10 inviting front door displays for fall
Friday, September 22, 2017
Celebrate fall with new front door décor that embraces the season’s most beautiful natural elements. Here are 10 fall-inspired ideas to get started.
1. Go for bright hues
Crisp white walls and a lemon-yellow door create a fresh entrance to a modern farmhouse-style home. Containers stay clean and green with feathery asparagus fern, chartreuse coral bells (Heuchera), and a mix of golden-yellow and dusty-blue ghost plants (Graptopetalum). Deepen the colors for fall by hanging a wreath rich in plum, bronze and gray-green.
Here, burgundy Leucadendron foliage mixes with orange echeveria flowers and clusters of persimmons. At the base of the wreath, two gnarled ‘Buddha’s Hand’ citrons pick up the door’s yellow paint.
2. Embrace natural country style
For a house with wood siding, all that’s needed to create a festive fall display is a pair of jewel-toned wreaths, along with one perfect pumpkin. With such limited decoration on the home, one’s eye is drawn to the surrounding garden’s seasonal changes, including the fern fronds turning bronze at the base of the house, and the canopies of golden leaves beyond.
3. Plant a vine for fall color
If your entryway has an overhang, create a stunning entrance with a vine selected for its autumn leaf display. This rambling specimen of California wild grape (Vitis californica‘Roger’s Red’) planted over a doorway turns a brilliant shade of red by midautumn and provides decorative little clusters of grapes for wild birds. In summer, the leaves (still green) provide a natural shade canopy for the front door.
Other vines with a dramatic fall display include black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata), Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) and American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens). Note: Be sure to look for true American bittersweet, rather than look-alike Oriental bittersweet (C. orbiculatus), which can be invasive. Both species are toxic.
4. Transition summer containers
There’s no need to completely rework your summer containers to give them fall flair. Replace tired-looking warm-season annuals with richly colored fall perennials, such as bronze- and golden-leaved coral bells (Heuchera), and rust-colored autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora).
Even easier than planting: Simply add a pumpkin for an instant fall container update. ‘Fairytale’ pumpkins (Cucurbita moschata ‘Fairytale’) are particularly stunning with their unusual squat shapes and eye-catching striations.
5. Keep it minimal
A single pumpkin placed by the entryway to this Southwest-style home nods to the season while keeping the decor understated. To re-create this minimalistic style, choose a single element to represent autumn — perhaps a bronze jug filled with branches, a crookneck gourd or a bundle of dried wheat — and display it where it can be appreciated for its simplicity.
6. Hang a wreath
If you do nothing else this season, pick up a simple fall wreath and tie it on your front door with a decorative bow for a quick upgrade. Here, a ring of whimsical berries stands out against a charcoal door. Wreaths of artificial berries, preserved leaves or dried fall fruits can be used year after year for fall decor.
If you’re feeling a bit more creative, make a wreath with elements foraged from the garden or purchased at your local floral shop.
7. Set out potted flowers for instant color
By late August, nurseries are stocked with containers brimming with fall-blooming perennials with flowers in gold, orange, red and deep purple. Chrysanthemums, perhaps the season’s most popular bloomer, keep pumping out flowers for months. To brighten your entryway, pick up potted bedding mums, then place the containers where they’ll receive at least a half-day of sun.
Once blooms begin to fade, bedding mums can be planted in the garden for color year after year. ‘Fireworks’ wrinkleleaf goldenrod (Solidago rugosa‘Fireworks’) lines the driveway.
8. Use dried foliage for lasting outdoor bouquets
Flanking a grand entrance of a traditional home, urns brimming with dried foliage lend seasonal interest with minimal effort. If kept out of the elements, dried foliage, seedpods and grasses can be used again and again to create an autumn display. Choose ingredients for your dried bouquet that pick up the paint color of your door or walkway for an integrated look.
To preserve your own garden’s foliage, clip stems of perennial seed heads and ornamental grasses, then hang them upside down to dry. Keep in mind that most untreated, naturally dried leaves and berries will lose their color.
9. Celebrate the harvest
For a rustic farm look, gather a bushel or two of dried cornstalks (available at garden and feed stores), tie them with thick ribbon or jute cord, then lean them by the front door. To really play up the farm feeling, add a pitchfork, wooden rake or other garden tools.
10. Add baskets
Don’t wait until Halloween night to set out baskets on the front porch. Throughout the fall, baskets can offer rich texture and act as vessels for displaying natural elements like pumpkins, squashes, Indian corn or colorful fall leaves found around the garden.
On Oct. 31, use the ingredients you’ve collected to decorate your doorway, and fill the baskets with candy for eager trick-or-treaters.
Landscape designer, former garden editor for Sunset Magazine and in-house designer for Sunset's Editorial Test Garden. Her garden designs have been featured in the Sunset Western Garden Book of Landscaping, Sunset Western Garden Book of Easy-Care Plantings (cover), Inhabitat, and POPSUGAR.