Outdoor Holiday Decorating Ideas

Make the outside of your home as festive as the inside with these fast, simple holiday decorating ideas.

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Wintery Double-Glass Candle Display
Wintry Double-Glass Candle Display

    Turn inexpensive glass cylinders into little winter wonderlands. Place one cylinder inside a larger one, sprinkle fake snow between the two, and add a sprig of cedar (clip from the yard or a ready-made wreath). Pop a votive or pillar candle into the inner cylinder and display on an outdoor table swathed with a white tablecloth.

Globed Christmas Lights

    Spheres of grapevines wrapped in lights become shimmering orbs on a coat of freshly fallen snow. Place these magical globes in birdbaths, urns, or on stairsteps to cast an ethereal glow on your outdoor landscape.

    Safety Tip: Use an outdoor-rated power cord. Check the tag on the cord to verify it's safe to use outside.

Christmas Ornament-Filled Glass Cloche

    Add a little Christmas glamour to a rustic entryway during the holiday season. Hold a glass cloche upside down and fill with shiny red ornament balls. Cover the top with a festive holiday plate and carefully flip over. Display your Christmas ornament-filled cloche among gardening gear on a side table next to your front door.

Illuminated Ice Parfait

    Make a glowing outdoor parfait by alternating layers of cranberries and ice. Use a 2-liter bottle for the mold, and create a hollow place for the candle with a 1-liter bottle (fill the 1-liter bottle with rocks so it doesn't float). Add a few inches of water and drop a row of cranberries into the gap between the two bottles. Freeze the layer solid, and repeat two times. Thaw slightly to unmold and place a lighted candle in the center.

    Editor's Tip: Place the glowing ice parfaits on fence posts or use them to illuminate your walkway.

Potted Frasier Fir

    Dress up your exterior for Christmas with winter containers filled with evergreens and natural bursts of color. Make a potted Frasier fir merry with a combination of pretty garden items, such as dried artichokes, pear gourds, dyed eucalyptus, caspia, astilbe seed pods, dried hydrangea blooms, and a pinecone garland.

Glowing Holiday Globes

    Glowing frosted globes (available in large and small sizes from home-improvement stores) take the edge off a chilly winter twilight. Scatter the spheres around the garden to create an ethereal winter landscape, or group them in a birdbath or other outdoor winter container for maximum impact.

    Safety Tip: Plug the outdoor-rated power cord into a ground fault interrupter (GFI) outlet or a circuit with a GFI outlet on it.

Fir-Filled Vintage Wheelbarrow

    A front porch container overflowing with evergreens and winter plants adds a charming country Christmas ambience to your entryway. Fill a vintage wheelbarrow with wintry noble fir branches. Accent the display with Port Orford cedar, dried eucalyptus, and winterberry holly. Park on your front porch for a homespun welcome.

Poinsettia Luminarias

    Light up a wintry night with glowing poinsettias encased in ice. Start with a small bloom clipped at the base. Seal the stem with a flame, and push the bloom facedown into a large plastic cup. Pour distilled water -- it makes the clearest ice -- into the container and fill it one-third full. A second, smaller container in the center weighted down with rocks, creates a hollow center in the mold. Freeze until solid. Thaw the ice slightly to unmold both containers and place a votive candle inside.

Christmas Light-Illuminated Glass Cloche

    A string of lights nestled inside a glass cloche draws guests to your front entry. Display your illuminated cloche in an urn, birdbath, or on an outdoor table.

    Safety Tip: Don't exceed the recommended maximum number of light strings in a series.

Spruce Outdoor Centerpiece

    Who says centerpieces are just for the Christmas table? A tiny Alberta spruce stands out in this miniature landscape centerpiece. Snowflake lights and wood disks cut from a branch rest on a bed of green sheet moss -- creating a rustic, woodsy scene.

Evergreen-and-Cranberry Candle Ice Mold

    A frozen ring of red-twig dogwood, evergreen cuttings, and cranberries warmly embrace a pillar candle. The tall glass holder lets the candle burn brightly -- and safely -- amid the branches. Use a flexible cake carrier to mold the icy arrangement.

