Making the exterior of your home look beautiful, warm, and welcoming is one of the most festive—and challenging—parts of holiday prep. We recommend highlighting your existing landscaping and exterior elements when you trim your home for the holidays.

Try these tips for holiday decorating, in order from easiest to Clark-Griswold-advanced.

Holiday Tree

Spruce Up Planters – Literally

Swap outdoor container arrangements from summer with beautiful evergreen branches, holly sprigs, and winterberry for December. Entwine some white lights to give it a magical feel as guests walk up to your door.

Create a Vignette or Winter Scene

Holiday decorating can be as easy as setting out things you already own to create a wintry scene on your porch or front yard. More than just plugging in an automated Santa, try ideas like placing red pillows on your front bench, setting out your Radio Flyer wagon with birch logs, or setting up a porch-size Christmas tree complete with gifts.

Luminaries and Lanterns

At this darkest time of year, using lights, candles, and lanterns has always been a welcoming way to decorate. Place lanterns with red ribbons along your walkway, fill lanterns with white Christmas lights, or light candles inside mason jars to light the way.

To make luminaries (kids can participate too!) use white paper bags with a few inches of sand at the bottom, and place lit tea lights inside as the sun goes down or guests start to arrive. Use battery-powered lights to be more safety-conscious.


Wrap Tree Trunks and Branches with Lights

Let’s talk string lights. There are many tips on how to choose, attach, or maximize the effect of string lights on your home. Decorating your trees and landscaping can be daunting. Focus on one or two spotlight trees, and begin at the base with the male end plugged into power. Wrap the trunk in a tight pattern and extend your lighting several feet into the larger branches. Use extending poles and ladders to safely reach the branches, and use this calculator to determine how many lights you’ll need. For bushes and hedges, net lights are easiest, but if you’d rather do it yourself, remember to make the pattern random and decorate while the string is lit.

Choose a Theme

For the truly brave, choose a holiday theme and run with it. Go for Santa’s workshop, the full Nativity, rustic woodland décor, the Polar Express, or Tropical Christmas. Between light-up displays, animated figures, or strategically placed bows and lights, you could build out any holiday theme of your choice.

Whatever decor you choose, happy decorating, and happy holidays, from the team at Sutherland Landscape!