Photo of raking leaves onto landscape fabric

The Easy No-bag Leaf Pickup Solution

Summary: Use a piece of landscape fabric to lift and dump leaves into a container, then use a tamper to compact them, fitting in far more than you’d thought possible!

Whether your home has curbside compost collection available, or a community leaf dropoff site for composting autumn/fall leaves, there’s a much easier and more environmentally responsible way to clear your lawn of fallen leaves than to put them in plastic bags.

The trick is to efficiently transfer the leaves from your lawn into a large container and compact them. Here’s how:


  1. Landscape fabric: An approximately 4ft x 8 ft piece of it. (Example of landscape fabric.)
  2. A tamper tool. Ours is 10″ x 10″ but 8″ x 8″ should work too. (Example of a tamper.)
  3. Either the largest curbside compost bin available to you OR any comparably large and sturdy bin that you can fit in the back of your car or truck to take it to the leaf dropoff site.  (If you don’t need the biggest curbside composting bin the rest of the year, switch to the biggest one for the fall and then switch back to a smaller size after you’re done with raking leaves.)


  1. Photo of raking leaves onto landscape fabricRake leaves into small to medium size piles.
  2. Lay the piece of landscape fabric down next to a pile.
  3. Rake leaves onto the middle of the landscape fabric.
  4. Pick up the fabric by the corners, using it as a kind of temporary bag.
  5. Dump the leaves into the container.
  6. Each time the container fills up, put the piece of landscape fabric on the leaves, then use the tamper to compact them. You may be surprised what  large volume of leaves you can compact into the container!
  7. Photo of tamper on landscape fabric on leaves in containerIf you leaves remain on the ground after you can’t fit any more leaves in, just repeat the process after your next curbside compost collection.