Within us are two competing urges with significant environmental and economic consequences. One urge is to purge, the other is to gather and retain. The purge reflex exports leaves and runoff from a property as expeditiously as possible. In so doing, it exports "problems", requiring the municipality to deal with the leaves, and downstream neighbors and communities to deal with increased flooding. The urge to gather and retain views leaves and runoff instead as gifts--a resource to be kept around, slowed down, and worked with. There's benefit in this perspective for plants and soil of course, but also for the municipality and those downstream.
There are aesthetic advantages to the "gather and retain" approach that sometimes become apparent, offering visual pleasure even through this winter's long spells of gray. Below are photos taken of patterns in the ice of two miniponds, dug years ago in backyard clay. Quite apart from any environmental benefits, to make room for water in one's landscape is to become a patron of the greatest artist of them all.