Holiday-Inspired Outdoor Decorating that Lasts

Dress up your front porch and yard with these holiday outdoor decorating ideas that last from the first days of fall through the New Year. They look great on a porch or just outside your door.

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Outdoor Christmas Decorating Ideas

Make the outside of your home as ready for the holiday season as the inside with these outdoor Christmas decorating ideas. Our holiday decorating ideas, including beautiful Christmas greenery, festive light displays, and more, are sure to get your yard Christmas-ready.

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Grow Beautiful Amaryllis

Amaryllis flowers are easy to grow from bulbs and great for adding color to your holiday decor.

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Deer-Resistant Shade Plants

Gardening in the shade where deer are plentiful can be a challenging situation. But there are plants that thrive in the shade that aren't tempting to hungry deer. Although no plant can be considered completely deer-resistant, here's a list of shade dwellers that most deer avoid. Plus, we've added some fun facts about deer that might help you understand them better.

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Shrubs with Winter Interest

A winter landscape has a beauty all its own. An unexpected plant feature -- winter blooms that perfume the air, bright berries, colorful or textured foliage or unusual bark -- add a welcome element to gardens. These winter shrubs will not disappoint.

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Tips for Moving Plants Indoors

Here's a handy guide for moving your favorite plants inside once the weather turns cold.

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Winter Landscape Tips from the Test Garden

Is your garden as attractive in the snow as it is in the summer? If not, follow these ideas and examples from our Test Garden manager Sandra Gerdes.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Evergreens Reign Supreme

      Evergreens are the backbone of any cold-climate winter garden. Evergreen trees and shrubs, like the compact Colorado spruce shown here (grown as a standard), contribute color, texture, and form regardless of snow cover.

    • Many Shades of Evergreen

      Consider using evergreens in a variety of colors to add an extra dimension to the winter landscape. Here, the medium green of Serbian spruce (Picea omorika 'Pendula') contrasts with the steely blue foliage of Colorado spruce (Picea pungens 'Glauca Procumbens').

    • Greatness of Grass

      Ornamental grasses left unsheared are a vital part of the winter landscape in the Test Garden. Here, dwarf fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln') provides delicate texture and color against a stark white blanket of snow.

    • Swinging and Swaying

      In addition to their color and texture, taller ornamental grasses add movement to the winter garden. In the Test Garden, the tall fronds of maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) sway gracefully in the gentlest of breezes.

    • Fruit and Berries

      Many trees and shrubs color the landscape with fruit during the winter. The 'Donald Wyman' crabapples that circle the Test Garden's central plaza hold their fruit until spring, when they erupt in a spectacular display of flowers. Other plants with colorful winter fruit include holly, snowberry, bittersweet, and viburnum.

    • The Other Evergreens

      Evergreen perennials are a mainstay in the winter garden. Yucca (shown here) along with hellebores, pachysandra, euonymus, and waldsteinia are some of the best in our Test Garden.

    • Clinging Leaves

      Not all deciduous trees drop their leaves when fall comes. This young red oak (Quercus rubra) retains its dry leaves throughout most of the winter, creating a tan accent in the garden.

    • Vines in Winter

      In summer, vines like this sweet autumn clematis help soften the sharp lines of a fence top. They can provide the same service in winter. The effect is particularly striking after a heavy snowfall.

    • Easy Eye Appeal

      Structures of all sorts can offer eye-appeal in the winter garden. They can be as complex as this obelisk or as simple as a tepee constructed with bamboo poles.

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      Good-Looking Shed

      The Test Garden shed is a good example of making utilitarian garden structures as attractive as possible. Although you might not have the means to create something as elaborate as this one, consider how a new coat of paint might turn your own garden shed into a contributing part of the winter landscape.

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      Snow-Covered Limbs

      Trees and shrubs that hold their bare limbs horizontally, such as pagoda dogwood, will catch the snow and form striking designs in black and white. Trees with cascading branches, like our weeping crabapple 'Louisa', also provide interesting winter silhouettes.

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      If you don't have trees and shrubs with snow-catching elements, you can add them in the structures of your garden. Here, a horizontal framing element from an arbor serves the purpose. Rail fences are also especially adept at catching an armload of snow.

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      Wall of Delight

      Retaining walls can be decorative in the winter landscape, even if they aren't dusted with snow. The key is to select materials that offer attractive colors or textures in their own right.

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      Bark with Some Bite

      When trees and shrubs lose their leaves in the fall, other portions of their anatomy come into better view. Trees with highly textured bark, like this Eastern redbud, should be a part of every garden, but especially one where winters are dark and cold. Other plants noted for their attractive bark include paperbark maple, redosier dogwood, and river birch.

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      Ornamental Beauty

      There are many ways to add year-round beauty to a garden. One of the easiest is simply to use decorative garden ornaments designed to be left outdoors. Here, a tile set into a retaining wall reminds visitors of what this garden will be like in a few short months when the warmth return. Statues, fountains, and architectural elements like pedestals can help bring life to a dormant garden.

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      Shed Some Light

      Even on the bleakest winter evening, there is something magical about pools of illumination from a well-placed light fixture, especially if it is also attractive during the day. This simple custom-designed fixture is one of several that light the path that meanders around the Test Garden.

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      Path to Glory

      You can encourage winter walks in the garden if you include paths that can take the traffic in any weather. This crushed rock path, outlined with limestone, invites visitors to explore the garden in every season.

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      Next Slideshow Growing a Test Garden

      Growing a Test Garden

      Garden editor Doug Jimerson created the original Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden at his own home. His project has evolved to encompass flowers, vegetables, structures, water features, and relaxing vignettes that a home gardener can replicate.
      Begin Slideshow »



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