Want to decorate for winter and have it last a few months? Use what you have in the yard already! Birdhouses, garden accents, seed heads and cut greens will do the trick! Repurposing keeps your costs to a minimum ( I spent no money at all on the decorations in this post) and lend a simple, elegant look to your outdoor decor.
Leave the soil in the window boxes and stick in cut greens from your trees and bushes. Water it every other week or so if the winter is dry and they will last and last. Our boxes this year are mostly American Holly and Hinoki Cypress trimmings plus some yew, pinecones and seed heads from perennial flowers. Add a few terracotta pots of various sizes and a birdhouse and, voila! It’s a naturally beautiful window box that will look good for months.
Don’t forget to add a few greens on the front porch. Here I moved a wonderful yard sale find window against the wall and “greened” it up. A little lantern, a fluffy, colorful throw and a few pillows complete the winter look for our porch swing.
Here’s our second window box done with the same natural materials and one of my favorite birdhouses ~ a terracotta double decker! And, yes, I rather like the rusty bits on the metal box, too! Now I won’t have to change out the window boxes until spring, just “fluff” them up every couple of weeks and water. By “fluffing” I mean straightening up by removing fallen leaves, adding another clipping or two, etc.
Orbs that have been decorative accents in the garden during the growing season are now repurposed as focal elements in planters. Again, the pots of soil were left in the planters and greens were jabbed into the soil. Water every once in a while so the greens stay fresh longer.
Our pine trees graced us with a boatload of pinecones this year! I shared three big boxes with the horticultural center for wreathmaking classes and still had plenty to jazz up our planters and then some. You could add Holly, Ilex berries, Red Twig Dogwood branches or other cuttings for more color but I like their simplicity.
A ladder mounted horizontally on the back privacy fence has been great for displaying birdhouses and breaking up the large expanse of wood. Only two nails hold the whole thing up, so it doesn’t harm the neighbor’s fence, adds visual interest to our garden and looks less like the Great Wall of China now. Just tucking some pine and holly clippings here and there around the birdhouses made it look very seasonal and festive. Some of the birdhouses are decorative and some a fully functional. I let the birds decide which are which!
Garden Gnomes are great little additions to planters and window boxes in winter. This little guy with his watering can looks pretty cute in amongst the cypress greens and pinecones.
Here in Delaware, the Dusty Miller often overwinters. So, instead of cutting the plants back, I just added lots of Holly trimmings and pinecones to the containers. Fallen leaves will stay in place as a natural mulch on these flowerbeds until the spring. Native pollinators and other insects will take refuge in them until warmer weather.
If you don’t have a lot of greens on your property, ask around to see if friends and family might have some to share or trade. Plan to do your trimming later so you will have free materials to decorate with. Half the fun is making your garden and home look beautiful in winter but it’s even sweeter if it didn’t cost a dime!