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Holiday Outdoor Decorating Tips from Mariani Landscape

From the Editors of Traditional Home
  • Want to make the exterior of your home just as classically welcoming with holiday cheer as your interior? We turned to Chicago’s award-winning firm Mariani Landscape for tips on giving your home’s landscape a festive, timeless look you’ll love.

    All tips and images courtesy of Mariani Landscape.

  • Highlight Your Yard’s Natural Beauty

    Illumination of a solitary tree in the landscape can make a subtle and elegant statement. The Mariani firm suggests highlighting the natural structure of the tree with intricate branch wrapping. Be careful not to disturb spring blooming branches. Create a pathway of light that leads to your front door.

  • Utilize Summer Planting Pots

    In colder climates, it’s important to remove your summer or fall plants and soil from your outdoor pots. If the pots are weatherproof, the holidays are a great time to fill them with cut evergreen boughs, branches and berries. Look around your yard and use found items such as pine, boxwood, yew, and holly, or try dried hydrangea flowers and seedpods. A winter display arrangement adds the finishing touch to your garden and looks beautiful under a light dusting of snow. 

  • Dress Up the Doorway

    Use live trees to dress up your front entrance. Smaller specimens, such as Frasier fir and Alberta spruce, are readily available in potted containers. Slip the tree into your existing pots and cover the edges with evergreen boughs. When the season is over, you will have a beautiful evergreen for that perfect spot in your garden—thus multiplying your investment.

  • Give Guests a Welcoming First Impression

    Create an inviting holiday mailbox—a pretty swag of pine tied on with wire adds a seasonal flourish. Enhance it with red accents and pinecones.  

  • Customize Outdoor Arrangements

    With a foundation of noble, Frasier and silver fir, you can build a custom pot. Try installing it early in the season and changing a few elements to give it a different feel. Add pheasant feathers, birch branches and gourds for an early start at Thanksgiving and then switch it out. Add winterberry and holly for a traditional statement to take you through Christmas, and then adorn it with white lights and silver glitter sprays for New Year’s. 

  • Natural Beauty

    Natural materials are the easiest to work with for an exterior display. Embellishments such as holly, berries, or small ornaments, add a punch of color. A bright red velvet bow on a fir wreath is a classic we love.

  • Go with Garlands

    When the long nights of winter arrive, fresh evergreen garland draped on a front porch creates a traditional, polished look. When lit with white lights, the garland creates a festive welcome.

  • Think Outside the Box

    While looking at the architecture of your house, consider a non-traditionally shaped wreath, such as a square boxwood wreath adorned with faux fruit and berries, and hang it on an angle. Sometimes this twist can bridge the season from Thanksgiving to Christmas and on into the New Year. A simple boxwood wreath with a blue or silver satin ribbon would be a welcoming Hanukkah touch.

  • Bust Out the Benches

    Put a bench to work on the off-season: Give it holiday spirit with an arrangement of holiday greenery, pinecones, gazing balls, and ornaments. Look around your garden for small spaces to stage a winter display. A basket of pinecones with cut boxwood will not only dress up an empty bench, but will also help you complete your gardening chores for the season.

  • Spice Things Up with Variety

    Fill winter containers with evergreens, branches, berries, lights, seedpods, dried hydrangea blooms, and dried eucalyptus.

  • Go Beyond the Green

    Take the inside out. Use dried flowers and fruits from your interior décor to decorate wreaths and swags on the outside of your home. Put dried seedpods and flower heads to good use in your holiday decorating. Along with dried hydrangeas, pomegranate, oranges, lemons, and limes are all great materials as well as faux fruits, such as apples and pears.

  • Revive Old Favorites

    Recycle and upcycle! Older holiday decorations can be given new life outside with small sprays of evergreens, berries and beautiful ribbon. Found objects like antlers, vintage skis, or snowshoes embellished with evergreens boughs and winterberries can also create festive scenes.

  • What a View!

    Window boxes are the perfect place to add holiday greenery, which are visible from inside during the day and illuminated from the interior lights after the sun goes down.

    For more information about Mariani Landscape, visit their website and see the garden of Frank Mariani’s own home.