (Materials and Labor)|
|Houston, Texas||$170 to $660|
|Los Angeles, California||$230 to $630|
|New York City, New York||$230 to $560|
|Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||$160 to $480|
|Portland, Oregon||$290 to $860|
Types of Fall Cleanup Services
As the season changes from summer to fall, it is the perfect reminder to attend to some much-needed lawn and garden tasks before the first frost. These common fall cleanup services include garden bed cleanup, gutter cleaning, lawn aeration, leaf removal, mulching, patio pressure-washing, and tree removal. Some can be done as DIY projects, or homeowners can opt to hire a professional landscaping or cleanup company. Asking if they can bundle the costs of related services can save homeowners some money.
|Service Type||Average Cost (Materials and Labor)|
|Garden bed cleanup||$45 to $75 per hour|
|Gutter cleaning||$120 to $230|
|Lawn aeration||$0.10 to $0.35 per square foot|
|Leaf removal||$190 to $600|
|Mulching||$75 per cubic yard|
|Patio pressure-washing||$100 to $200|
|Tree removal||$200 to $2,000|
Garden Bed Cleanup
Cleaning up the garden bed in the fall is a critical step in preparing for wintertime. Some plants go dormant in cold weather, so pruning and cutting them back ensure that their development isn’t hindered later during the growing season. Another reason for homeowners to focus on cleaning up the garden is that insects are attracted to dead flowers, leaves, and other plant debris. By removing these items during the fall season, homeowners can help prevent an infestation. Homeowners can expect to pay between $45 and $75 per hour or between $75 and $250 per service for a landscaper to clean up the garden or flower bed.
Colorful leaves may be pretty to look at, but not when they get stuck in the gutter. Additionally, they can cause all kinds of issues if the gutter gets clogged, such as roof problems and water overflow that can damage the house. Clogged gutters can be especially troublesome during the winter when snow and ice thaw inside them. Hiring a pro to handle gutter cleaning costs between $120 and $230, or $1 to $2 per linear foot. Prices are higher for larger homes and those with multiple stories. To avoid gutter cleaning costs each fall, homeowners can budget for gutter guard costs, which range from $500 to $1,500.
Lawn aeration involves removing narrow plugs of soil to reduce soil compaction and allow water, air, nutrients, and fertilizer to reach the roots so grass can grow more strongly and deeply. Alternate aeration methods include poking holes in the lawn with spikes or applying an aeration liquid over the yard. An opportune time to aerate the lawn is in the fall when leaf removal takes place. Experts recommend that lawns be aerated at least once a year. The signs homeowners can look for that indicate it’s time to aerate their lawn include pooling water on the lawn, thin or dry grass, hard soil, excessive thatch, uneven growth, and high foot traffic. Some landscape companies offer aeration services ranging from $100 to $350 for a 10,000-square-foot lawn, with $140 being the national average. Lawn care companies may also charge $0.10 to $0.35 per square foot for lawn aeration. Lawn size and slope, soil type, aeration method, location, and pricing packages can affect lawn aeration costs.
There’s no doubt that leaf removal is the first thing that comes to mind when homeowners think about fall cleanup. If leaves remain on the lawn, they can attract undesirable pests and block out the sun, which destroys the grass. Typical leaf removal cost for a professional leaf removal service ranges from $190 and $600.
The type of leaf removal—raking, blowing, or vacuuming—will drive the price. Raking is time-consuming and takes more physical effort; costs range from $25 to $50 per hour. Leaf blowing is faster and can cost anywhere from $15 to $45 per hour. Finally, leaf vacuuming has a price tag of $40 to $60 per hour. Homeowners can also tack on a bagging and disposal fee of $5 to $10 per bag for each method.
Mulching leaves is a useful way to address leaves piling up in the yard, reducing them to about one-tenth the size. This comes at a time when the garden bed also needs to be covered with mulch as the weather cools down. A 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch helps protect annuals and perennials from the cold. Hiring a pro to mulch the leaves costs between $40 and $60 per hour, or a total of $50 to $150, depending on the size of the property and the number of leaves. Buying mulch costs around $75 per cubic yard. Pros often use a vacuum with a shredder to cut the leaves into small pieces and then empty the material where it is most needed on the property. For smaller yards, leaves can be mulched using a lawn mower and attachment, which can be charged as part of regular lawn-mowing costs. Mulching leaves is an efficient, waste-free process that doesn’t require a disposal fee, since the leaves are used right away.
