Imaginative display ideas for your porch


Porches are built for comfort, relaxation, socializing, decorating, and enjoying the early morning and late afternoon Lowcountry breezes.

But they don’t have to be boring aesthetically, especially in October for Halloween and November for Thanksgiving. Imaginative displays of the season turn the ordinary porch into a masterful display of crafts, decorations, and organic home-grown plants and flowers. Colorful, earthy and quirky — anything goes.

Start with the iconic pumpkin. Forget carving scary faces on them and consider applying artistic patterns and prints up and down and all around with multi-colored Sharpies. Or carve out the pumpkin top into a wide circle and turn it into a pumpkin planter.

Place the larger fall-blooming fiery-colored flowers and plants around the rim and fill in with smaller ones of the same inside. Colorful autumnal flowers and assorted greeneries also can be placed in a pot for as floral arrangements.

Pumpkins of all sizes and shapes can sit atop small bales of hay, climbing up the steps or on either side of the front door for another artistic touch.

Displaying leaves of the season is as classic as the World Series in October.

“The primary color in leaves is bright orange, so they go extremely well with matched pumpkins,” said Lauren Votier, manager at The Garden Gate in Bluffton.

Offset the dazzling orange palette with displays of deep red mums and other scarlet-toned blooms placed nearby individually or grouped. Place them in direct sunlight and don’t skimp on a watering schedule.

Votier loves to add splashes of color by using variegated crotons with their pinks, yellows, bronzes, oranges, reds, purple and greens. The croton leaf sports colored veins and margins set against a dark green palette.

In the typical 6-inch to 8-inch pots, crotons can grow from about 10 inches tall to 24 inches.

She suggests placing the pots at an angle behind the pumpkins for visual drama.

Multi-colored shapes and sizes of gourds and squash open other opportunities for glorious presentations of the season. Arrange them in a group of baskets of various materials for a cornucopia of visual delights. Place smaller varieties around larger ones for a layered look.

Another touch is wrapping a green garland around the door frame and injecting color composed of reds, golds and rust colors from dried flowers.

Center a wreath on the door and flourish it with autumnal leaves, pine cones and fresh picked berries.

Bundled dried calico corn of reds, yellows and brownish striping with mottled corn kernels wrapped in burlap adorned with long bouquets can be positioned for maximum visual impact.

Homeowners can also use foliage, dried flowers and produce combined with pumpkins and squash around the base of an oversized pot.

Add some ambiance by stringing flickering lights using fallish bulbs for subdued color. If you want some more light, add a few lanterns or candles.

Doorways are meant for entering, and a rug or runner transforms an ordinary pathway into a welcoming entrance.

If available, windowsills provide another perch for colorful touches.

Halloween decorations easily transition into a Thanksgiving motif, and adding end-of-season dried wheat and corn stalks can be incorporated into the overall design scheme.

FALL Decorating TIPS

* Use different colors, sizes and shapes
* Search your yard for colorful organic materials
* Stack pumpkins with small gourds atop
* Hang lanterns with a warm glow
* Use ladders, small pull wagons, trolleys, vintage chairs
* Create handmade signs of rustic wood
* Dry and press colorful leaves and flowers
* Dress up the largest pumpkin with a hat, eyes, etc.
* Add cozy blankets and pillows for outdoor seating
* Use straw bales for height
* Place dried flowers in a vase
* Use small branches with dried leaves still attached
* Think outside the box