Bob Vila Radio: The Rules and Risks You Need to Know About This Landscaping Hack

Burning leaves is a lot easier than having to rake them—but every municipality has its own rules and regulations for doing it. Read on to learn about the dangers associated with burning leaves and the safety tips you should follow.

How To Burn Leaves


Just when you think you’re done raking leaves, one gust of wind can scatter your piles, shake your trees, and make more work. Burning these leaves might be less back-breaking work than bagging them or composting but, before you light a match, understand the rules and risks.


Listen to BOB VILA ON BURNING LEAVES or read below:

First, check the fire code for your municipality for restrictions on any type of outdoor fire. A “closed burning” in a stove or a chimney might be allowed, but “open burnings” in exposed heaps aren’t always. These contribute to air pollution and can potentially turn into an uncontainable fire. But if they’re allowed and you haven’t been dissuaded yet, at least follow these tips for the safest possible scenario:

Opt for a more contained method of burning using a large metal drum known as a burn barrel with a lid.

Or, conduct the open burning somewhere on your property that’s at least 50 feet from the nearest houses and with good overhead clearance. Limit your pile’s size to no more than 4 feet in diameter by 4 feet tall, and only burn dry leaves, because wet ones produce more smoke.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!