Southern Living Magazine

The brightly colored leaves, crisp weather, and festive atmosphere mean fall has arrived. The changing of the season marks the perfect time to update the look of your outdoor living space.

Whether you live in a region that experiences the lovely transition between summer and winter or an area that boasts summer-like weather practically year-round, you can easily transform your backyard into a dazzling autumn display using the warm colors and natural beauty of the season. Try some of these simple and inexpensive ideas to decorate your backyard landscape for the fall.

Photo copyright Southern Living

Seasonal Flowers
- An array of autumnal blooms can bring the rich, vibrant colors of the season to your yard.

    • - Chrysanthemums, or “mums,” are the classic fall flower, but Montbretia, Hypericum, Helenium, Aster, Roses, and even Sunflowers are ready available in the fall. All of these blooms boast the stunning warm hues of season, from golden yellows and fiery oranges to deep lavenders and crimson reds. (Check with your local horticultural extension about the best fall plants for your area.)
    • - Plant fall flowers directly in your garden or display them in pretty planters for an easy update. Container gardening makes it easy to move the plants in and out of the sun, depending on how they hold up in your climate. They are also great for adding color and interest to decks, patios, and walkways.

    • Autumn Wreaths - Take advantage of the natural beauty in your yard by using the colorful leaves to create decorative wreaths and swags to hang on your fence, deck, arbor, or outdoor fireplace. To make a wreath:

      • - Purchase a basic wreath form from your local craft store.
      • - Attach a group of leaves with ends facing clockwise to the base with hot glue or a U-shaped floral pin (available at craft stores).
      • - Keep adding the leaves in the same direction, slightly overlapping each grouping to conceal the pins/glue. Once you’ve made it around the base, repeat the process working counterclockwise to cover the entire base.
      • - For a decorative touch, you can embellish the wreath with pine cones, dried corn, berries, or other seasonal items.

      • (Note: If using the wreath inside your home, bake the leaves in an oven for 45 minutes at 200 degree F to kill any insects or eggs.)

        Fall-Themed Accessories - You can completely change the look of your patio or deck for fall simply by updating your outdoor furniture and accessories:

        • - Use outdoor cushions and pillows in the season’s warm tones, such as burgundy, gold, chocolate, orange, and red.
        • - Add a welcome mat or outdoor rug with the colors and images of fall such as leaves, pumpkins, trees, or acorns.
        • - Arrange twigs, small gourds, berries, pine cones, and other fall materials on your outdoor table to create a festive centerpiece. 
        Festive Lighting – The right outdoor light fixtures can create the perfect autumn ambience around your landscape.

        • - Establish the rustic feel of the harvest season with wrought-iron lantern-style light fixtures, such as wall sconces, deck posts, and chandeliers.
        • - Suspend several round, orange-colored paper lanterns from pergola beams or tree branches for an elegant accent that resembles to quintessential symbol of the season: pumpkins!
        • - Adorn deck rails, gazebo posts, or trees with strings of orange and yellow lights for seasonal sparkle.
        • - You can also strewn party lights with fall-themed covers, such as pumpkins, leaves, or acorns, along your fence for simple decoration.