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13 colorful fall decorating ideas for porches, patios, and backyards

Get cozy outside, even when the temperatures dip. You won’t want to go inside when you set the stage for an enjoyable autumn afternoon or evening outdoors. Round up a mesmerizing fire pit, pillows in spicy colors, containers of chrysanthemums, and pumpkins of every size, then celebrate the crisp, cool weather. Check out these decorating ideas that can help you put your best fall foot forward.

  • 01of 13

    Festive Outdoor Decor

    Halloween porch
     svetikd / Getty Images

    Turn to the familiar symbols of the season: haystacks, pumpkins, gourds, scarecrows, fall-blooming flowers, succulents, black plants, ornamental grasses, and ​Halloween props. Or go simple with a wreath on the door and a bright orange pumpkin on the front steps. Add to the harvest by growing plants that thrive in the fall, like ornamental and native grasses in reds, bronzes, and deep purples or in striking color combinations like chartreuse/lime green and plum or purple.

  • 02of 13

    Gourd and Squash Arrangement

    Different pumpkins and gourds
     Aiselin82 / Getty Images

    Gather your bounty in a cluster and display it on the patio table. The squash will be fine outdoors until you eat them, and hardy gourds can decorate your outdoor space for months.

  • 03of 13

    A Handful of a Garden

    A basket or mum and ornamental kale with a surprise touch
    Michaël Sid-Traut/Flickr /CC By 2.0

    Do you need a hand to help you with fall porch decorations? Get a grip and give visitors a fright with a faux hand clawing its way out of a container garden.

  • 04of 13

    Touches of Orange

    Outdoor settee with fall pillows
    The Spruce / Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Exchange your summery outdoor pillows and a few accessories for your favorites in fall colors. The olive green cushions of this vintage wrought iron settee s the perfect foundation for brightly colored pillows in assorted autumn prints and patterns. Even the beagle agrees as he finds a cozy place to hang out for a fall afternoon.

  • 05of 13

    Magnificent Mums

    Shrubs of white chrysanthemums with pumpkins
    The Spruce / Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Large mounds of white mums are artfully arranged to make a visual impact in fall gardens. To add curb appeal, use just one color, such as with these creamy white mums. Count on at least four weeks of blooms, but they could possibly last longer if you deadhead spent blooms. Mums will bloom again for another spectacular showing in the spring.

  • 06of 13

    Dia de los Muertos Decor

    Decorations for traditional Mexican holiday Day of the Dead
     arinahabich / Getty Images

    November 1 is Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, in Mexico and Latin America, and the holiday celebrates dearly departed loved ones on a joyful holiday with bright colors, favorite foods of the deceased, marigolds, skull candies and decorations, and altars. Dia de los Muertos celebrations and decor are becoming frequently seen in the U.S., as well.

  • 07of 13

    Planting a Fall Border Garden

    Vibrant autumn border garden
    K A/Flickr /CC By 2.0

    This autumn border garden was achieved with planning and research about the chosen plants. Border gardens can be designed with tall plants in the back, mid-sized plants in the middle, and smaller, low-growing specimens in the front at the edge. The plants in this vibrant bed include various Coleus (the front-of-the-border reds), ornamental okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), and red leaf tree fern (Blechnum brasiliense ‘crispum’).

  • 08of 13

    White Pumpkins and Fountain Grass

    Ornamental grasses and white pumpkins
     Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Red or purple fountain grassPennisetum setaceum—has become increasingly popular in landscape design in the past decade. It’s especially attractive in early autumn when the flowers (their feathers and plumes) are in bloom. Here, a potted small, dark fountain grass is surrounded by unexpected white pumpkins to make a striking vignette. Keep the vignette in October, but simply add Halloween props such as fake spiders, skulls, and crows.

  • 09of 13

    Fall Container Garden

    Fall container garden with Japanese maple
    one2c900d/Flickr/ CC By 2.0

    This gorgeous autumn planter is filled with variegated green, plus red and magenta coleus, all nestled against a Japanese maple for a breathtaking burst of colors for the fall.

  • 10of 13

    Pumpkins and Ornamental Grass

    Bright green ornamental grasses with orange pumpkins
    The Spruce / Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Create a simple and uncluttered design scheme with two colors, bright orange and vibrant green ornamental grass. Here, it’s just two colors, bright orange pumpkins and vibrant green ornamental grass.

  • 11of 13

    Sweet Potato Vine Covering

    sweet potato vines
     Diane Macdonald/Getty Images

    Sweet potato vines are prolific growers in some climates and work well as autumn ground covers or in hanging planters. In the fall and at Halloween, Ipomea batata ‘Blackie’ is strikingly beautiful when mixed with other black plants or pumpkins. Another variety of sweet potato vine, ‘Margarita,’ makes a stunning contrast with the darker plant. Try other black plants, such as:

    • Aeonium Arboreum ‘Zwartkop’
    • Black ‘Bat’ orchid
    • Black Elephant’s Ear
    • Black Mondo Grass
  • 12of 13

    Coleus and Cordyline Container

    Cordyline
     Jenny Dettrick / Getty Images

    Nontraditional color combinations for fall include purple and lime or chartreuse green. This tall, spiky-leaved plant is Cordyline, while the rust-splashed coleus is ‘Amora’. Other coleus varieties that feature lime or chartreuse green leaves include ‘Antique’, ‘Bipolar Bigolly’, ‘Careless Love’, ‘Charlie McCarthy’, ‘Max Levering’, ‘Pineapple Queen’, and ‘Twist and Twirl’. Besides coleus, other lime or chartreuse green plants you might want to try include:

    • Sweet potato vine (Ipomea)
    • Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia numularia ‘Aurea’)
    • Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’ or “Dolce, Key Lime Pie”
    • Euphorbia
    • Cut-leaf elder (Sambucus racemosa ‘Sutherland Gold’)
    • Sedum makinoi ‘Ogon’
  • 13of 13

    Rustic Charm for Fall

    Fall planter
     K B/Flickr CC 2.0

    The weathered white planter is updated for the season with sweet potato vine and bright orange New Guinea impatiens. It would even look brilliant with a pumpkin or gourd sitting at its base.

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