Holiday-Inspired Outdoor Decorating that Lasts

outdoor decor
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.

Beribboned Boxwood Wreath

A few bows and baubles add festive style to this modern, not-too-Christmassy wreath. Start with a purchased boxwood wreath, or make your own from fresh boxwood greenery by clicking below. To decorate, cut 8 strips of ribbon long enough to wrap around the wreath. Lay out 2 pieces of ribbon in an X-shape. Wrap a small length of floral wire around the middle of each X; twist ends together in back to secure. Nestle wire into the wreath as you wrap ribbon around wreath. Glue ribbons ends in back. Repeat with rest of ribbon strips to make three more bows. Finish the wreath by gluing on mini ornaments, bells, and sugar beads.

Editor's Tip: Post-Thanksgiving, swap blue ribbons for red for a quick holiday refresh.

Glorious Garland Entry

Welcome holiday guests to your home in style with a grand entryway garland. String a garland with fresh evergreen boughs, and use oversize pine cones, vintage trophies and a huge plaid bow to form a magnificent focal point. Swag the door with more greenery for a wow-worthy first impression.

Editor's Tip: If your front door garland is weighty, hang it from screw-secured hooks mounted around your entryway. For lighter garlands, sticky-backed removable hooks provide a stable (and temporary!) solution.

Joyful Magnolia Wreath

It tends to cost quite a bit of green to add premade fresh greenery to your front door this time of year. That is, unless you can make do with materials from Mother Nature. Make your own magnolia wreath by wrapping bunches of magnolia leaves and berry branches with florist's wire and twisting them around a wire wreath form. The "Joy" banner is another DIY project. Make it by gluing berries inside hollow acorn hats. Next, push the pointy ends of the hats into florist's foam cut into letter shapes. Finish by gluing the foam letters to a length of ribbon and tie onto your wreath.
(image credit:
Meredith Nguyen)

Potted Berry and Branch Arrangement

All it takes to make a statement is an armload of dried berry branches, grapevines, and well-formed cut tree branches set inside a pretty aluminum bucket. Finish with Christmas lights around the edge of the bucket.
(image credit: Barbara Bamber)

Wrap an all-weather DIY Christmas garland around your outdoor fence for an impactful holiday welcome. Bonus: Make pinecone ornaments to hang from it -- here's how!

Make a Rustic Porch Garland!

Brighten your porch or fence railing instantly with a handmade rope-and-pinecone garland. Not only does it transition beautifully from Thanksgiving through New Year's, it's also sturdy enough to store and reuse next year. Get all the steps here!

Painted Joy Sign

Welcome your holiday visitors with joy this season by hanging a painted sign. First, paint an inexpensive shelf board a solid color -- red or green are perfectly on point for Christmas. Next, use cardboard letters purchased from the crafts store to trace the word Joy, and fill in the lines with white paint. For a slightly distressed look, lightly rough up the face and edges of the sign with sandpaper.
(image credit: Tonya Diehl)

Yarn Tassel Garland

Tassels are a whimsical way to add a bit of color to your holiday decor. The good news? They're wildly easy to create! Wrap a length of yarn about 20 times around your fingers and then carefully slip it off so the form remains intact. Tie an extra piece of yarn tightly around one end and cut through the opposite edge to create the tassel strands. Repeat the steps to make a pile of tassels, and tie them onto long string or ribbon to create a garland. 

(image credit: Francesca Stone)

Joy String Art

String art is a great project to make, no matter your comfort level with crafting. Start with a wood slice and, following the shape of your favorite holiday-theme word or phrase, lightly tap nails into the wood using a hammer, being careful not to hammer the nail all the way into the wood. Next, cut lengths of colored string and wrap around the nails several times to fill in the negative space.
(image credit:
Tara Mihalech)

Snowy Pinecone Wreath

Give your doorway wintry good cheer with a faux-frosted pinecone wreath embellished with glimmering accessories. Start with an 18-inch wire wreath form. Gather plenty of pinecones, and spray them with white or silver paint. Cut an 8-inch length of floral wire to wrap around the base of a pinecone and then around the wreath form so the pinecone is securely attached. Continue adding pinecones, snuggling them close together until the form is full. To embellish, glue spray-painted walnuts and glittery ornaments onto the wreath, tucking them into any gaps.

Birdbath Revamp

Instead of packing away all the warm-weather containers, keep them out and use them for your outdoor holiday decorating. This shallow birdbath is home to a lighted evergreen wreath, a few pinecones, and a dramatic lit orb. Rather than fussing with cords and switches, try a battery-operated version.

Outdoor Building Accents

Don’t forget your home’s outbuildings -- garage or garden shed, for example -- when creating your outdoor decorating scheme. Try an oversize wreath above the garage or shed doors and some lit evergreens for symmetry. Even the car can get all dolled up when it's in park.

