Tips for Creating Outdoor Holiday Décor

Local design experts share tips for creating a festive front yard.
An example of outdoor holiday decor.

Bless your guests as they walk the path to your front door. Simple outdoor holiday décor creates a festive feeling for your friends and neighbors. And with the help of local experts, you can design an enchanting holiday display on your own front porch. Dundee Nursery, Bachman’s Floral Gift & Garden and The Wabi Sabi Shop offer simple tips for bringing your holiday décor outdoors.

Dundee Nursery

Kim Gaida of Dundee Nursery recommends beginning with spruce tip planters. “Spruce tips are truly a Midwest thing,” says Gaida. “They are saplings of black spruce harvested from the bogs of northern Minnesota. Their beauty is long lasting and they’re easy to place right into a planter. Once the dirt freezes, they are difficult to move.”

Spruce tip planters can be dressed up with red twig dogwood branches or other types of evergreens. For a natural look, incorporate cattail tops or milkweed spores. For a more modern look, use glitter picks, flocked branches, or branches that you can plug in and light up each night. Go ultra mod by inserting birch branches that have been spray-painted wild colors like lime green or vermilion red. Just be sure keep a cohesive theme throughout your display.

Gaida says natural garland is making a comeback. She’s also seeing a big push for birch sticks in 1”–6” diameters. They can be stuck into spruce tip planters, or simply stacked with pinecones and a bow. 16800 Hwy 55; 763.559.4016;

Bachman’s Floral Gift & Garden

Jenni Halstead is also a fan of spruce tip planters. She recommends doing them early in the season using the leftover soil from your annual pots. “Add boughs of white pine or Frasier fir,” Halstead says, “then consider adding dried eucalyptus or juniper berries. A big hit last year was our pinecone on a stick. They are ready to go right into your planters. Then you can add ribbons or ornaments to achieve different looks.”

Stick with a theme that matches the exterior style of your home, landscape and house color. If your house is elegant or woodland, your outdoor décor should compliment that style. Halstead says deco mesh ribbon works well for designing a wreath or adorning planters. It’s sheet netting that comes in varying widths, colors and patterns. It’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, easy to work with and YouTube offers online demonstrations showing how to decorate with it.

Another perpetual favorite are holiday kissing balls that can be customized and hung right where your summer baskets used to be. Or make a seasonal hanging basket of evergreen boughs and rose hips. 10050 6th Ave. N; 763.541.1188;

The Wabi Sabi Shop

Kay Frandsen thinks of decorating in Wabi Sabi terms, an ancient Japanese philosophy and design concept. Wabi refers to letting go of excess and simplifying. Sabi is all about the beauty of imperfection and the character that arrives via the aging process. Her preference is simple holiday displays reminiscent of her early years on a tight budget.

“To make an impact with limited resources,” says Frandsen, “I once bought a three inch wide roll of red velvet ribbon and tied hundreds of bows to the branches of three cedar trees in my front yard. It looked so pretty, especially after a snowfall.”

The next year, Frandsen put a spotlight at the base of a big birch tree. She says, “At dusk, the timer tripped and cast the most beautiful light up into the white branches and triple trunk. Simple yet elegant. Big decorating impact for the price of one outdoor spotlight.”

Another frugal decorating tip is to wrap empty boxes in colored foil paper and top them with enormous bows. Then stack the boxes up the steps leading to your front door to make a fun and welcoming entrance to your home. Frandsen stresses the sabi concept by adding, “Don’t get stressed out trying to make the perfect holiday display. See the beauty in imperfection.” 10100 6th Ave. N.; 763.404.8499;