One of the most delightful things about the Christmas season is driving around to see all of the festively decorated houses and gardens in your area. While some people go all out with animatronic Santa statues and a snow machine, most people simply want their garden to reflect their own holiday cheer.
Whether you are leaning towards a soft candlelit glow or a majestic Winter Wonderland, here are some Christmas garden ideas, suggestions and tips for transforming your garden into a holiday haven.
The most common garden decoration is Christmas lights, and for good reason. They add a glorious winter glow to your home, and are perfect for adorning your windows, doorways, and eaves, and the edges around your garage. Some people like a simple string, while others like to go the full ‘Clark Griswold’ and cover their entire home!
Here are some simple tips for setting up the most beautiful Christmas lights around your home and garden.
Wrap your hedges with twinkling lights – Your hedges are a lovely feature in your garden, so why not give them a festive dressing? Choose net lights instead of strand lights, as they make your installation process much more simple. They cost a little more, but they are well worth your investment.
Line your walkways and paths with lights – Choose a rubberised strip of pavement lights to light up your walkways. Another option is to bedeck the small shrubs and planters along your paths, or string them along posts sunk into path borders. Not only do these look festive from the road, they also help guide your guests to your front door when they come round in winter evenings.
Mix up your light sources – If you want your twinkling festive lights to draw all of the attention, they shouldn’t have to compete with the bright glow of your external lighting. Switch out your year-round lights for lower wattage ones. This way, your twinkling holiday lights can take centre stage.
Fill baskets and mason jars with strings of white lights – Fill a series of baskets and mason jars with strings of small pearl lights. They glow prettily and add additional interest to your festive light display.
Decorate your trees – You might see trees most of the year, but around Christmas you should see canvases for extra lights! Be careful that your lights are strung evenly, as they can end up looking messy and haphazard if you are not careful.
Highlight your decorations – If you are planning to place stars, wreaths, or garlands around your garden, string a thin strand of lights through the shapes. The different shapes add interest and diversity to your holiday showcase.
Make use of timers – Forget to turn your Christmas lights on, or even worse – forget to turn them off? Consider installing two to four 1500-watt plug-in timers. They will keep your garden lit safely and festively throughout the entire season.[i]
Create spheres of majestic lights – Wrap Christmas lights around balls of grape vines, garden moss, or even wire spheres of metallic plastic baubles. You can hang these from your porch, stair railings, or even scatter them around your grass or planters. Glowing spheres look spectacular, and have a stunning holiday impact.
The practice of hanging a wreath on the front door dates all the way back to Roman times, when they symbolised victory. They become associated with the Advent season in 16th Century Germany, and then make their way to the UK. The word wreath comes from writhen, an old English word meaning ‘to twist.’[ii]
Whether you choose to buy a wreath from a local artisan, a big box store, or even make your own, placing a wreath on your door will welcome guests into your home throughout the holiday season.
Here are some tips for making (or buying) a wreath this Christmas.
Think about different shapes – While the most traditional wreaths are circular in shape, mix things up with a star shape, a cross, or even a rectangle. You can buy or make your own frame, and decorate it with greenery, baubles, dried flowers, and seasonal berries.
You’re not limited to green and red – Sure, green, red and gold are the most common Christmas colours, but there are many other choices for a holiday colour scheme. Creamy winter white, glittering silver, and metallic blue are also festive shades for a wreath.
If you want to be really different, you can go off piste with seafoam green, bright tangerine orange, or even a pastel colour scheme. Solid white can also look spectacular against a brightly coloured or dark wood door.
Use a variety of different materials – The most traditional materials for wreaths are evergreen boughs, sprigs of holly, and pinecones. These look lovely, but why not mix things up? You can use wine corks, seeds, dried apples, gourds, yarn, paper, and glitter.
Go beyond the evergreen boughs – Yes, evergreens look beautiful and classically festive, but you can choose to use any plants you wish. Cedar leaves, eucalyptus, ferns, and even dried maple leaves can all look magically Christmassy. Accent the leaves with some metal bells, pepperberry springs, or velvet ribbons for something really special.
For a gorgeously scented option, create a wreath from lavender, rosemary, or bay laurel. The sumptuous smell will delight your guests. You can even use the dried herbs for cooking in the new year! Of course, the classic option is also splendid – silver fir, holly berries, and a touch of glitter.
Make use of your existing baubles and ornaments – If you are like most households in the UK, you likely have a box of old, mismatched ornaments and baubles in your Christmas storage. Using a hot glue gun, affix ornaments, strings of beads, and bells to your wreath.
Place them in unusual spots – Don’t feel like you’re limited just to your front door. You can position wreaths throughout your garden – along fences, on your gate, on your lamp posts, and at the base of outdoor planters.
Many of us take great care and joy in decorating the interior of our home, so why not add the same level of detail to your front porch, lawn, and steps? Here are our favourite Christmas garden ideas.
Create a ‘holiday bench’ – If you have a bench in your garden or on your front porch, bedeck it in lights, decorations, and winter greenery to create a focal point, perfect for holiday photo shoots. You can even decorate a backless garden bench with a dusting of fake snow and glitter.
Why not plant a massive Christmas tree? Out of all of our outdoor Christmas decoration ideas, this one has got to be our favourite. Plant a fir, pine, or other evergreen tree in your front garden in order to be reminded of Christmas all year round. Then, in the festive season, you can bedeck it in lights and large scale baubles for a truly magical garden centrepiece. Your whole neighbourhood will appreciate the effort!
Wrap your fences and lampposts with garland – We recommended adding lights to your lampposts above, but why not add garland or even wide velvet ribbons?
Flowers can be holiday perfection – While we tend to think of dark green leaves at Christmas, many winter flowers are also festive this time of year. Place stunning poinsettias in your windows, or lining your steps.
Give your window boxes and planters a holiday boost – Sprinkle your window boxes with candy canes, faux snowballs, baubles, and wooden toys.
Decorate your garden with ‘upcycled’ holiday decorations – You might have more Christmassy decorations around your home than you think. After all, many objects have a holiday feeling. Think about a red wagon filled with wrapped presents (use glossy foiled wrapping paper), an old pair of skies or snowshoes leaning against the wall, or even wellies filled with candy canes – they all evoke the season!
With shops these days rolling out their mince pies and holiday displays as early as mid-October, it can be hard to know when it is ‘too early’ to start decorating for Christmas.
While a certain number of holiday zealots will delight in decorating as soon as possible, most people wait until the very end of November, or the first few days of December. Most people can agree that at the very least, it is a respectful gesture to wait until after Remembrance Day (November 11).[iii]
On the opposite end of the spectrum, ensure that you don’t leave your holiday decorations up for too long after the season has passed. Remove your festive décor and lighting within the first week of January. Anything after that will look tacky, and can begin to upset your neighbours!
Keeping your garden decorations up for 5 or 6 weeks helps to ensure that they remain special and festive year after year.
Cork, T. (2018). Christmas decorations before Remembrance Sunday? A humbug on your baubles. [online] bristolpost. Available at: https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/christmas-decorations-before-remembrance-sunday-2185852 [Accessed 28 Nov. 2019].
Fire Protection Online Info. (2016). Light Up Your Home Safely This Christmas – Fire Protection Online Info. [online] Available at: https://www.fireprotectiononline.co.uk/info/light-up-your-home-safely-this-christmas/ [Accessed 28 Nov. 2019].
Petkar, S. (2018). What is the history of the Christmas wreath and how can you make one? [online] The Sun. Available at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/7791669/christmas-2018-how-to-make-a-wreath/ [Accessed 28 Nov. 2019].
Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches – a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.