WRITER | JEANINE MATLOW
PHOTOS | ENGLISH GARDENS
While holiday lights get a lot of attention, there’s more than one form of outdoor décor that can set a festive tone around your home this time of year. With some pretty and practical applications, you can let nature take the lead with your festive embellishments.
According to Kim Milewski, general manager of the Plymouth English Gardens location, there are plenty of ways to spruce up your property for the holidays, with some seasonal decorations even stretching a little beyond. For starters, evergreen container gardens featuring fresh greens, winter berries, and pinecones elevate your entryway. “It can be anything from glitz and glam to natural greenery,” she says.
With its Christmas tree shape, a Holly Alberta Spruce already has the perfect form to adorn a front porch or back patio. Colorful containers further highlight your holiday shrubs. Think shiny red pots that send a cheerful message.
When planning and planting your seasonal arrangements, you can also consider regular visitors like birds. Milewski suggests spreading some peanut butter or Crisco on sizable pinecones before rolling them in birdseed or stringing popcorn and cranberries for critters to nibble on. “They make great bird feeders, and along with feeding wildlife, you get something decorative,” she says.
Other decorative measures might include pinecones on sticks that can be tucked into trees and shatterproof ornaments that come in a variety of sizes and shapes to get your branches in the holiday spirit. Create a playful mix with finials that feature glitter and gold. “There are multiple colors and styles out there, including snowflake decorations that let you transition from Christmas to winter,” Milewski says.
Solar snowflake stakes can brighten your walkway during the darker months, while yard art characters like snowmen and reindeer can be secured in the ground or added to holiday pots filled with greens. You can also spread joy with wood boards that have classic sayings like “Let it Snow.”
Seasonal doormats and wreaths are a great way to welcome guests and greet delivery drivers hauling all those holiday packages. Wreaths can range from simple greens to glitz and glitter with your ornamentation. Fresh kissing balls can also hang outside the home to mark the holiday season. “Decorate them with pretty ribbons that can coordinate with your porch pots or wreaths,” says Milewski. “You can hang them on shepherd’s hooks or under the eaves of the house by the front door.”
On a similar note, fresh greens in hanging baskets can join seasonal garland to signal a celebratory mood with a mix of boxwood and white pine cedar roping. You can even update an old faux wreath with a beautiful bow and some fresh greens. Artificial floral picks like poinsettia and hydrangea add a festive touch at the base of a wreath. For garland and wreaths, fresh and faux elements blend well together.
It’s easy to enhance containers you already own and display with the addition of shatterproof ornaments on sticks. “When your petunias fizzle out and the mums are done, you can leave your soil intact and add a bunch of spruce or other fresh-cut greens,” says Milewski. Curly willow, glitter branches, and birch poles contribute to your seasonal arrangements as well.
It’s okay to stray from the classics when it comes to the color palette of your holiday décor. Look to current trends for inspiration, like shades of teal that breathe new life into more traditional elements. “It’s a great theme with other jewel tones,” she says. “Rose gold is also really popular for ornaments right now.”
For a Christmas combo with a twist, red and pink are popping up this season. “It’s a little more whimsical,” says Milewski, who has also seen some paler pairings like light blue and ivory work well together.
It shouldn’t take a major effort to make a statement near your entry. Those who feel they lack the time or talent to lend that special touch can take a simple approach by accentuating garden statues with custom bows made to order or with seasonal trees in urns that are decorated and ready to go.
Consider the winter months when dressing your outdoor space. “A lot of people close up shop and move on after summer and fall gardening when some of these greens can really last through March,” she says. “You can add a little more glitz for Christmas and return to a more natural look for the rest of the season.”