Mum-Free Fall Outdoor Decorating Ideas

I don’t know about y’all but one of my biggest regrets every year is the money I spend on mums for my fall porch decorating.  Every year I ask myself WHY I dropped all this cash on plants that will inevitably become rustling brown skeletons come wintertime. I know I could plant those fall mums in the ground, but inevitably I forget about them before they kick the bucket.  This year, I’m going a whole different route.  Today I am teaming up with my good friends at the Southern Living Plant Collection to show y’all some great fall porch decorating ideas that don’t have a single mum in sight.  These plants were made to last all year long, for many years to come!

Ideas for decorating porches and patios for Fall

Out on the front porch this year I have kept it simple and symmetrical, because that’s how I roll on this formal front porch of mine.  You can never go wrong with big piles of pumpkins for fall decorating, but I choose one pretty Cinderella pumpkin to put on a {stump} pedestal to make it feel all important and stuff. I love the pop of blueish-green  “Beyond Blue” festuca  peeking out behind that orange pumpkin!

Decorating porches for Fall with pumpkins and planters

As a pretty perennial that tolerates all sorts of extreme weather, this festuca should be just fine through winter and summer here in Alabama.  Give me a low maintenance plant any day of the week, and festuca is right up at the top of that list.  It should grow to fill that pot and spill right over the sides.

Southern Living Plant Collection Best Plants for Fall

Another one of my favorite low maintenance plants is this Weeping Loropetalum.

I used my rusty metal orbs inside my urns and planted them with the 2 gallon “Purple Pixie” variety.

Southern Living Plant Collection Best Plants for Fall- Purple Pixie Weeping Loropetalum

I wanted the plant to look like it had grown up and over the orb, so let me show you how I made that happen:

Planting inside a metal orb

Decorating porches for Fall

1. Fill urn almost to the top with potting soil.

2. Sit metal orb on top of urn.

3. Place rootball of loropetalum through one side opening of the orb, then bend it down so it goes down through the bottom opening and into the dirt.

4. Gently pull all the leaves and stems through each opening in the orb.

5. Fill in with more dirt around the sides to secure plant.

That’s it!  Doesn’t it look like it’s been well-established and grown right around that orb?

Decorating porches for Fall

I’m so happy with these pretty urns.  I have had a weeping loropetalum growing in a whisky barrel for about five years now, and it’s done great, so I know these urns will last me a long time.

Southern Living Plant Collection Best Plants for Fall

Here’s the best part– these are dwarf varieties, so they grow low and slow.  I love that it doesn’t get very big because that means there is no trimming required, unlike the unruly Loropetalum shrub cousins who would literally eat my house if I didn’t keep them trimmed back.  Check out how tall these guys have gotten in the front of my house since we first moved in.  They are about five feet tall right now, but they would keep right on growing and be up to the roof if I let them! Unskinny Boppy's House

Ok, let’s head around back and check out the back porch!  As per usual, I’ve gone way more rustic around here than the formal front porch.  Who else is LOVING plaid right now? It’s totally my new favorite thing to decorate with, so when I spotted this warm wool throw in a brown and red plaid at the Kane County Flea Market a few weekends back I snatched it up.  I also got that awesome wooden chair at The Blue Building in Alabaster.  How perfect is it for fall?

Decorating porches for Fall

Still in love with the big burlap wreath I got from my friend Donnalee at Blankenship Farms!  I have a lot going on over in this corner, but I just cannot help myself! Who doesn’t love big piles of pumpkins and junk? Ahh it makes me so happy!

Decorating porches for Fall

I planted this HUGE “Angyo Star” Fatshedera inside my olive bucket, and added in a Mahonia “Soft Caress” along with an “Everillo” Carex on the bottom.  I could say the word “Fatshedera” over and over again.  It cracks me up. Maybe I should submit a request to have it renamed “Unskinnyshedera”.

Southern Living Plant Collection Fatshedera, Mahonia and Carex in olive bucket

Over in the back corner I have another pretty pop of blue/green/purple color with a festuca and some annuals hanging in a burlap planter.  Decorating porches for Fall

I found that planter at a local garden shop and fell in LOVE with it. It has pockets with sturdy backing so you just pop a plant in it and call it a day.  How cool is this?

Decorating porches for Fall

I also LOVE cabbages and kale for fall decorating, so that big purple guy called my name from across the garden center rows… then I bundled up a bunch of tamale corn husks to mimic the cabbage leaves.

Purple Kale in a galvanized bucket. Perfect fall porch decor!

Of course I couldn’t leave out my pool patio containers from the fall decorating excitement, so let’s head over there and check out how they got a makeover that transitioned them from summer to fall.

Fun decorating idea for Fall - pumpkins scattered around containers

Since the winter weather would have killed them, I dug up my summertime hibiscus and moved them indoors.  To replace them, I have added a whole BUNCH of new plants to big blue pots.  The sweet potato vines have been growing there all summer, so I left them to add to the drama of that “thriller/spiller/filler” combo. Plus they look really cool wrapping around my pumpkins!

