Fall leaves are always a beautiful sight at this time of the year.

I was excited to hear peak fall foliage season in North Carolina is on its way. I enjoy seeing the change in color during trips venturing down country roads, as well as to Grandfather Mountain. It’s really quite stunning!

In our own front and backyards, many of us have trees surrounding our home. We witness the change in leaf color, see them fall on the ground, then rake them up without taking the time to appreciate (or take advantage of) their beauty or value.

For those of you who are surrounded by trees or residing in a wooded area, read on for several unique ways to put fall leaves to work this season.

Table décor: Leaves aren’t just pretty to look at outdoors, they make great indoor accessories as well! Having a dinner party? Grab a few leaves to spread across your table to give your setting a seasonal flair.

Store vegetable roots: If you have a cool, humid spot in your yard, you can use it to store carrots, beets, and other root vegetables between layers of brittle, freshly fallen leaves. All you have to do is sprinkle each layer of leaves with water, but don’t let them get soggy.

Make a compost pile: Try layering three or four inches of old leaves with an inch of fresh grass clippings or other green leafy yard waste to improve soil structure.

Create mulch: Leaves do a great job insulating perennials during cooler weather. Spreading leaves around your yard to cover them, as well as rooted fruits and veggies, creates a great protective barrier.

Craft projects: Leaves create great wall art! Click here for a few DIY tips from HGTV.

Tell Me: What’s your favorite thing about fall?