Autumn is a time of transformations and change. The leaves, of course, are the first to change, their colours transforming the landscape. The temperatures force us to transform from beach-loving creatures of tank tops and sundresses into bundled-up sweater and scarf wrapped city dwellers. Our coffee and muffins suddenly transform into pumpkin spice infused treats. And our gardens change from sun-drenched oasis’ of strawberries and lilacs into golden tones of dried grasses, half-naked trees and rust coloured blooms. With a sigh of relief we prepare for the winter, ready to relax indoors and savour hot meals and good company.
Welcome fall! The yellow, reds and oranges of fall are my absolute favourite hues so I welcome the abundance of autumn hues in the garden and everywhere else. Just because the grass, and perhaps the sky, are a bit less than cheerful doesn’t mean our gardens and patios need to follow suit.
Bold and bright colours are everywhere in the nursery right now, with reds, oranges and yellows bursting from Chrysanthemums and Sunflowers. Keep the garden and your container planters vivid and bright by splashing bright vibrant blooms around when you’re doing your autumn planting. Don’t be afraid to make a statement!
My Top Ten Ideas for Transformative Autumn Container Gardens
There are some things in life you should do - and some you should do more! Creating statement container gardens for autumn is definitely in the “do more” category! Can you really even have enough rustic pots and plants by your front door or on the patio? Doubtful. However I know that ideas can run dry, especially since this probably isn’t your first fall season. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of transformative power, a change here and there, to create an autumn look. Here is a top ten list of things I definitely want to see more of!
1. Lighting In Your Container Gardens
Adding lights to a planter or container garden is like adding a bit of magic. Suddenly it all looks different! LED twinkle lights are perfect to wrap around sticks, small twiggy plants, or weave through leaves in your planters. For a more dramatic lighting idea, add spotlights underneath the leaves of your plants. When the days get shorter (and they are) you will be able to come home in the evening to a completely transformed patio. Bushes and plants look very different when they are lit from beneath, it’s a new point-of-view.
2. Copper Accents
Copper is trendy right now for a good reason, not only is it a beautiful metal accent but it fits in perfectly with fall motifs. Take your planters to the next level by adding in copper accents to highlight the orange and red tones of your flowers. Copper wire wrapped around decorative sticks, or around the base of your pot. Old copper metal pieces, pipes or jugs can all be added to your display for a rustic fall look.
3. Birch Poles Transformed
Is there any tree bark as fall-ish as Birch? The iconic white and brown markings create an immediate rustic forest look for any planter. Add tall branches in to give a container height, or try wide short ones for a larger pot (or as a stand for your pots!).
4. Nests Reinvented
Although nests are often Spring decor (seeing as that is when they are usually occupied) they can easily transform into autumn finds! A big rustic nest full of fall leaves, pinecones or seedpods can become more of a forest cast-off piece, something left over from warmer days and now changed into an autumn memorial. Adding them at the base of your plants, or attached to sticks or obelisks, can create a point-of-interest in your container garden.
5. Moss Reinvigorated
Moss comes in all shapes and sizes and autumn is when it really shines. Often brown or dried out in the hotter months, autumn is when some moss plants becomes green and lush. However, if you are looking for low maintenance additions to your planters, dried moss is a way to add immediate texture and highlight brown, rust and chocolate tones in your container gardens, transforming them into autumn statements.
6. Obelisks Rethought
Tall structured frames made from wire, wood or other materials, these stands are often used in the summer to support tall and lanky plants such as beans or sweet peas. In the fall, we can use them as beautiful rustic accents with a very structural feeling to them. Use found dried wood pieces and rope them together with twine into a pyramid obelisk. Or maybe you have some rusty metal cast-offs you can lean together. Pairing obelisks with tall grasses creates a vertically significant container garden sure to stand out!
7. Pinecones Repurposed
They’re everywhere, you might as well collect them. A wicker or dried vine basket full of pinecones by the front door creates a fall forest feeling (and they can be reused in winter and Christmas decor). Pop some in your Chrysanthemum pots, or line them up on the window sill beside your Pansies.
8. Wheat Stalks Replanted
Dried wheat stalks are a beautiful addition to your container gardens, and come in a multitude of styles and colours. From rusty brown tufts to the softest white. Bundle them together and pair them with an obelisk or tie them to your terracotta pots.
9. Lanterns Reimagined
I know, I know, I already talked about lighting (see numero uno) but lanterns are another matter entirely! They don’t even need to include lighting (although a battery powered candle or LED lights certainly create a magical style) but can simply be filled with a pot of succulents, pansies or other fall plants to transform them into a seasonal eye-catcher. Again, they are fantastic because you can use them in the autumn and then give them a make-over for Christmas! (Take a look at our easy DIY Magic Lantern tutorial with LED lights.)
10. Rustic Cast-Offs
One of my favourite things is incorporating other farmhouse, rustic and natural accents you may not think of. Old jugs, rusty milk bottles, grapevine wreaths, vintage bird cages, burlap sacks, dilapidated wooden bird-houses, eucalyptus and weathered window panes. The possibilities are endless, so don’t be afraid to venture out into the unknown. Anything that looks like it’s seen a winter or two outdoors is fair game to create an autumn flavour. In fact - why not raid the Christmas box? Many items we keep for the holiday season can be used first for fall and then transformed into magical winterland accents later. Get creative.
Start your Autumn container gardens by mid-September to enjoy them right up until the beginning of November when the weather usually becomes especially inhospitable. For more ideas we’ve put together a pinterest board with autumn container garden creative displays. And don’t forget, when November comes around, transform those containers and accents into Christmas Holiday evergreen displays!