Colorful Fall Decorating Ideas for Porches, Patios and Yards

  • 01 of 21

    Celebrate Autumn with Outdoor Decor

    fall scene with scarecrow
    Fall arrangement with scarecrow. Flickr member MIchael Tefft

    Besides turning leaves, nothing announces the change of seasons more than your home's front door, entryway, or porch. For many, fall kicks off the most enjoyable time of year. If you plan to host a holiday party or celebration, greet your guests with fall decorations outside your house, to set the stage for what's inside. Others are anxious to celebrate the transition from summer to autumn by decorating with the familiar symbols of the season: haystacks, pumpkins,...MORE gourds, scarecrows, fall-blooming flowers, succulents, black plants, ornamental grasses, and Halloween props.

    Festive Ways to Decorate and Celebrate the Season

    Need ideas? For starters, you can't go wrong with a wreath on the door or a bright orange pumpkin on the front steps. Add pillows in your favorite autumn colors to your porch or patio furniture. Depending on where you live, consider growing plants that thrive in the fall, like ornamental and native grasses in reds, bronzes, and deep purples that can be planted in garden beds, urns, or attractive containers. Focus on placing plants together with striking color combinations, either all in one hue—like silver—or dramatic contrasts, like chartreuse / lime green and plum or purple.

    Texture is also a consideration: try mixing grasses, succulents, and other texture-heavy plants with smooth elements, whether they be broad-leafed specimens, planters, pumpkins, or something else.

    Get inspired by our ideas that will bring a touch of autumn to nearly every space outside your home.

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  • 02 of 21

    Fall Patio

    fall patio
    A patio decorated for autumn. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Stay outside and cozy up by the fire, even when the temperatures drop. A nice, big fire pit/table with mesmerizing glass, pillows in fall colors, pumpkins, and containers of chrysanthemums set the stage for an enjoyable afternoon or evening outdoors on the patio or deck.

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  • 03 of 21

    Hand Planted Fall Garden

    fall container garden
    Fall arrangement with an added touch. Flickr member Michaël Sid-Traut

    Were you not blessed with a green thumb? Need a hand to help with your fall porch decorations? Give visitors a fright with a faux hand that's clawing its way out of a container garden. 

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  • 04 of 21

    Gourds and Squash

    gourds on patio table
    Gourds and squash on patio table. Flickr member Eric Rayner

    Celebrate and show off your harvest by displaying the bounty in a cluster on your patio table. The squash will be fine outdoors (they've been in the garden all this time, anyway) until you eat them, and the gourds can decorate your outdoor space for months.

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  • 05 of 21

    Magnificent Mums

    mum shrubs
    Shrubs of white chrysanthemums with pumpkins. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Large shrubs of white chrysanthemums have been artfully shaped into round mounds, which make a visual impact in fall gardens. Plant in late August when summer's hottest days have passed, and the chrysanthemum hedges will be in full bloom by October.

    To add curb appeal, use one color, like these creamy white mums. Count on at least four weeks of blooms; possibly longer if you deadhead spent blooms. Mums will also rebloom for another spectacular showing in the spring.

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  • 06 of 21

    Touches of Orange

    fall sofa
    Outdoor settee with fall pillows. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    There's no need to completely change your outdoor room—just add pillows and a few accents or accessories in your favorite fall colors. This vintage wrought iron settee's cushions are a neutral olive green, which looks good with brightly colored pillows in assorted prints and patterns. The beagle finds this a cozy place to hang out on a fall afternoon. 

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  • 07 of 21

    Dia de los Muertos Decor

    day of the dead decor
    Festive decorations for Dia de los Muertos. Flickr member Cidades para Pessoas

    In Mexico and Latin America, November 1 is Dia de los Muertos, which celebrates dearly departed loved ones on a joyful holiday with bright colors, favorite foods of the deceased, marigolds, skull candies and decorations, and altars. In western states like California, which has the largest Latino population among states, Dia de los Muertos has become a part of the culture, and celebrations and decor are a common experience. The Day of the Dead festivities are crossing over to the mainstream and...MORE are celebrated in other U.S. cities also.


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  • 08 of 21

    Plants for Fall: Border Gardens

    fall border garden
    Vibrant autumn border garden. Flickr member K A

    An autumn border garden can be achieved with some planning and research or knowledge about plant growing habits and heights. The rules for border gardens are quite simple:

    • Tall plants go in the back.
    • Mid-sized plants go in the middle.
    • Smaller, low-growing specimens go in front, at the edge.

    You can achieve this look in a planting or raised bed, or even "stage" it on a patio or porch with container plants.

    The plants in this vibrant bed include various Coleus (the front-of-the-border reds), ornamental...MORE okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), and red leaf tree fern (Blechnum brasiliense 'crispum').

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  • 09 of 21

    Cozy Covered Porch

    covered porch in fall
    A cozy covered porch on a late autumn afternoon in Orion, Illinois. Flickr member Jeffrey Bary

    The epitome of a cozy fall afternoon: gathering on a covered porch with a view of the changing landscape as you enjoy relaxing in vintage chairs with pillows and throws, and the soft glow of indoor/outdoor lamps.

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  • 10 of 21

    White Pumpkins and Fountain Grass

    pumpkins and grasses
    Ornamental grasses and white pumpkins. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Red or purple fountain grassPennisetum setaceum—has become increasingly popular in landscape design in the past decade. It's especially attractive in early autumn, when the flowers (those feather/plume things) are in bloom. Here, a potted small, dark fountain grass is surrounded by exotic white pumpkins.

