It’s officially fall this week! I’ve been surprised at how few people around me have done anything to their porches for fall and it makes me feel like my own is way overboard, haha! It probably is, but fall is my absolute favorite and I love decorating my porch with colorful mums and pumpkins. I wonder if one of the reasons more people don’t decorate is because they don’t know what they need or how to arrange it. I’ve decorated my porch for many years now and I’ve learned some useful things so I will share with you how to have a stunning fall front porch!
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Know Your Porch
This is absolutely the most important thing. Whether you have a large porch, deep porch, small porch, awkwardly angled porch…you need to know and embrace it for what it is. For example, my porch is north-facing, exposed to frequent high winds, and fairly deep. This means that plants will do the best on my porch if they are part-shade (or fake!) and sturdy enough to deal with wind. I need to make sure everything I have on my porch is heavy enough to withstand the wind, and since it’s deep, I have a few different spots to decorate (next to the door, on the edge of the porch, in front of the steps.) My porch also has an extension to the side, but I don’t decorate there because it’s pretty blocked off due to a tree.
Buy Things To Withstand the Elements
This is pretty basic, but even the sunshine can do a lot of damage to outdoor items. I don’t have to worry about sun fading (north facing and shady) but I do have to worry about strong wind, rain, and even snow. Like I mentioned before, I have to have things that are mostly pretty heavy and won’t blow away, but I also just know that sometimes I’ll have to put things back that have tipped over, like these cute little fall trees. I did secure them pretty well with these pumpkins, and that helps. Sometimes I have to secure my porch rug with leftover paver blocks. I bought these sturdy cement planters this year and I placed them further out from the porch rather than sitting on the porch so they can get a little more sunshine. They are very heavy and won’t tip over from wind. As for my mums, I sometimes line the bottom of the buckets/baskets they sit in with heavy rocks.
I know those faux Cinderella pumpkins are all the rage instead of buying real ones, but I did that last year and the wind pretty much blew them away instantly. I buy real pumpkins and instead of stacking the Cinderella ones, I lean them up against things to avoid water puddling in the stem which creates rot and makes them not last very long (Obviously I didn’t do this for the pictures here.) If you have a lot of sun, try to keep real pumpkins in as much shade as possible also to preserve them. I also buy lots of different kinds of pumpkins and this is where I buy them:
- Cinderella Pumpkins: Trader Joes (they usually get them in early Sept, you can ask the customer service what day they’re coming)
- Orange Pumpkins: Pretty much any grocery store will have them
- White Pumpkins: You have to keep your eye out, but this year my local grocery had them.
As you can see, I have created depth and dimension by adding things next to the door, on the edge of the porch, and down by the steps. I also have more than just pumpkins. I always have buckets/baskets with mums in them and this year I found these lovely faux fall trees at Marshalls for a great deal. I jazzed the trees up a little by adding in a few more branches of faux leaves and then adding some rose gold spray paint to tone down the redness. I also wrapped some candy corn colored lights and I now I can leave these trees up all season, even on Halloween night. Adding light is another way to create dimension. I also have these little lanterns which I could put in LED pillar candles in to safely burn each night.
I also create continuity in my display by repeating everything and sticking with similar colors. Pumpkins are scattered throughout the entire entrance while mums are mainly off the porch (for the sunshine.) I also keep my mums alive by paying my daughter $1 a day to water them! Mums need daily water and failure to do that is the biggest reason people kill their mums. They also start looking more dead as their natural bloom cycle ends, but if you deadhead them, that can help promote more new blooms. If you want to keep them forever, plant them in the ground before they die from frost. In my experience, mums are super easy to grow and almost invasive with how large they get. I actually planted some mums in my front garden which I am going to rip out after this year because they don’t bloom very much anymore (not enough sun) and the greenery is taking over. Placing mums in containers with a drip tray at the bottom can help the watering situation and it looks nicer as well. You can put mums in buckets, baskets, regular planters, and bushel baskets. Having a variety of containers also makes for a more interesting display.
Things to Avoid
I know some people love these things, so take this advice with a grain of salt: avoid buying hay bales and dead cornstalks. My personal experience with these items is that they are just super, super messy. Hay bales are also obnoxious to dispose of unless you live in the country and can put them in a place to feed animals…and have a truck to throw them in the back of. It’s sad because they can be so fun and cute, but after doing as much decorating as I have, I like to avoid messy live things. This also includes cedar garland, sadly. Once it dries out it is a disaster.
I’m always tweaking the porch a little here and there after I’m done initially. Since I took these photos, some of the pumpkins have shifted positions or moved around, I’ve put the mums in different containers, etc. What tips do you have for decorating a beautiful fall front porch?
Check out some of my past porches!