Outdoor fall decor ideas will make your home look inviting and can add some much-needed color as the weather begins to cool. So while summer might be drawing to a close, you don't have to wave au revoir to the outdoors just yet. In fact, fall is the most wonderful time of the year to admire Mother Nature in all her glory.
And if you want to make your backyard or front porch even more picturesque, you’ll want to embrace the outdoor fall decor ideas that will get you in the mood for the upcoming season.
Outdoor fall decor ideas
Outdoor fall decor covers a whole range of elements, from rich color palettes and plenty of pumpkins to festive yard lighting and outdoor fireplaces. We’ve rounded up the best fall decor ideas from the experts – and Homes & Gardens' own archives – to instantly elevate your outdoor space this season.
1. Create a warm welcome at your front door
'What creates fall curb appeal the most dramatically? Fall front door decor is key to making your home look inviting as your front yard's foliage begins to die back,' says Lucy Searle, Editor in Chief, Homes & Gardens, 'and while a wreath is often the go-to, why not think out of the box by decorating your front door with a basket of flowers? Choose a dried arrangement and it can come back indoors once fall has passed, ready for next year.'
2. Include home made outdoor fall decor
Outdoor fall decor, just like indoors, relies on homespun charm, and this is where simple fall craft ideas come into their own. They needn't be complicated – even easy, no-carve pumpkin ideas can be effective.
'I like to collect pumpkins in a whole range of sizes and paint them to suit my color scheme,' says Jo Bailey, stylist and Homes & Gardens' Deputy Editor. 'Then I simply arrange them outside on my front or back porch to create an eye-catching display. It takes no more than an hour or so.'
3. Pick planting for fall color
It takes some planning, but planting the best trees for fall color really is an outdoor fall decor idea we should all be prioritizing. 'Trees with berries will not just look beautiful, providing an extra layer of color, but will provide important food through fall for wild birds,' says Homes & Gardens' Gardens Editor Rachel Crow.
'Trees like the Sorbus (above) have lovely clusters of berries in shades of pink, white, orange, yellow and red, as well as burnished fall foliage.'
4. Make sure your outdoor dining area is warm, cozy and festive
If you're dining outdoors on cooler nights, you need to make sure everyone is as warm as possible. This means lining chairs with sheepskins – or faux sheepskins – providing blankets, wraps, perhaps patio heaters or looking into outdoor fireplace ideas, such as a backyard firepit. Outdoor lighting ideas, such as candles and lanterns are, of course, a must.
For backyards and outdoor spaces to function as cozy dining spaces, you can demarcate the chosen space in various ways: 'Fall planters can form a screen to separate an area, or lighting can mark out spaces,' says RHS Gold medal-winning garden designer Rosemary Coldstream (opens in new tab). Plus you can make a space feel cozier still with fall table decor ideas that are layered and welcoming, in wonderful fall colors.
5. Decorate for guests this fall
Just as with living room fall decor, textiles will help add coziness and character to your outdoor fall decor. If you already have a seating area in the garden, think about matching the color and pattern of the coverings to whatever you choose for your fall porch ideas – perfect if you want to play up to an authentic fall color scheme.
Alternatively, switch rugs and cushions as the seasons change to add interest. In fall, strategically placed pumpkins add interest. In winter, lanterns and blankets are ideal.
6. Set up overhead outdoor lighting
When it comes to efficient backyard lighting, James Bassant, who is co-founder and design director at Astro (opens in new tab), says that quality and clever placement is far more important than quantity.
A more considered use of lighting for a specific feature can have a much greater impact for your outdoor fall decor. Whether picking out the route of a path, a gentle wash of light over a surface or solar garden lighting ideas entwined between foliage, it can be surprising how little light you need to create a magical look that will allow you to enjoy your garden way beyond dusk.
7. Lay a table for al fresco dining
Transition from Easter to high summer through to Thanksgiving and Christmas effortlessly by dressing up your outdoor dining table for each season or occasion.
A simple linen tablecloth laid with lanterns, candles and flatware in shades of taupe, orange and grey becomes the perfect setting for a festive fall luncheon. Plants for fall color and foliage are key to achieving this look, so include a spectacular selection of fall flora and fauna, such as goldenrod, sweet alyssum, marigolds, purple fountain grass, heuchera and Japanese maple.
8. Plan a place for after hours perching
It might seem ambitious, but with the heat of a fire pit, you can enjoy your backyard all through fall. Create the perfect entertainment area when you plan an outdoor kitchen by adding a permanent firepit to your backyard, to ensure the party keeps going well after sundown.
This rustic design is the perfect balance between practical and aesthetically pleasing. The only problem you'll have is getting your friends and family to leave before sunrise.
9. Cozy up with heaps of texture
Use texture in interior design to create a specific feel in your room. Rough and coarser textures like reclaimed wood or terracotta have more 'visual weight' and create a cozy, rustic aesthetic – perfect for the fall season.
In this fall-inspired porch, shiplap walls, a rattan chair, an outdoor rug and blankets are textures that all combine to create a warm and cozy scene.
10. Create a space for Halloween decorating
Welcome friends and family with a beautiful exterior display, fit for the fall season.
Halloween this fall will be back with a bang, which does, of course, mean that you have the perfect excuse to double down on outdoor fall decor ideas to make your home look more frightfully festive than ever.
11. Hang up a festive wreath
Highlight the elegance of a fall front porch’s architectural detail with a contemporary take on the classic festive front door.
Swap out traditional elements such as rich red accents and a classic ring of green foliage, and update them – choose typically seasonal fauna, such as marigolds, with sections of reddish-brown leaves like maple and fresh herbs such as thyme, sage or rosemary.
However, if you are a traditionalist at heart, favorite fall wreath ideas also include varieties of eucalyptus, ivy, holly and box; you can make a fall wreath with anything from flowers to seed heads, pinecones to cinnamon sticks.
12. Light up a pathway
Gone are the days when the last rays of evening sun signalled a quick retreat indoors as the garden descended into darkness.
Today, there are legions of smart lighting options that allow us to transform what was formerly a foreboding dark space into a magical landscape, complete with color, beams and a variety of effects, whilst also providing safe passage down steps and through pathways – all perfect for fall decorating.
A suitable fall outdoor lighting scheme might include anything from well-placed lanterns of flickering candlelight, energy-saving solar lights to a state-of-the-art digital system controlled by your mobile phone.
13. Gather by the fire
When planning a garden room, think carefully about how you’d like to use the space in the colder months. If you plan to entertain well into the evening, or simply revel in your garden after sundown, then an outdoor fireplace could be the answer to those chilly evenings, and is perfect for casting a warm glow over other outdoor fall decor ideas.
Setting up an enclosed seating area around a fireplace is a fool-proof way of upping the comfort factor to your garden ideas. As well as warmth, the fire will add extra light and can be used for seasonal fall treats, such as toasting marshmallows, warming mulled cider or spiced wine.
When can you start decorating outside for fall?
Wondering when you should start decorating for fall? Generally speaking, early to late September is the best time to start decorating outside for fall. The wisest option is to put up fall decor in September or October, once the weather starts changing. Follow seasonal cues and go with your surroundings. After all, it’s up to you how and when you’ll decorate for this autumnal season.