    These two main design elements—the fountain grass and white pumpkins—can be the foundation or anchors of your fall porch or entryway display from September until late November. In October,...MORE depending on how anxious you are to decorate for Halloween, you can add props like fake spiders, skulls, crows, etc. In November, change out the spiders for colorful fall flowers and other grasses or succulents in containers. Closer to Thanksgiving, introduce cornucopia-type vegetables and fruits like squash, gourds and whatever else looks colorful and holds up for at least a couple of weeks.

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  • 11 of 21

    Fall Container Garden

    japanese maple and fall container
    Fall container garden with Japanese maple. Flickr member one2c900d

    A gorgeous autumn planter is filled with variegated green and red/magenta coleus, nestled against a Japanese maple for a breathtaking burst of colors for the fall.

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  • 12 of 21

    Ornamental Grasses and Pumpkins

    grasses and pumpkins
    Bright green ornamental grasses with orange pumpkins. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Details can get lost from a distance, especially if your fall decorations are set waayyy back from where most admirers of your design efforts are viewing them—from the sidewalk or street.

    That's the perfect scenario for a simple and uncluttered design scheme. Here, it's just two colors, bright orange and vibrant green, and two "decorations"—ornamental grass and pumpkins. You know: less is more.

    Ornamental grasses have a tendency to get out of control if not groomed properly. Even though they are...MORE drought tolerant and low maintenance, a good "haircut" and regular trimming and maintenance can keep them looking in top shape most of the time. Fall is their growing season, when they should look their best.

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  • 13 of 21

    The Grapes of Wreath

    grape wreath
    A wreath with faux grapes and leaves. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Faux grapes add a seasonal accent to this beautiful autumn-themed wreath, which can be used well through the December holidays. 

    This wreath is one of many beautiful botanical creations on display at Roger's Gardens in Newport Beach, California.

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  • 14 of 21

    Sweet Potato Vines

    sweet potato vines
    Two varieties of sweet potato vine. Diane Macdonald/Getty Images

    Sweet potato vines are prolific growers in some climates, and work well as groundcovers or in hanging planters. In the fall and at Halloween, Ipomea batata 'Blackie' is one of those black or "Goth" plants that is strikingly beautiful and even mysterious mixed with other black plants or pumpkins. Another variety of sweet potato vine is 'Margarita,' which makes a stunning contrast with the darker plant.

    More "black" or Goth plants to try:

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  • 15 of 21

    Coleus and Cordyline Container

    cordyline and coleus planter
    A fall planter with cordyline and coleus. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    A nontraditional color combination for fall is purple and lime or chartreuse green. Actually, those colors have become popular in landscaping for any time of the year, and many gardeners like the striking contrast and beautiful variety of plants that can be found in purples and limes or light greens.

    What's in the container arrangement by this deep-plum door? The tall, spiky-leaved grasslike plant is Cordyline, while the rust-splashed coleus is 'Amora'. Other coleus varieties that...MORE feature lime or chartreuse green leaves include 'Antique', 'Bipolar Bigolly', 'Careless Love', 'Charlie McCarthy', 'Max Levering', 'Pineapple Queen' and 'Twist and Twirl'.

    Besides coleus, other lime or chartreuse green plants you might want to try:

    • Sweet potato vine (Ipomea)
    • Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia numularia 'Aurea')
    • Heuchera 'Lime Rickey' or "Dolce, Key Lime Pie"
    • Euphorbia
    • Cut-leaf elder (Sambucus racemosa 'Sutherland Gold')
    • Sedum makinoi 'Ogon'
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  • 16 of 21

    Sophisticated Succulents

    fall container plants, succulents, fall porch decorating ideas
    Fall Decorating Ideas for Outdoor Spaces Try a tall, vertical planter for something different in your outdoor space. Photo © Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Give your outdoor room a sense of sophistication by combining various succulents into a tall, vertical planter. Nothing shows off a cascading succulent better than a tall, narrow planter, especially with a stunning design or color. Lower, wider orange pumpkins near the base of this arrangement would complete the picture.

    More succulent landscaping ideas:

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  • 17 of 21

    Deep-Orange Pumpkins and Gourds

    gourds and pumpkins
    Unusual pumpkins and gourds. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    A casual grouping of bumpy, pimply gourd-like pumpkins (or pumpkin-like gourds) would brighten up a front porch during the autumn months.

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  • 18 of 21

    Fall Garden

    fall garden
    Fall-blooming plants add color to this beautiful garden. Flickr member

    A dark or "Goth" plant like Colocasia 'Black Marble’ makes a striking addition to a fall garden. The reddish-pink climber is Mandevilla, and the plant with green-orange variegated leaves is Coleus

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  • 19 of 21

    Rustic Charm

    fall planter
    Old urn with fall-blooming plants. Flickr member K B

    A weathered planter is updated for the season with sweet potato vine and bright orange New Guinea impatiens.

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  • 20 of 21

    Fall House with Bridge

    house with bridge
    A house in West Virginia with a swinging bridge. Flickr member Ron Eskins

    This house in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, has a swinging bridge that features a fall pathway garden of colorful mums.

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  • 21 of 21

    Fall Votives

    fall patio with votives
    A patio in the fall with mums and votives. Lisa Hallett Taylor

     Simples touches can be added to patio seating in the fall: containers of mums as a centerpiece and a tray of colorful votives surrounded by seashells.