Pumpkin Ideas for Your Front Door
It's that time of year again! Here's a roundup of pumpkin ideas for your front door to help ready your porch for fall.
The Plants: Kale, cabbages, bay leaves
The Big Idea: Vertical displays make a big statement at the front door. Tucking in cool-weather edibles such as ornamental flowering cabbages, kale, and bay leaves adds a distinctive twist. If you plan to eat the veggies or herbs later, buy plants from the edible aisle at your garden center to make sure they have not been treated with growth hormones to regulate their size. To create topiaries, sandwich bay wreaths between pumpkins stacked in concrete urns, and top with a small pumpkin. Finish your door with a (nonedible) bittersweet wreath. Be careful to dispose of seedheads in the garbage rather than the compost bin, as bittersweet is invasive in the garden. For a similar look, use rose hips, which are more eco-friendly.
The Plants: Mums, Mexican sage, boxwoods
The Big Idea: There's a reason you see mums each fall—they work. Once buds begin to open, you're guaranteed blooms whether your display is in sun or shade. To prolong the show, water when dry and remove spent flowers. While there are numerous salvias to choose from, we love Mexican sage for its statuesque nature and velvety purple flowers. Pair with potted boxwoods. At season's end, transplant salvias to the border, and compost or transplant the mums too. Enjoy the potted boxwoods for several more seasons until they outgrow their containers, and then transplant them into larger pots or into the garden.
The Challenge: A tiny front stoop
The Solution: Go vertical with garland. Heather started with a nagi garland, which you can buy from a florist, and then wired in coontie palm and holly fern fronds as well as crookneck gourds. Pedestal urns planted with crotons allow room below for pumpkins. This colorful houseplant is ideal for outdoor use where frost comes late (the Lower, Coastal, and Tropical South). For an unexpected flourish, set pumpkins atop holly fern fronds and tuck in sprigs of yaupon holly berries.
The Challenge: Brighten up an old covered porch
The Solution: Incorporate modern materials to add new energy. Narrow zinc planters filled with both dried and fresh miscanthus foliage make this relatively short door (6 foot 2 inches tall, which was common in the past) appear loftier. Create a container focal point by tucking in pots of 'Wasabi' coleus and chartreuse sweet potato vines. Moonlight-hued pumpkins and gourds amp up the glow.
The Challenge: Match the scale of a tall, deep space
The Solution: Layer oversize objects. Wire urns set atop pedestals filled with pie pumpkins are the correct scale for the 8½-foot-tall door at Allen's Moss Mountain Farm home. He repeats elements in trios to create visual interest around the 11-foot-deep porch. Combinations of annuals, potted boxwoods, and heirloom pumpkins organize a lot of materials while achieving balance.
If you love the look of hurricanes lining a front path, put an autumn spin on them by using oversize heirloom pumpkins in various shades of orange and green as bases—perfect for welcoming guests to a fall-themed party.
How To Make It: Simple Pumpkin Hurricanes
Plan ahead for plantings that will transition through the holidays with a few additions. Start with ornamental cabbage, bittersweet, pumpkins, dried hydrangeas, artichokes, and ivy, then add in gilded branches and berries to suit the season.
Tip: To withstand October's lower temps, plant window boxes with cold-hardy cabbages and ivy. Add the largest items first; then nestle in smaller things, such as branches of bittersweet. If it's a dry fall, water weekly.
Look to the land for seasonal table décor. Remove the top of heirloom pumpkins to create a trio of festive vases. Fill them with bouquets of roses, persimmons, wheat, dried lotus pods, hydrangeas, fern fronds and oak leaves.
Tip: Keep all eyes on the showy centerpieces by pairing the bold blooms with simple dishes and linens.
Create a festive retreat for guests with lots of plush seating and a mantel swathed in a foliage garland made from a combination of oak and magnolia leaves. Swag only one side of the fireplace for a modern feel. Complete the look with simple and weighty pottery crocks filled with autumn leaves, hydrangeas, and berries.
Tip: Dry your summertime hydrangeas to use in fall arrangements.
Use pumpkins as risers to elevate appetizer plates. Serve the crackers on the lower level and a variety of cheeses up top. Create a simple look by piling pumpkins in a Champagne bucket and weaving branches of berries around the rim. To avoid pumpkin overload, add a cut-flower bouquet arranged in a pitcher.
Tip: After your party ends, fit these pumpkins into other displays around the house.