Your garden and landscape is a gorgeous setting from its first blooms and buds in spring through its luxurious bounty of summer to a rainbow of gorgeous autumn foliage and harvesting. You can continue to enjoy that beauty through the winter when you plan for natural ornamentation long after the ground freezes and snow falls. Both inside and outside, there are many ways to enjoy natural holiday décor from your garden and landscape.
A Natural Holiday Landscape
Choosing landscaping plants that offer winter interest in their shapes, evergreen foliage, colorful bark, and long-lasting berries is an easy way to create natural winter beauty in your yard. A wide range of plants can offer unique winter features in different parts of your landscape, such as…
- Japanese Maple
This tree’s graceful, swooping branches make it a great specimen or focal plant, and it is available in different sizes to suit different landscape locations.
This shrub comes in a range of sizes, and its bright red berries stay colorful and intact through the winter, as they attract winter birds and wildlife.
With its classically shaped foliage and glossy green hues, holly is a holiday favorite, and when it produces bright berries, it’s the perfect seasonal accent in the landscape.
- Red Dogwood
This shrub really shines with its colorful bark, which is yellow at the base but becomes bright red on the stems, making a beautiful statement in a snowy landscape.
- Walking Stick
The crazy curves, whorls, and twists of this tree-like shrub are eye-catching in any landscape, and look especially distinct when decorated with snow and ice.
This classic evergreen shrub is available in different sizes and colors, ranging from a yellow-gold to lime to all shades of green, and it is versatile throughout the landscape.
- Witch Hazel
The graceful winter flowers are an unexpected surprise from witch hazel, but provide an angelic elegance to the landscape long after other flowers have faded.
The winter berries of these shrubs range from white and pink to red, blue, purple, and black, and they are a favorite treat for hungry winter birds.
- Mugo Pine
An ideal dwarf shrub for smaller yards or tight landscape spots, this evergreen is an excellent choice for suburban landscapes and provides shelter for winter wildlife.
These are just a few plants that can add amazing winter interest to the landscape. One of our exceptional nursery staff will be able to offer numerous additional options that will thrive in your yard, no matter what your soil condition, sunlight levels, or size constraints.
Using Natural Décor Indoors
The beauty of winter plants isn’t confined to outdoors when you get creative with your natural holiday décor. There are many wonderful projects you can create from the autumn and winter landscape, including…
- Boughs, Swags, and Bunches
Use pines, berry sprigs, interesting twigs, and other prunings to create natural decorations for mantles, doors, arches, shelves, and bannisters. Sharp pruners will create clean cuts for these accents, and use floral wire to discreetly shape each arrangement as you’d like, tying on burlap or ribbon bows for additional festive accents.
A natural wreath is a beautiful accent for any door, indoors and out. Use a wire form or grapevine wreath as a base, adding your own clippings and prunings to fill in the shape. Floral wire can help secure the arrangement, and a large burlap bow is a beautiful finish. For an even more unique wreath, consider creating one with succulents, herbs, or other unusual plants.
There are many ways to create natural ornaments for the holidays. Use clear glass or plastic ornaments and fill them with a pine or berry sprig, small pine cones, dried flowers or buds, or even nuts. Add in a bit of glitter for more festivity, and finish with a decorative bow. Other options include stacking graduated twig lengths into a Christmas tree shape or tying or gluing twigs into a star or snowflake for rustic ornaments.
- Gift Tags
Use thick craft paper to create rustic gift tags. Tearing the edges of the tags will add more texture, and glue on a pine sprig or berry twig as a natural accent. A small accent ribbon can also add more color to the gift tag.
- Pine Cone Crafts
If you have large pine cones in your yard, you can bring them indoors to create a variety of holiday crafts. Cones can be dipped into wax to create lovely fire starters, or use melted suet and birdseed to create a feeder for winter birds. Glue five narrow pine cones together to create a star shape, or use six to create a rustic snowflake, and add glitter to the edges for festive sparkle. Tie several cones together with floral wire to create a seasonal kissing ball, or arrange smaller cones into a tree shape to decorate with small pompons.
- Garden “Gingerbread” House
Use cardboard shapes for the walls and roof, and adorn the house with pine sprigs, colorful leaves, berries, pebbles, and other natural accents for a decorative house that won’t threaten your waistline. Consider gravel, mulch, and other supplies from your garden center to add even more interest to the piece.
- Accented Candles
Gently warm the surface of a large pillar candle and press natural accents into the soft wax to add decoration. Cedar and arborvitae sprigs are great choices, and could be left on the candle or peeled off to leave a clean, elegant impression. Any color candle can be used, or you can create arrangements with several candles in seasonal colors.
- Wood Slice Decorations
Cut thin slices of larger pruned branches to create rustic decorations. Use sandpaper in different grits to smooth the cut surface, leaving the rough bark intact for interest. You can use wood-burning tools to create patterns, words, or personalization on each slice, then varnish the slices to seal them and create a glossy finish.
- Branch Décor
Medium and large branches can become fun natural décor in your home. Use a spade bit to drill shallow impressions into a branch to hold tea light candles, or use a large, regular drill bit to create support for taper candles. You can wrap the branch with colorful holiday ribbon for even more festivity.
- Walnut Characters and Scenes
Walnut shells of all sizes can be made into delicate and amazing decorations. Shell the nuts, then fill each half with miniature scenes, animal characters sculpted from modeling clay, or a classic nativity. Shells can also be painted to become ladybugs or bumblebees, or left natural and accented with a pompon nose, googly eyes, and felt antlers to become happy reindeer.
There are many fun, rustic, easy crafts that can bring natural décor and ornaments into your home for the holidays and help you appreciate and enjoy how beautiful nature is all year long.