Welcoming Entries: Fall Outdoor Decorating Ideas

  • 01 of 19

    Autumn Inspiration for Your Door, Entry, and Porch

    fall front door
    Front door and entry decorated for fall. American Images Inc/Getty Images

    Wherever home may be, you can celebrate the change of season by decorating your outdoor living spaces with the colors, symbols, and plants that show off autumn in all its glory. Maybe you live in a region that's known for its brilliant fall foliage. Then again, autumn might be more like Indian summer, with some of the year's hottest days occurring after Labor Day. 

    Add interest to your fall porch decor by focusing on the differences in texture that happen when you group upright and fountain-like...MORE ornamental grasses with pumpkins and squash that are both smooth and bumpy. Also adding visual punch—especially when viewed from the sidewalk or street—are the contrasting colors of this display. Orange pumpkins look smashing next to the white pathway flowers, yellow container mums, and rounded dark green hedges.

    Inspiration for Decorating Porches

    Remember going for drives on a Sunday afternoon with your family— or whoever—to look at the changing fall leaves? Somewhat continuing this tradition, a subculture has popped up in recent years that encourages "members" to take photos while doing fall porch "drive-bys." What this means is that design devotees get in their vehicles or take a walk in neighborhoods looking for picturesque porches with attractive seasonal decorations.

    Not surprisingly, a few websites dedicate space to this pastime, like The Inspired Room. It's a fun idea—just remember not to get carried away with the porch paparazzi thing by climbing on people's steps and railings to get the perfect picture. It's one of the best ways to enjoy the colors of the season, spend time with people you like, and get inspired. Sounds like the perfect fall afternoon.


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  • 02 of 19

    Pumpkin and Fall Flower Entry

    pumpkin pathway
    Pumpkins and flowers line the front path of this beautiful home. Flickr member Josh Grenier

    A beautiful home welcomes visitors as they walk up the front path, which is decorated on either side with various types of pumpkins, fall plants like coleus and sweet potato vine, and chrysanthemums. A wreath in classic autumn colors and stacked small pumpkins at the front door make it one of the most colorful houses in the neighborhood.

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  • 03 of 19

    Setting the Palette

    red wreath craftsman bungalow
    A finely detailed red door is wisely not covered up with a wreath. Instead, the wreath is placed to the door's side. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    The homeowner made a smart decision when placing the wreath to the side of the front door rather than the traditional placement of eye-level and centered on the door. Doing so would have covered up the door's fine details. In its position at the side of the door, it picks up on and carries the red accent color along the front facade of the house. The red accent is echoed in the window frames, porch pilasters and other areas of the home's exterior.

    A good rule when decorating for fall is to select...MORE one color from your home's exterior and use it to set the palette for the other outside decorations. When honing in on that accent color, look at your porch, trim, pavers or other foliage in your landscape for inspiration. And don't let traditional fall colors tie you down, either. Colors and combinations to consider:

    • Purples or plums with lime or chartreuse.
    • White and silver, as in artemisias and white pumpkins.
    • Deep reds or burgundies, found in chrysanthemums, fountain grass and other ornamental grasses and Coleus.
    • Cool greens and whites, from pumpkins, squash and ornamental grasses.
    • Orange with gold, coming from sunflowers, mums and zinnias, along with traditional pumpkins mixed with squash, gourds and other fall harvest produce.
    • Black -- yes, black -- as in black mondo grass, Taro (Colocasia esculenta) or any of the other "goth" garden varieties that are quite popular around Halloween.
    • Black and white would look quite striking with a cool, modern house. Maybe add a few crows for a subtly edgy touch.

    The accent color or colors you choose can also be used for containers, outdoor porch furniture or any garden accessories at your entryway.

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  • 04 of 19

    Orange Mums and Pumpkins

    pumpkins and mums on porch
    Orange mums and pumpkins on a porch. Flickr member Kathryn Yengel

    An old-fashioned porch in Pennsylvania is decorated for autumn with orange-rust chrysanthemums and pumpkins. 

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  • 05 of 19

    Pretty Porch Pumpkins

    pretty porch pumpkins
    Pumpkins perch on pedestals on this pretty front porch. Flickr member Barbara Hobbs

    Some houses look best with symmetrical embellishments and decor: porch lights, containers, windows on both sides of the front door, and pedestals with matching pumpkins of varying sizes.

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  • 06 of 19

    Autumn Wreath, Brick Beauty

    picture of fall wreath on brick house
    This beautiful fall wreat picks up the colors and textures of the wood door and brick house. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    A study in hardscaping materials and textures: random-patterned brick facade, a brick walkway and a distressed wood door, fence and gate. The result is a rich, handsome (who can resist that combo?) entryway and front patio. Expertly rounded hedges in formal containers flank the front door, along with a stunning fall wreath bearing miniature faux gourds in autumn tones.

    More Inviting Fall Wreath Ideas:

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  • 07 of 19

    Pumpkins in Retirement

    porch pumpkins
    Each pumpkin gets its own rocking chair on this Massachusetts front porch. Flickr member Rowland Williams

    Porch pumpkins appear to be reflecting on their salad days as they sit rocking in the wind on this porch in Cohasset, Massachusetts, in early November. Black, white and a vibrant color with lots of punch, like pumpkin-orange, look as crisp and clear as an autumn day.

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  • 08 of 19

    Peeking Mums

    mums and fence
    Gold chrysanthemums peek behind a wooden fence. Flickr member Nick Harris

    Blooming bushes of golden-orange chrysanthemums peek between the gaps of a rustic wooden fence of a front yard that is welcoming, even though the sign says "private".

