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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hanging Bells

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Leafy Luminarias

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

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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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