Should I pile leaves for "filling" a sunken-ground area in my yard?

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For years now, I have a large area in my yard where the ground is very "Sunken down" for lack of better wording. It is not really a giant hole but is a huge "hollow" that is about 9" deep. With all my current leaf-raking from our many front-yard trees (our county picks them up if we simply put piles by the roadside), I was wondering if I should consider hauling them to the back yard and using them for "fill" in that 'sunken' area. Or will they just "settle and deteriorate" as in a loose-mulch and not really make much difference? Then maybe is it best to just get a load of real-dirt delivered to 'fill in the large hollow-dipped-down-area? Thank you for your help, experience, thoughts!

P.S. I have already 'held out' and 'set aside' lots and lots of leaves for my composting and for my flower beds, etc. to cover over during the winter - yet still have so very much more!


  10 answers
  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Nov 09, 2020

    HI Babette, a load of dirt would definitely be the best choice for fill but it certainly couldn't hurt to use that area as your "dumping ground" it would be awesome to butterflies and all the little critters for winter bedding etc. Yes, it will deteriorate, but leaves are great for soil quality.

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Nov 09, 2020

    they will decompose because they are basically compost - so you would have to keep filling it in - I would use a load of dirt and pack it down or even rock- in some counties depending on where you live, the county will sell to you very cheap gravel or rocks or some give it to you to fill in areas but you need to be sure you don't have a water leak in that area as well

  • Em Em on Nov 09, 2020

    Check your neighborhood Handyman listings for help and get a load of dirt. Should not cost much at all.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Nov 09, 2020

    I would alternate dirt and leaves, that way the leaves will be tamped down by the weight of the dirt and break down to compost sooner.

  • You can, but soil will be more efficient.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Nov 09, 2020

    They will decay over time and you will be in the same boat you are already in. Fill dirt and then top soil would be your best bet to get rid of your hole. 9" is deep enough that you will probably experience settling and have to add a bit more dirt after the first fill in.

  • William William on Nov 09, 2020

    I fill low spots with soil and overseed with grass seed. I had a tree removed years ago. The roots would decompose slowly over time and the ground would sink. I would fill it with soil and overseed with grass seed. As it slowly sinks more I just add more soil not fully covering the growing grass.

  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 09, 2020

    If you have ever had a compost pile you will see how leaves and stuff break down over time.

    We had a small area in the front yard that wasn't level. Finally decided to do something about it. Hubby hauled a few dozen wheels barrels of dirt to level it off. Then a layer or gravel that we used our new compactor on. I mention that because if you are looking for one Home Depot (at least ours) has them on clearance.

    Then we seeded the area. Now there are are lots of tiny green sprouts coming up.

    But to do this right it will take a little work.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Nov 10, 2020

    Hello. They would decompose very quickly I would suggest to add the additional soil.

  • Betsy Betsy on Nov 15, 2020

    Hi Babette: Your best bet is to get some clean fill dirt. The leaves will just compost and sink into the hole. When you get your dirt, get enough to mound the dirt as it will settle in after a while. That's why you see new graves with a pile of dirt on them, it settles. As for your leaves being mulch, see if you can shred them with your lawnmower. Here is a really nice site that should help you with that:


    https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/mulch/mulching-with-leaves.htm


    Good luck

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