Decorating porches for Fall

On either side, I have planted 1 gallon Purple Pixie weeping loropetalums, 2 gallon Ligustrum ‘Sunshine’, 1 gallon Design-A-Line’ Cordyline, and 1 gallon ‘Love and Wishes’ Salvia. I like to put my plants in the container to see how they will look before I actually plant them. This gives me an idea of what it will look like before I commit to digging the holes.

Southern Living Plant Collection planters for fall

These colors are just amazing together.  I LOVE that chartreuse color of the Sunshine Ligustrum.

Decorating porches for Fall

I tucked in a few more mini-kale inside the wooden bowl planters.  They look like cabbage patch kids could pop out any minute, amiright?

Decorating porches for Fall

You cannot see the Love and Wishes Salvia very well against my retaining wall, but it’s a great filler plant. Here is a better look at the tag so you can see what it would look like by itself. Such a pretty purple.

Southern Living Plant Collection Best Plants for Fall

I’m so happy with this fun fall facelift of all of my outdoor spaces.  It makes me so happy that these planters have perennials in them now so I don’t have to touch them again for a long time!!
Decorating porches for Fall

Out in my driveway, I replanted one of my whisky barrels with an “October Magic Snow” camellia (which happens to be the state flower of Alabama in case you didn’t know!) along with another festuca and a “Lemon Lime” Nandina.  With a few pumpkins, gourds and a simple little grapevine wreath, this planter is a dressed up for fall.

Whisky barrel filled with pumpkins and plants.  Perfect fall porch decor!

I cannot say enough thanks to Aimee and Carmen at the Southern Living Plant Collection for all of your help in picking the right plants for not only great fall color but also PERENNIAL color!  I will not have to replant these planters again for a very long time, unless I just get bored and want a change.  I am so happy to have all of these pretty plants growing happily in my yard.  Thank you so much, ladies!

Y’all be sure to go give them a “like” on facebook to keep up with their latest blog posts and ideas!

You can also follow along with my Pinterest boards for more great ideas on fall decorating, or check out the Best Plants for Fall Color Pinterest Board.

Happy Fall, y’all!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post, but I was provided free plants from the fine folks at the Southern Living Plant Collection to decorate my garden for fall.  All opinions are my own.

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Speak Your Mind



  1. Perfect touch, as usual of all of those beautiful fall colors. I have gotten better at putting those mums in the ground but still usually loose 50% of them due to procrastinating. I will be buying some Beyond Blue festuca…love the silvery blue tones. And the Weeping Loropetalum need to be a greeter at The Blue Building…look for it there soon! And put an order in for me for a heaping load of Unskinnysheder…bahaha…too funny!

    Nice job of transitioning the pool area for fall..Great idea including those close ups of the SLplant cards…I like seeing how the bright coleus (I think) and other fillers looks with the subject plant.

  2. Love everything front, back , and pool. Beautiful containers, plants , and ppkins! Where did you find the cute burlap wreath and fleur de Lis planter?

    • The wreath came from my friend Donnalee at Blankenship Farms. Go give her a shout over here:

      The fleur de Lis planters came from Myers Plants and Pottery, which you can find here: Please tell them both I sent you if you reach out! 🙂

  3. Jody Tirone says:

    It all looks gorgeous! I especially love the “Fall Y’All” signs. How did you make them? What where those before you made them into signs? I love their unique shape!

  4. This is my favorite fall decor I’ve seen. Hands down. I LOVE IT. All of it.

  5. First I just have to gush over how PRETTY your home is!! OMG!! One simple pumpkin would have been all it takes to make that porch more gorgeous than it already is! 🙂

    I love all of the fall plants you have and agree, you really have to scout around for a good deal on mums. I have had no luck planting them over the winter and they take up valued real estate to bloom only for a bit of time here. Sadly, in the Upper Midwest where I live, I can’t grow the plants you’ve shown but we have plenty of alternatives and I’m inspired to give those a try next year!!

    Thanks so much!!! Love your blog! 🙂

    Jane xx

    • Awww thank you Jane! I appreciate your sweet compliments. I agree– mums really do take up a lot of green space for not alot of payoff, and that’s only if you can get them to grow in the ground. I haven’t had much luck either. I hope you find some stunners to work in your garden! 🙂

  6. Beth you have such a knack for mixing just the right amount of this and that for a truly beautiful and unique style. How about a road trip down to FL so we can spruce up my front porch?!

  7. Lovely arrangements, especially the one by the pool!

  8. It all looks beautiful Beth!!! Well done no mum plan.

  9. Oooh, I love that planter! You’ve got lovely plants, Beth!

    Gourmet Getaways

  10. Love everything about this! So clever and pretty!

  11. I love everything about this but WHERE DID YOU FIND ALL THE PUMPKINS?!? I called local farmers markets and home improvement stores… No one has anything until mid September!! 🙁 🙁



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