Decorating Outdoor Planters for Fall

14 November 2023

You have some lovely, large planters in front of your home or garage.  They are too heavy to move indoors for the winter.  They look rather forlorn since all the summer and fall flowers have bloomed out and probably removed.  Here are some ideas of how to make a few changes that will give those decorative pots some interest through the fall and winter holiday season.

If you are starting from scratch, choose a pot that will make a statement.  This can be buckets, store-bought urns, or anything that will catch your eye.  If the container itself is lightweight, be sure that it is weighted down at the bottom to hold up against heavy winds.  A good way to do that is to put play sand (very inexpensive and available in many big box stores) in the bottom.  If the sand is kept wet, it will give you all the ballast you need.

Choose your elements in three categories:  thriller, spiller, and filler.  Thriller is that tall item that calls your attention or gives the arrangement some interest.  Spiller is some material or plant that will hang over the side, like an ivy.  Filler are the plants or elements that fill in the gaps.

As you place the various plants or items in the container, remember to be odd.  I know that is silly but it is an easy way to remember to place items of the same kind in odd numbers.  For instance, if you have three pine cones and you want to add more of different sizes, then increase it by two (for a total of five) or four (for a total of seven).  For some reason the human eye recognizes this formation as pleasing and even numbered items less so.

Be sure that what you place in the container will withstand the cold, wind, and moisture that comes through from November through February or even March.  There are many herbs that can tolerate these conditions and they make a wonderful appearance, as well as being handy for cooking.  Start with a sturdy boxwood.  This will create the tall element you can count on as providing greenery all year long.  You will need to keep it trimmed during the summer but it will pay off in the winter.  Ivy will work very well as a spiller.

You can think of it as either filler or thriller when you place seasonal elements.  Gather pieces of birch that have fallen from the tree.  These make striking additions.  Pine cones can be found on the ground and easily glued onto sticks to insert in the soil of the pot or urn.  Spray them white or bedazzle them with some glitter.  The same can be said for any small, or appropriately sized twigs or branches that can be inserted to create interest.

For the real fun part, customize your arrangement for the season.  Swap out a Halloween spook or harvest scarecrow for some gourds or small pumpkins and you have transitioned to Thanksgiving with very little expense.  A good quality artificial poinsettia will take you into December.  Secure some festive but large Christmas ornaments as the month progresses.  For January, go back to your pine cones or some leaves you salvaged in the fall.  Turn a pillar candle into a snow man or woman for the month.  Come February you can use artificial roses or even some branches with red berries and March think of shamrocks or leprecauns.

Before you are done, look at the accessories on the porch.  This includes the rug or doormat.  Lanterns make a nice accent piece.

As you can tell, it doesn’t take a lot of money to dress your porch or driveway for the grim months of winter.  Just start looking around and let your creative juices flow.

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