Candleholder Accent

Pretty outdoor accents instantly transform into holiday-appropriate decor with a few thoughtful touches. For example, a bit of ribbon, a shimmering faux bird, a few evergreen sprigs, and a small snowflake ornament add cheer to a candleholder on a front stoop.

Decorated Ice Skates

In place of draped garland, you can use discarded seasonal items (like old skates) to dress up a front door or porch railings. Here, the skates are tied together; a handful of evergreen sprigs, berries, leaves, and ribbon are tucked into one of the skates, and the whole collection is tied to the porch railing. Other ideas: mini wreaths or sleigh bells.

Festive Pinecone Wreath

Combine classically fall pinecones with a red-and-green color scheme to create the ultimate transitional wreath. To make, start with an 18-inch wire wreath frame. Gather plenty of pine cones (large and small), and coat them with red spray paint. Connect large spray-painted pinecones to the wire wreath form's front with 8-inch pieces of florists wire, and wire smaller pine cones around the outside of the wreath. Wire the interior of the wreath with sprays of nandina berries. Bunch holly berries with couple evergreen boughs and hot-glue the arrangement onto the wreath. Wrap it all up with a pretty red bow.

Personalized Reindeer

It's easy to add personality to plain-Jane store-bought holiday accents. Hot glue and shiny ornaments transform ordinary wreaths; ribbon dresses up garland; and evergreen sprigs, flowers, oversize cinnamon sticks, and bright bows give this pair of reindeer unique charm.

Ornament Display

Outdoor holiday decorating often involves clever use of items you already have on hand. Take those extra Christmas ornaments: Place a bunch of them (a single color or a collection of bright hues) under a garden cloche or two, or gather in a pretty bowl. Arrange on a table with a few empty garden pots, oversize pinecones, twine, or other garden accents for your own holiday-theme still life.

Globe Light Planter

It's never too early to put up lights, in our opinion -- especially when they're glowing in an entryway planter! Anchor evergreen boughs inside your planter to create a lush collar, and secure a centerpiece of magnolia leaves in the middle. Secure a tuteur around the centerpiece, and tie strands of bistro and mini lights to tuteur rails with zip ties. Tuck an extra strand of globe lights into the greenery for subtle radiance.

Walkway-Light Embellishments

Add holiday flair to your walkway lights in just a few simple steps. Tie a small piece of greenery and ribbon around the top of the light, add a seasonal-hue candle, and use florist's wire to attach a faux cardinal.

Make a Christmas ornament that works outside -- watch as we create a simple snowflake-shape design with paint sticks that can weather a storm.

Cheap Outdoor Holiday Ornament

Opt for snowflakes -- a shape that bridges the holiday season with ease -- by making this $2 outdoor ornament!

Glimmering Planter

Bare winter branches offer a glowing opportunity to decorate boldly. Braid together several light strands, varying the colors and sizes of bulbs, then wrap the braid around your planter for a fun, modern look. Embellish your planter display with a sheer ribbon for extra sheen.

Twigs and Lights

The basis for these easy-to-implement ideas on this charming front porch? Lights. Holiday lights (particularly battery-operated ones) are an inexpensive way to add pretty sparkle to any outdoor holiday decorating scheme. Here, a miniature tree and grapevine orb (set on a bed of evergreen branches) flank the front door, while a trio of grapevine wreaths (wrapped in lights and accented with evergreens and neutral ribbon) dress up the front windows. On the door, a basket filled with greens and lights takes the place of a traditional wreath.

Exterior Lights with Ribbon

A clutch of evergreens tucked behind an outdoor sconce adds just the right amount of seasonal flair. For a pop of color, tie a bow with long tails and use florist's wire to add a few contrasting jingle bells or ornaments.

Apple Decoration Accents

Pretty green Granny Smith apples -- piled in urns, tucked into trees, and wired into the wreath -- add a bit of brightness to an outdoor display. Best of all, they're cheap to buy in bulk at your local grocery store! (And if you're looking for long-lasting fruity beauty, go faux.)

Candle Collection

One of the best places to find outdoor decorating accents? Your kitchen. Take this silver serving tray: It offers the perfect receptacle for a collection of shimmery candleholders, evergreen sprigs, pinecones, and holiday ornaments. To create a similar setup, tuck in the big items first -- here, orbs and pinecones -- and then fill empty spaces with greenery.

Spray-Painted Wreath

What do you get when you combine an inexpensive can of spray paint, a grapevine wreath, and some shimmery accents? A front-door focal point that adds stylish impact. Here, pinecones and twig accents are attached before spray-painting; a few clusters of small holiday orbs and a ribbon serve as finishing touches.

Pinecone and Ornament Garland

Create a striking and festive look for your holiday front door with this pretty garland. Customize a purchased pinecone garland with ornaments that coordinate with your door color, using florist's wire to secure the ornaments. Position the garland outside the door frame, and secure at the top and along the sides with easy-to-remove self-adhesive hooks or brick clips. Finish the warm entry with white pillar candles set inside tall glass lanterns adorned with holiday berries.

