When we were looking to build a house, we went into it thinking, "How can we make life easier for ourselves?" One of our biggest requirements was NO YARD. This is against what most people want, but we did not want to spend our weekends mowing or with the added pressure of watering and keeping out weeds. Plus, fire ants are horrible in Arkansas, and they seem to be worse in grass. At least, we don't seem to have a fire ant problem at our new house like we did at our old house. Our 1.25 acres is wooded, and although Ryan does weed-eat a little bit during the summer (including weed whacking 4 wheeler trails through the woods for the boys), it's pretty low maintenance. So...when the leaves fall, we don't even have to worry about raking. In fact, we LOVE the extra ground cover. There are still some areas that are a little too exposed to mud from the building process. I think I might ask my neighbor for all of his pine needles next time I see him raking them up.
Ryan surprised the kids by raking up a huge pile of leaves for them to play in the other day. They were THRILLED. The pile is still sort of there, and I think they keep adding to it because every day they play in it at some point.