Layered Nature Vase

    Glass vases are the perfect vehicles to showcase layers of materials. Vary the materials and colors according to your own decorating scheme. Put a coarse texture next to a smooth one and put contrasting colors close by.

    Editor's Tip: Wrap a vase in layers of cloth or paper when you bring it back indoors to let it slowly acclimate to the warmer temperature so you don't end up with a cracked container.

Snowy Sled Display

    When not cruising the snow-covered hills, an old sled embellished with pine sprigs, pinecones, and fruit does double duty as a welcoming decoration next to the front door.

Christmas Light-Wrapped Bicycle

    For a seasonal work of art, wind vintage-style outdoor bulbs on yesteryear's two-wheeler from its handlebars to its spokes. Park it along a decorative wall or prop it against a fence.

Winter Picnic Basket

    This red-plaid basket makes the perfect transition from summertime to Christmas. Fill it with twigs inserted into florist's foam and adorned with frosted silk fruits and berries.

Fruit-Filled Birdbath

    It's safe to set this dazzling decoration outside once the animals have left for warmer climates. Frozen sections of kumquat, cranberries, pepperberries, and polished stones provide a striking contrast to the bright white snow.

Inviting Holiday Mailbox

    Prepare a merry welcome at the curb -- a pretty swag of pine tied on with wire adds a flourish to your mailbox. Enhance it with red accents and pretty pinecones. The first snow will only enhance the look.

Wintry Wheelbarrow

    Instead of abandoning your wheelbarrow through winter's cold days, fill it with a potted evergreen and add strings of lights. Depending upon which Zone you live in, you might be able to plant the tree in the spring.

Hanging Bells

    Line up simple shepherd's hooks with oversize red jingle bells to add a punch of color to an all-white landscape.

Wintry Birch Box

    Dwarf conifers and other cold-hardy evergreens are available in many forms, colors, and textures. For a holiday-inspired window box, plant small specimens of cedar, cypress, and euonymus in a sturdy, deep box trimmed with white birch branches and garnish with pinecones and arborvitae cuttings.

White Picket Wonderland

    Help white fences and arbors stand out against a snowy background by dressing them in thick garlands. Wrap the garland around the fence posts and secure with wire. Embellishments, such as holly, berries, or small ornaments, add a punch of color to a classic display.

Winter Lantern Post

    Old-fashioned lantern posts are elegant on their own, but for the holiday season, wrap them in lush garland and glowing globes for a shining holiday look.

Holiday Bench Decor

    Give a bench some holiday spirit with an arrangement of holiday greenery, pinecones, gazing balls, and ornaments. Spray the arrangement with a light dusting of fake snow for extra winter flair.

Star Lineup

    Bring classic tree toppers down from the highest boughs and make a dazzling statement along the backyard fence. Pick up these oversize twinklers in antiques stores.

Glowing Icicles

    These icicles, made with window screen and plastic wrap adorned with white lights and baubles, are as perfectly imperfect as the real things.

Christmas Window Dressing

    Fill window boxes with cedar and boxwood boughs, green hypericum berries, and sprigs of baby's breath stuck into a dry block of florist's foam. Protected from direct sun and weather extremes, cut greens can survive throughout the season.

Beautiful Birdhouse Display

    Welcome feathered friends throughout the winter with a feast of fruity branches and seed heads, including rosehips, red and blue viburnum, golden millet, coneflower, canary grass, broomcorn, and cattail. Top the display with a small tree-form holly, a weather-worthy birdhouse, and a dish of black sunflowers seeds.

Leafy Luminarias

    Cylindrical glass vases light the way when filled with river rocks, magnolia leaves, red winterberries, and long-lasting pillar candles.

Wintry Window Sills

    Turn your dormant window planters into decoration space by planting hardy shrubs. Simple wire stars and glowing white lights add holiday spirit.

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