For many, fall is an epic time for decoration. Coming out of the bright hot summer, it offers a new color palate, new materials and every year has new ideas circulating.
Chrysanthemums continue to be a fall mainstay, checking many boxes for a wonderful fall look.
But it’s also OK to think outside the box with fall planters to freshen a foundation or front entranceway.
Just like spring and summer, the “thriller, spiller, filler” mentality can still apply, building a full planter display that oozes color and texture.
For the thriller component, fountain grass can provide height and a focal point.
Fall fillers could be ornamental peppers, coral bells or even small pumpkins to support the thriller and give the planter more body.
Mums fall into this category too if you decide you want them included.
Ivy is a natural choice as a spiller, covering the container and lengthening the project but not adding height.
Low-growing ornamental cabbage can be used as well.
Yard clean up time coincides with when it’s time to create a fall stoop masterpiece.
As you do your chores, set aside any treasures you find to create an overflowing planter of a wide variety of items and textures, almost a subtle nod to a traditional cornucopia.
For flowers like hydrangeas, after you are done trimming back, dry a few and some tuck blooms around a light-colored pumpkin or gourd to make an unexpected light and pretty arrangement.
Paint a pumpkin to match your hydrangea color, and you’ll have color and you won’t have to worry about watering!
Look for other bulky flowers during clean up that can also be dried, such as sedum or goldenrod.
Dried leaves like magnolia give off a crisp and clean feel, just like fall does.
If you plan to trim and use them for just one season, they should last around four to six weeks on the Eastern Shore.
If you don’t want to replace them every year, home decor experts swear by taking the time to add a few layers of Modge Podge on the front and back of every leaf to get a few years out of them.
If you enjoy coming up with different arrangements often in and out of your house, it may be a good time to invest some time into preserving these versatile pieces.
Branches and limbs can also add some height and fun to your arrangements.
Tall and sinewy branches poked behind an arrangement work well, as do thicker bundles of thick and chunky limbs, which can be tied with a pretty fall colored ribbon (and then switched out with a winter holiday ribbon).
Other good yard finds from your trees are pinecones or “gumballs” to mix onto the top of your arrangement.
You can also cherry-pick any items left from your spring and summer planters, like ornamental grasses that will still look lively in the fall.
You can also choose to transplant grasses that expanded out in your garden beds.
Don’t toss your weathered grapevine wreath either!
Another trick is to rim the opening of your planter to not only add texture, but to also help hide stems and “legs” of your arrangement.
Lotus pods are great to grab at your local craft or decor store to add some fun and natural texture to your planters and then again on another project later.
Try some cattails and an accompanying decoy for a sportsman theme.
Even an old decoy can be a fun, “only on the Eastern Shore” stoop decor as well as tall beautiful feathers you may have lying around.
Remember, however, cattails do “explode”, so plan on cutting and arranging them just a few weeks prior if you want to use them for a special event, like Thanksgiving. Hairspray can help to preserve but arranging closer to a special date can ensure they’ll be at their best.
Pampas grass, often found naturally on the edges of roads and fields, can make another wispy look when dried and hair-sprayed.
Thinking outside the mum might also have you thinking of a monochromatic color scheme.
If you are veering against traditional orange pumpkins don’t forget all the other shades and sizes they come in these days, whether it’s white, dusty green, muted orange and more.
Likewise, while cabbage is traditional in fall planters, rich purple or edgy black varieties can be alternatives to the typical green ones.
You could also play with texture by choosing a variety with a crumpled texture.