The fall is also a good time to pressure-wash the patio or deck to get rid of dirt, grime, mold, mildew, and debris. It is best to get this service done before winter, since it is not feasible or safe to pressure-wash once the cold, snowy weather arrives. Plus, mold and mildew can get worse throughout the winter, since there is more moisture from snow and even ice to contend with. The cost to pressure-wash a 500-square-foot deck can range from $100 to $200, with the national average being $145.
Another possible part of fall cleanup could involve removing one or more trees. Tree removal is a big decision with a hefty price tag and environmental (and sometimes emotional) cost, so it is important for homeowners to make sure it is completely necessary. Reasons for tree removal include large, dead branches; a damaged or hollow trunk; roots that are breaking through sidewalks and driveways or damaging underground pipes; disease or rot; a leaning tree; or a tree that is growing too close to power lines or an existing structure such as the house. The exact cost to remove a tree will depend on the size of the tree, accessibility, condition, trunk diameter, and more. However, homeowners can expect to pay an average of $750, or between $200 and $2,000, for tree removal costs.
Do I need fall cleanup?
Depending on where a homeowner lives and what is specifically going on in their yard, they may need to invest in fall cleanup services. Tidying up the yard not only looks more appealing, but it also protects the area from debris that can lead to problems in the yard. It is best for homeowners to address excessive leaves, weed growth, brown spots on the lawn, and clogged gutters before winter storms arrive. As the season changes, homeowners can look for several signs to know when it’s time to schedule cleanup services.
The most obvious reason for a fall cleanup is excessive leaves throughout the property. This will depend on the number and type of trees in the yard. When leaves start to cover the lawn, it is not only an eyesore, but it impedes sunlight from getting through to the grass. Then the lawn starts to get brown spots and die out. Leaves can also gather around shrubs and other vegetation, which may prevent them from growing. Finally, too many leaves, especially wet ones, can spread disease and lead to mold and mildew growth. The more time the leaves are left on the lawn, the more likely they will rot, so homeowners won’t want to wait too long to clean them up.
Another reason to do a fall cleanup is weeds popping up on the lawn. If not addressed, weeds can spread across the yard and become unsightly. A seasonal cleanup is also a great time for homeowners to address any invasive weeds causing havoc. Homeowners can ask the landscapers if they recommend fertilizing the area during this visit to prevent weeds from appearing in the spring.
Brown spots on the lawn are another sign that it’s time for a fall cleanup service. This could result from leaves piling up on the grass and preventing it from growing. Also, some varieties of tall grasses die back in the winter, leaving dead debris that can make a mess on the lawn. Part of the cleanup may include planting new seeds to revive the lawn, so homeowners will want to ask the service provider what they recommend to address the brown spots on the lawn.
Gutters filled with leaves and other debris are another sign that it’s time for a gutter cleaning service. The leaves can accumulate in the gutters, causing them to clog. If this issue is not addressed in a timely manner, water can overflow from the gutters and start to destroy siding, garage doors, and the foundation of the home. When the leaves start to fall, homeowners will want to check their gutters occasionally to see if leaves are starting to pile up.
Fall Cleanup: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Fall cleanup is certainly feasible as a DIY project and can end up saving homeowners money. However, it is tedious work that takes time and physical effort. If a homeowner decides to do the work themselves, they’ll want to follow appropriate fall yard cleanup safety tips and to consider the costs associated with having the right tools and equipment. There are several types of equipment for homeowners to keep in mind.
|DIY Equipment||Average Cost|
|Garden bags (10-pack)||$20|
|Gardening gloves||$5 to $20|
|Hedge trimmers||$35 to $320|
|Leaf blower||$150 to $500|
|Leaf vacuum||$75 to $300|
|Mulching lawn mower||$200 to $400|
|Push lawn mower||$150 to $500|
|Riding lawn mower||$2,000 to $4,000|
|Robot lawn mower||$1,000 to $2,000|
|Self-propelled lawn mower||$300 to $800|
Homeowners who aren’t interested in doing the yard work themselves and don’t mind paying debris removal costs may find that it is worth it to hire a yard cleanup contractor. A professional can handle all necessary cleanup services and haul away and dispose of leaves and other debris.