Pinecone and Birch Winter Containers

White birch logs and evergreen branches add a festive touch to a tall garden container, an ideal holiday decoration for your front porch. A container of large pinecones offsets the tall decoration, and a small string of lights and a faux red bird finish the holiday display.

Pillows on a Covered Porch

If you're lucky enough to have a porch that's protected from the elements, bring the indoors out! Here, a few reindeer-adorned pillows add perfect punch to the existing black-and-white color scheme. Mini wreaths dress up the porch's chair backs, while a pair of old ice skates adorns an ordinary evergreen wreath.

Pretty Planter Display

Think outside the garland! Creating a dramatic rusty-red-and-green focal point for your entry or walkway takes just a few simple tools. Form a base for the planter by filling a pot with soil to within 4 inches of the rim. Top with a piece of 2- to 3-inch-thick floral foam, trimmed to snugly fit the opening. Cut a hole in the middle to install the centerpiece. For the centerpiece, zip-tie southern magnolia leaves and flame willow branches to a sturdy bamboo pole or metal stake. Form an evergreen collar for the arrangement by sharpening the ends of evergreen boughs and inserting them all the way through the foam and into the soil to anchor.

Holiday Still Life

Wreaths and seasonal wall accents don't have to be hung in order to be used at holiday time. Here, a porch offers shelter for this pretty collection, including a boxwood wreath, concrete container with moss-covered orb, deer sculpture, and "joy" accent. To create your own collection, vary materials, shapes, and height as well as texture and color for visual interest.

Wintry Hanging Basket

Light up your front porch for the season with glowing orbs displayed in hanging baskets. Frost a basket with spray paint, add a nest of greens, and top with an indoor lamp globe. Hot-glue felt snowflakes to the globe and add a balled-up strand of battery-powered lights to finish the decoration.

Single-Tone Accents

A single color -- even if it's green -- can be a great organizing principle for your outdoor decorating scheme. The garland and matching wreath on this front door offer subtle holiday accents, while a pair of old wooden skis plays up the season. Two metal chairs -- holdovers from the rest of the year -- and matching topiaries complete the elegant collection.

Colorful Christmas Containers

Without blooming flowers, containers such as these two rectangular planters rely on texture for visual interest. For a seasonal decoration, choose unifying elements but mix up their sizes and shapes. Birch vases hold the sculptural growth of dwarf evergreens, while grapevine balls and shiny ornaments offer pops of texture and shine.

Symmetrical Door Decor

Unsure of design choices when it comes to outdoor holiday decorating? Pick the easiest principle to implement: symmetry. A symmetrical arrangement ensures balance and provides guidance as to how much to include. Here, matching topiaries and benches offer soothing visuals, while an unusual wreath accent -- an oversize stocking -- dresses up the front door.

Sugar Pinecone Potted Container

A cardinal perched atop a giant pinecone from a sugar pine makes this outdoor holiday decoration pop. At the base of the cone, spruce sprigs resting on a bed of moss add seasonal greenery. A potted, compact "Blue Star" juniper accented with pinecones perfectly complements the display.

Cranberry Luminarias

Provide an enchanted welcome for visitors with luminarias lining your walkway. Fill glass vases one-quarter full with faux snow, top with a layer of colorful cranberries, and insert a pillar candle in each one.

Festive Window Boxes

Winter branches provide distinct shapes with alluring beauty, especially on a small scale. In this wire window basket, pieces of artfully arranged branches are the focal point. Turquoise-color faux berries add a bright pop of color, and small bits of greenery warm the scene.

Seasonal Window Box Greenery

Winter is a great time to explore all the color that evergreens have to offer. This window box displays at least six varieties accented with pinecones and multicolor foliage. Birch logs line the bright red container, providing brilliant contrast, and sprays of evergreen tucked underneath serve as a seasonal accent.

Oversize Holiday Orbs

Wrapped in bright bows, these garden orbs resemble oversize packages with their silver shimmer. Set them atop mixed-green wreaths (that match the wreath on the front door) to elevate them in urns.

Winter Greenery Basket with Ornaments

Plants don't have to be potted to supply your outdoors with picturesque charm. Try grouping together a few seasonal items, such as pinecones, bits of greenery, and some leftover ornaments. Leave the basket by the front door, or put one container on each of your entryway steps.

Potted Evergreens Railing Decoration

Repeating a pattern or plant is a great outdoor decorating tool. White-painted pots are the base to this window box, while two types of evergreens -- one vertical and one horizontal -- complement each other. To pull the design together, drape an evergreen swag along the bottom of the arrangement.

Contrasting Colors

Think contrast and focal point when assembling your outdoor decorating ideas at holiday time. In this tall container, brightly colored dogwood branches add height as well as become the visual resting spot for the eye, while a varied collection of evergreen branches offers texture.

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