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Creating a Winter Friendly Landscape

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…everywhere you look!

Admit it. You just sang that, didn’t you? ha I’m glad you are getting into the holiday spirit with me! Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the giving spirit everyone has during the holidays and the overall feeling of love and compassion towards one another. I wish it was something we would all practice year round!

So, in honor of Christmas and the cooler months ahead (for most of you), I’m going to share with you some of my favorite outdoor Christmas landscaping and decor. I’ve always enjoyed planting flowers and you KNOW I really enjoy decorating for each holiday and season.

I can’t help but think back to our home in Jacksonville, FL and the Christmas decorating I did on our front porch. It is, by far, some of my favorites! It was the first home we had built and owned (rather than renting or living in base housing). So, I enjoyed adding a special touch.

I don’t know about you, but I get a little tired of the blah lack of color, the dead grass and the bare trees. I like to choose plants to add to my outdoor pots that will add some color and brighten things up a little. It’s very important to take into consideration your environment. Some plants can’t survive in colder weather. You don’t want to put in the work and then have them die. So, take your weather conditions into consideration.

There are actually several plants that can thrive in the cooler winter temperatures.

If you are looking for some winter color, here are some great options: 15 Striking Plants for Winter Color. 

My favorite this time of year are poinsettia! Nothing says Christmas more than Christmas trees and poinsettia! Once I discovered you could actually PLANT your poinsettias, it was a game changer for me! I like to pair them with ornamental cabbage and a plant called a Dusty Miller. The Dusty Miller is great because it has a frosted look to it which is great for winter!

My front porch had two large flower pots. I chose a very large poinsettia plant for each one to be the focal point. To add some height, I added some winter branches/berry sprays. I also had some little mini lights that I dispersed to add a special touch at night.


I lined our front landscaping with a mixture of red, grey and green. For this landscaping, I chose a taller flower called a Snap Dragon. For the next layer, I added the grayish colored Dusty Miller followed by a low to the ground growing ornamental cabbage. As you are planting, keep in mind they will grow. Be mindful of this when you are spacing them out and allow for them to take up more space.


Our driveway had a large pot on it as well. I wanted to use this pot to tie together the porch flower pots and the “in ground” landscaping along the front of the house. To do so, I used and ornamental cabbage, dusty miller, poinsettia and some winter sticks layered in the back for height. Just look at that beautiful, vibrant red color!


Back to the front porch…I picked up a little Christmas tree that I wanted to use outdoors. I love the idea of having a “tree for the birds.” I got the idea off of a kids Christmas movie (I think it was Rudolph or Frosty the Snowman when the animals decorate a tree out in the woods.)

I wanted to recreate this concept of a “tree for the birds” so I chose to use all “natural” things you can find in nature to decorate this tree.

I made pine cone ornaments out of some pinecones we collected. To hang them, I used some twine wrapped around one of the quills, looped it up and tied a little bow on the top.

For a garland, I used some burlap garlands I already had. One of them even had little pictures of birds on it so it was perfect!

I chose to use stick with the same color scheme of red to match the poinsettia and snap dragons. I used little sticks that had red berries on them to add the little splash of color I felt it needed.

We also found 2 little red cardinals (they really chirped when you walked by them!). We had one bird for each kid so they had fun with that.

I also had one simple wooden bead garland which looked like strung cranberries. I wish had more but, the one strand had to do the trick since it was something I bought a long time ago.


To top it off and stay true to the natural tree theme, I used Frosty the Snowman’s top hat instead of a star or angel as you may typically see. 


I love how it turned out. Looking back at it, it still puts a smile on my face!

In fact, I’ve since then moved the tree into my home where it is my main Christmas tree this year! Our big tree somehow got lost during our move to Hawaii. It was stored in a giant Christmas tree bag. I remember joking it looked like we were packing a dead body or something. Maybe the moving company thought it was suspicious and ditched it for us! ha! This year, I added some little bows I found at a thrift store and didn’t use the burlap garlands. I have also added some red and white christmas lights-ladybug picked the twinkle type of course!

This tree is simple to set up and so very pretty. I’ve learned, a few simple touches of Christmas around my home makes it feel like home. Even when we have a new home every few years due to military moves. I enjoy the simplicity of our little tree and having more time to enjoy the season with the kids. I previously would go crazy with winter garlands everywhere and began to dread the holiday decorating which is something I typically enjoy so much. That’s when I knew I needed to tame it down a bit.

I encourage you to keep this in mind as you enter the holiday season. Simple is fine. Less is best. Do what makes you happy and puts a smile on your face. If you enjoy a lot of decorations, go for it. But, don’t feel pressured to have your home look like it belongs in a Martha Stewart magazine.

Even with the landscaping.

Sometimes, just a simple flower-pot can make a big difference. My porch may be overwhelming to some. But, we did the landscaping together as a family project and opted against a lot of outdoor Christmas lights that year. Do what you like!

I was very proud of how this turned out and was excited to have it greet my guests all winter long. I felt it was very welcoming and created a homey environment from the moment they stepped foot on my porch. It made me excited to come home as well.


Merry Christmas or Mele Kalikimaka as we say in Hawaii 🙂

Landscaping Ideas Which Create a Winter Wonderland

With Aloha,



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6 thoughts on “Creating a Winter Friendly Landscape

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