To rake or not rake? That seems to be the question.
Whether to leave natures gift untouched or aid in dispersal.
What to do?
Do the leaves left untended really smother the grass?
Is mulch mowing enough?
Are curling drying leaves attractive as mulch?
I tried to address this question at Garden Rant but was unable to post a comment for reasons unknown. So since this blog could use an entry...
Many of the gardens on our street have only needle type evergreens. Oh yes and lots of lawn. Easy maintainance, monotonous,time consuming but simple care. Rake the leaves in autumn add a few flowers (maybe) in spring. You have your basic urban garden look.Pretty much the same year round unless it snows.
There are 4 distinct seasons in the Chicago area where I garden.
Contrary to popular belief, leaves will not kill your lawn. I know this from personal experience.Just running the mower over the leaves breaks them up enough, along with the grass clippings, to help the breakdown along.
The leaves that are collected(often from others curbside)and added to the planting areas,surround any perennials that do not die back to mush. While these leaves are still there in early spring it seems to me that the leaf mulch way to quickly disappear as the days lengthen and the temperatures warm.
As for the leaves blowing away, the standing stems and ground covers keep the wind from blowing all away.Not so on the lawn. If we are not quick enough to mow after leaf fall, all leaves blow down the street and gather at the house with all the great deciduous trees and shrubs.
I like the look of curling drying leaves about my garden. Even in the groundcovers.
From the pictures you have posted your garden is wonderful and you seem an experienced gardener that knows what she wants. This is not to say that you are wrong. Only that for this garden there is another answer... sincerely Gloria