Nothing says “welcome to my home" like a beautifully decorated porch. Fall is the time for adding one last burst of color before the growing season comes to an end. Whether it’s live plants, natural elements, or charming accessories, there are many ways to capture the spirit of the season. Here are some ideas to get you started.


Photo by Janet Loughrey.

Even though the garden is winding down, the growing season isn’t over yet. Extend the season by adding plants with fall attributes such as flowers, colored foliage, and berries to enliven your porch and surrounding yard.

  • Add color with mums: Nothing says fall like chrysanthemums. With an endless array of hues and forms, there’s a variety that suits every porch style and color theme. Place potted mums on tables and stack along porch steps, or plant them in window boxes and containers in combination with other plants. Here are some tips on how to grow and care for mums.
  • Renovate existing containers or assemble new ones: Revive your containers for fall by adding favorites such as mums, ornamental peppers, and kale to existing plants for a fresh look. Create new container arrangements from scratch with tips and techniques from professional container designer Karen Chapman. Learn how to create Fabulous Fall Containers in her online course.
  • Maximize space with hanging baskets and window boxes: Take advantage of limited space with ready-made hanging baskets from your local garden center or make your own with mums, evergreens, trailing sedums, pansies, and small ornamental grasses. Check out this video and learn how to plant a simple autumn window box or see how Tracy of Plaids and Poppies converted her window boxes to beautiful fall displays.
  • Grow fall favorites: Grow these classic late-season plants in containers or in beds around your porch for dazzling fall color: calendula, nemesia, coral bells, sedum, sunflower, aster, ornamental kale, black-eyed Susan and pansy. Learn more about some of these plants and a few others.


Photo by 2M media / Shutterstock

Mother Nature is the best artist when it comes to decorating naturally. Forage materials from the wild, such as dried rushes, grasses, flowers, and berries; or harvest them from your own garden. Take advantage of nature’s bounty and DIY—or buy something ready-made if you’re pressed for time.

  • Welcome guests: The front door is the central feature of your porch, connecting the outdoors to inside. This is the place to be extravagant for a dazzling first impression. Hang a festive fall wreath to welcome your guests.
  • Get fancy with garlands: DIY garlands can be used to adorn porch railings, doorways and window boxes. Go semi-homemade by starting with a purchased fall garland and embellish with pine cones, feathers, berries, seed pods, corn cobs, gourds, dried flowers or nuts.
  • Take it from the garden: When choosing plants for your yard, keep multi-seasonal interest in mind. Many plants such as ornamental grasses, hydrangeas, beautyberries, and alliums have flowers, seed heads, or berries that can be used to adorn the porch and home. See a simple yet elegant fall hydrangea arrangement that takes just minutes to assemble.
  • Decorate with corn stalks: If you have a vegetable garden, harvest those spent corn stalks, or ask a local farmer for some. Gather the stalks in bunches and tie them to porch posts with rustic jute or colorful ribbon. You can also place a simple arrangement on either side of the front door.
  • Stack it up with hay bales: Feed stores or farm stands are a good source for hay bales. Stack them up and decorate with pumpkins, gourds, potted plants, and accessories. When you’re finished with your fall decor, recycle bales in the compost heap or use the loose straw for mulching vegetable beds next spring. If you live in an area where bales are not available, hay bales can also be purchased online.
  • Adorn with apples: Use those extra apples to adorn wreaths, garlands, and table centerpieces, or make them into unconventional candle holders.
  • Celebrate the harvest: Take advantage of the rich harvest season by dressing up the porch with pumpkins and gourds. Create a unique look with specialty varieties from your local farmer’s market or pumpkin patch. Arrange along the steps, or embellish window boxes, railings, and tabletops. Enjoy a bowl of hearty pumpkin soup or chili on the porch.


Photo by Kristen Prahl / Shutterstock

Add finishing touches with dazzling accessories that tie everything together.

  • Say it with a seasonal sign: Give a place for the eye to rest with cheerful ready-made or handmade signs that celebrate the season.
  • Don’t forget your feet: Welcome guests with a seasonal doormat or outdoor rug. Trending this season is the layered look. Try a black and white checkered rug under a seasonal welcome mat.
  • Light it up: With the days getting shorter, lighting for safety and ambience is more important than ever. Illuminate your porch with lanterns and string lights for a festive look.
  • Frame it with crates: New or recycled wood crates provide the framework to display arrangements of pumpkins, gourds, potted plants, and accessories.
  • Get cozy and comfortable: Warm up chairs, loveseats, and porch swings with cozy pillows and blankets in autumnal styles and colors.
  • Go with metal: Add galvanized metal accents for rustic appeal and a pop of contrast.
  • Wrap it up: Embellish with traditional materials for farmhouse charm. Burlap can be used as a backdrop for a garland or wall hanging, or draped over furniture and crates. Jute, colored twine and ribbon can be used to tie other materials together, or as decoration on candles and arrangements for a natural, down-home look.

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