After outdoor fall decor ideas? Summer might be drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean you 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
From rich color palettes and plenty of pumpkins to festive garden lighting and outdoor fireplaces, we’ve rounded up the best outdoor fall decor ideas from the experts – and Homes & Gardens own archives – to instantly elevate your outdoor space this season.
1. 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 fire pit. Candles and lanterns are, of course, a must.
For backyards and outdoor fall decor ideas that function as cozy dining spaces, you can demarcate the chosen space in various ways: 'Planters can form a screen to separate an area, or lighting can mark out spaces,' says RHS Gold medal-winning garden designer Rosemary Coldstream.
2. Decorate for guests this fall
Textiles will help add coziness and character to your outdoor fall decor ideas. If you already have a seating area in the garden, think about matching the color and pattern of the coverings to whatever you choose on the porch – 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.
3. Set up overhead outdoor lighting
When it comes to efficient outdoor lighting, James Bassant, who is co-founder and design director at Astro, says that quality and clever placement is far more important than quantity.
A more considered use of garden lighting for a specific feature can have a much greater impact. Whether picking out the route of a path, a gentle wash of light over a surface or solar-powered lights 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.
4. 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. Foliage is 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.
5. Plan a place for after hours perching
It might seem ambitious, but with the heat of a fire pit, you can enjoy your garden all through fall. Create the perfect entertainment area when you plan an outdoor kitchen by adding a permanent fire pit 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.
6. 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 garden room, tongue-and-groove walls, rattan chairs, a wooden table and linen cushions are textures that all combine to create a warm and cozy scene.
7. 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 like no other, with trick or treating in many neighborhoods still relatively impossible. This 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.
Once Halloween is over, dress your front porch with lanterns or twinkling fairy lights, which can also be used to create a beautiful fall mantel.
8. 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, foliage favorites also include varieties of eucalyptus, ivy, holly and box, then you can decorate your wreath with anything from flowers to seed heads, pinecones to cinnamon sticks.
9. Light up a garden 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 garden ideas with 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 outdoor lights to a state-of-the-art digital system controlled by your mobile phone.
10. 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.
Setting up an enclosed seating area around a fireplace is a foolproof 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?
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.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space.
Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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