As a homeowner, one of the best things about fall is the opportunity to give your home a seasonal landscaping face-lift.
Curb appeal, the art of making your home look inviting from the street, is important. A beautifully landscaped front yard can elevate an ordinary house into a charming home and will help homes sell faster and for more money. Even if you're not planning to sell your home this fall, enhancing your curb appeal can do wonders for your home's overall aesthetic.
The best part is that enhancing curb appeal in the fall doesn't need to break the bank. Here are seven tips to transform your outdoor space into a picturesque autumn sanctuary.
Nothing says fall quite like pumpkins. They're an easy and affordable way to add texture and color to your front porch or front door. The key to adding pumpkins is layering. Choose different sizes, shapes and colors, and don't be afraid to add other elements such as mums, straw bales or corn stalks to balance out the design.
Lindsey Hyland, from Urban Organic Yield near Tucson, Arizona, likes to create rustic fall displays using local pumpkins. "Since pumpkins come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, you can creatively arrange them on your front steps, around your mailbox or in a garden bed to create a charming autumn scene," Hyland says. "To add depth, I like to nestle smaller gourds and corn husks among larger pumpkins. "
Objects placed in odd-number groups are more interesting and eye-catching than even-numbered groups, so try putting three or five pumpkins together in one area.
Natural grasses, corn husks, hay and certain ornamentals can complement gourds and pumpkins. Put your pumpkins on top or in front of a small hay bale and add other decor items, like a large lantern to add height or potted flowers to add contrast.
"Grasses like switchgrass, fountain grass and feather reed grass add movement and texture," says Jenna Shaughnessy, home design expert and blogger based in Boston. "They sway gracefully in the wind and their seed heads capture the essence of the fall season. Grasses can also serve as a beautiful backdrop to other fall plantings."
To find grasses, ornamentals and haystacks, Shaughnessy likes to head to local farms or garden centers. Many farms, especially during the fall season, offer a variety of decorative items like hay or straw bales, corn stalks and gourds. "Supporting local businesses also fosters a sense of community," Shaughnessy says.
Susan Nock, owner of Thistle, a garden design studio, based in Wellesley, Massachusetts, says her favorite way to decorate for fall is to plant a container garden or window box. She often picks three to five plants for a planter, depending on how big the pot is.
"My favorites for a classic fall look are tall grasses for height and movement, crotons for their multicolored leaves, mums for a big pop of color and ornamental peppers for a fun color and texture," Nock says. "Other favorite plants to use are sedum Autumn Joy, if I want a pretty pink color palette; white echinacea, which goes with everything; and ivy to trail over the side of your container.
Since these are all perennials, you can plant them in your garden at the end of the season so they do double duty, Nock adds.
Shaughnessy also loves changing out her window boxes by using fall hearty varietals and layering techniques. "I like to use a mixture of mums and asters with some mini pumpkins and decorative kale layered in," Shaughnessy says. "Both the ornamental cabbage and kale have rosette patterns that intensify in color as temperatures drop. Plus they like cooler temperatures, so they'll continue to flourish as other plants start to fade away. Mums are also a fall classic."
The key is to choose plant varieties that hold up well in colder weather and add the right color for your fall theme.
This one seems simple, but it really can transform the mood of your entryway. There are tons of affordable fall-themed door mats to buy to help create your autumn sanctuary. The key is to align the design with the color scheme of your home. If you're going with lots of earthy tones like brown, red or orange, make sure the mat repeats or complements that. "For the best effect, choose a color palette before buying everything," Shaughnessy says. "Make sure the colors of your flowers, plants and other decor align with the overall palette."
You also want to consider the exterior color of your home and how it matches the colors you are choosing for fall decorating. Natural tones work well for this season, but they might clash if your home is a bright color like robin egg blue or a shade of pink. In those instances, you may want to stick with a natural tan, white or black.
A decorative wreath can be a cheap and cheerful addition to your home. You can make your own wreath using real or faux cold-hardy varietals, like grasses, goldenrod, eucalyptus, dried wheat or golden ash. To add more color, texture and shape to the wreath, add acorns, small gourds, dried fruits or vegetables like corn or pinecones.
Craft stores will have a nice selection of fall-themed plants, flowers and decor you can purchase to DIY your own wreath, but you can also find beautiful autumn wreaths in big box stores and online.
Add some flair to your porch with a leaf garland. "I also love using garlands to add whimsy and warmth to my fall decorating," Hyland says. A fall leaf garland, which you can buy or make yourself from real or faux autumn leaves, can be draped over doorways or wound around railings. A leaf garland can complement a pumpkin display or matching wreath as long as it aligns with the color palette.
Lighting can completely transform a space. Adding warm lighting to the outside of your home, such as twinkle lights with your leaf garland, can really set the fall mood. Consider hanging lights under your front porch to add some ambiance in the evenings. You can also place a lantern or two or put lights in your pumpkins or small paper bags to create a soft but inviting light to your front entry.
While adding fall decor is a nice touch, it won't work wonders on its own. The foundations of a well-maintained lawn and tidy curbs are crucial. Regular mowing and trimming, along with keeping those fallen leaves in check, are essential to making your home stand out. Once the leaves have fallen, it's a good time to trim back any long branches on the bare trees. It can freshen up the yard as well as help generate new growth for the coming spring season.
It's also important not to overdo the decorations. There's a fine line between just enough and too much, especially when it comes to Halloween decorations. Try to stay away from inflatable lawn decor and don't add too many decorating elements at once. There are tasteful spooky and cozy decorations you can add to a fall landscape, but be selective in what you display if your goal is curb appeal or a quick, lucrative home sale.