Finally, another option is for homeowners to do some of the prep work before the pros arrive. For example, homeowners can rake the leaves to the curb, then have the landscaper haul the piles away and take care of other tasks like pressure-washing and gutter cleaning. Homeowners can search online for “leaf removal near me” to see which companies in their area offer this service.
How to Save Money on Fall Cleanup Cost
Fall yard cleanup costs can quickly add up. Below are some fall cleanup tips to save money as you tackle your fall yard cleanup checklist.
- Get multiple estimates. Get at least three estimates from reputable yard cleanup contractors in your area to find a rate that works with your budget.
- Ask about a referral program. Find out if your local leaf removal company offers incentives and discounts for referrals.
- Purchase a service contract. Choosing a service contract instead of paying for a one-off visit can help save money. Depending on your needs, consider a quarterly, monthly, or biweekly contract.
- Borrow equipment. Ask friends and neighbors if they will let you borrow their leaf removal equipment or pressure washer. You can use the equipment yourself or ask the contractor if they will discount the rate if they use the equipment already on site.
- Prepare the leaves yourself. Save some money by reducing work for the contractor. Some ideas include raking the leaves into piles before the contractor arrives and drying leaves, since they are easier and cheaper to remove than wet ones.
Questions to Ask About Fall Cleanup
For many homeowners, fall yard cleanup can be stressful and time-consuming. Not everyone has the time, patience, and tools on hand to get the task done, so hiring a fall leaves cleanup service or other necessary professional service in addition to a homeowner’s typical lawn-care provider is a convenient option. Asking the right questions of the best leaf removal services can help homeowners learn important information about what a fall cleanup entails, including exactly what needs to be done and the related fees.
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have liability insurance?
- What fall cleanup landscaping services do you provide?
- What kind of equipment do you use?
- Who exactly does the work? Do you hire subcontractors?
- Do you have customer reviews or testimonials I can read?
- Are there any discounts available?
- Does my lawn need to be aerated?
- Do you remove leaves from the gutters?
- What is the cost of leaf removal per square foot?
- Do you offer pressure-washing services?
- Do you offer tree removal?
- Do you have a leaf removal minimum fee?
- Do I have to be home when you complete the service?
When homeowners are deciding what to focus on during a fall yard cleanup, it’s helpful for them to have all the information available to make the best decisions possible. One way to do this is to find out the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about fall yard cleanup.
Q. What are the benefits of leaf cleanup?
Cleaning up leaves in the fall promotes healthy lawn growth by allowing sunlight to reach the grass; allows your lawn to breathe without thatch buildup; prevents snow mold in the winter, which tends to grow on moist leaves; and deters pests that enjoy frolicking in leaf piles. Plus, removing piles of brown leaves boosts curb appeal.
Q. What happens if you don’t clean up leaves?
When leaves are not cleaned up and are left to sit on the lawn for extended periods of time, several issues can result, such as smothering the grass and inhibiting growth, triggering snow mold diseases, and attracting pests like mice.
Q. How do I clean up my backyard in the fall?
A thorough fall cleanup can keep your lawn healthy and ready for springtime. The key steps to focus on include the following: clean out fallen leaves and weeds from flower beds and vegetable gardens; trim dead, damaged, or diseased tree branches to avoid problems during snowstorms; clean out rain gutters; aerate the lawn to break up soil, which will keep water from pooling; rake and mulch fallen leaves; prune trees and shrubs; and pressure-wash the deck to prevent mold and mildew.
Q. How do you treat soil in the fall?
To prepare the soil for spring planting, loosen it and mix in a 3-inch- to 4-inch-deep layer of compost as you remove spent crops. Then cover the bare soil with shredded leaves or straw. This will keep the soil healthy and refreshed.