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  • 09 of 19

    Containers with Fall Edibles

    fall planters
    Garden containers filled with fall edibles. Flickr member Rhonda Fleming Hayes

    This entry features ornamentals mixed with fall edibles, like the ever-popular kale and orange pumpkins popped in for a bright accent.

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  • 10 of 19

    Fall Votive Tray

    fall votives
    Multi-colored votives and a vibrant orange mum on the outdoor dining table are great ideas for decorating a front patio during fall. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    A tray of colorful votive candleholders sits on the entry wall of this front yard patio area, ready to be lit while hanging out in the evening. A vibrant orange chrysanthemum in a container adds seasonal charm on this patio table for fall.

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  • 11 of 19

    Symmetry and Simplicity

    blue bungalow
    Yellow chrysanthemums pop against the gray-blue of this bungalow. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    A blue bungalow shows off its charm with clean white porch trim and large containers of bright yellow chrysanthemums placed symmetrically on both sides of the entry steps. This is an excellent example of transitioning from late summer into fall. Later in the season, pumpkins can be added on the porch steps, along with a wreath, garland, and whatever the homeowner desires.

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  • 12 of 19

    Halloween Door: Park Slope, Brooklyn

    Park Slope, Brooklyn house decorated for Halloween
    A magical web lures visitors up to the front door of this charming house in Brooklyn. Flickr member Jackie Weisberg

    This bewitching entryway can be found in the historical Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Enchanting colors -- orange, lime green, soft purple, yellow and red -- and clever lighting make this house a real head-turner.

    Park Slope is known for its many historic brownstones, row houses, Queen Anne, Renaissance Revival and Romanesque mansions. 

    More Beautiful Entryways:

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  • 13 of 19

    Toasty Fireplace Pumpkins

    outdoor fireplace with fall decor
    Welcoming Entries: Outdoor Decor for Fall Gather 'round the outdoor fireplace for a cozy autumn evening. Photo © Lisa Hallett Taylor

    The outdoor living room of this beach area house is positioned on the front patio. It includes all the comforts of a room, including a beautiful fireplace, white wicker deep-seating patio furniture, and a round patio dining table with umbrella and paper lanterns. For fall, decorative pumpkins really pop against the white fireplace.

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  • 14 of 19

    Still Life, October

    picture of porch rocker in fall
    Autumn leaves -- both real and faux -- and pumpkins make this porch a real Southern charmer. Flickr member Tracy Porter

    A Southern country-style porch wears the colors of fall. If it gets too chilly to sit in the rocker, decorate it with fall leaves (real or faux) and pile pumpkins and gourds on its seat. Leaves blown onto the porch floor make the setting especially charming.

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  • 15 of 19

    Autumn Craftsman

    red wreath on craftsman bungalow in southern california
    A red wreath for fall echoes this bungalow's red accent colors. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    A khaki-colored Craftsman bungalow with dark green trim also has burnt-red accents. A fall wreath on the door picks up the colors of the red architectural accents on the bungalow's exterior. The result: rich, warm colors that make an inviting entry and give the bungalow extra curb appeal.

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  • 16 of 19

    Cozy Craftsman

    fall craftsman house
    Autumn Decor for Welcoming Entries A beautiful Craftsman-style house with fall accents. Photo © Lisa Hallett Taylor

    A Craftsman beauty's symmetry is smartly accentuated in its landscape design, which is carried up onto the front porch. Craftsman-style porches often span the front length of the house and are true outdoor rooms that are on view to the outside world all of the time. Because of this, porches should be kept clean and clutter-free.

    An added plus: porches are the first rooms to wear the colors and decorations of whatever season they're in. Put some thought into decorating your porch -- sometimes...MORE less is more.

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  • 17 of 19

    Red and Green Chili Peppers

    hanging chili peppers
    Red and green chili peppers usher in fall in Santa Fe. Flickr member Mr.TinDC

    A home gets into the autumn mood with a hanging ball of red chile peppers. The colors are picked up in the pink stucco walls and other architectural details. And chili peppers? They're a fall harvest vegetable popular in the Southwest and Latin American countries.

    Dried chile peppers also make beautiful wreaths, which can be used during the fall or at Christmas.

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  • 18 of 19

    Fall Harvest Steps

    pumpkins and squash on porch steps of farmhouse
    Welcoming Entries Farmhouse steps show off all the pumpkins and squash that have been growing all summer. Photo © Lisa Hallett Taylor

    The porch steps of this farmhouse proudly display the beautiful pumpkins, squash and gourds that have been growing in the fields behind it all summer. Besides spilling down the steps, the pumpkins and squash line the farmhouse's big and beautiful porch.

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  • 19 of 19

    Spider at the Door

    halloween decorating ideas balboa island california
    Skeletons hanging out on the patio, enjoying the ocean breeze. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Fall is nice, but Halloween really brings out the decorating demons and divas. While some opt for a stomach-churning gore fest, decorators like this homeowner enjoy the fun-macabre aspect of Halloween. A giant fuzzy back spider makes a fitting canopy for the front door, along with a door-framing garland fashioned from black feathers. That skeletal couple slouching in patio chairs look like they've been waiting for the party to start for a very long time.

    This small-space front yard is located in...MORE a Southern California beach community where most people walk, rather than drive, down the narrow streets. Residents really embrace the outdoor-room concept of their small front yards, and at holidays they decorate to the hilt, much to pedestrians' delight.