My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

April and Autumn Entry Decor

Today is such a special day...

It's my sweet and darling daughter April's 27th birthday!

Happy Birthday April!
This is the two of us this Summer, right after the French Flea Market.
We took a day trip to Bloomington and to Oliver Winery.
April lives in Texas so I won't get to see her big hugs from here my sweet one !

Today, I am spending the day out in my garden doing clean up...
Putting the potager to bed for the approaching cooler temperatures...
And preparing my entry areas for Fall.

For many years now, I have done the entry areas for my clients homes. This year, I have decided to take some time off.
 The only urns, window boxes and doors I will be decorating...Are right here at home.
I am even going to show you how I do my overflowing urns.

Usually, if I decorate you house for the Holidays...I also decorate for Autumn.
And this is the real trick to building the foundation for Christmas. It's really all done right now.

Let get started!

This is one of the urns in my garden. I removed the center this case a topiary that needs to be planted in the ground... but left the outer ring of flowers.

Then, I placed ON TOP of the existing flowers a Christmas Wreath made of faux greens. This one is a 24" mixed green wreath.

Then in the center of the pot...I poked in some limbs that had fallen from my trees. I save these things for a couple of weeks just so I have enough for my outdoor decor!

As I begin the cleanup of my potager for the Winter...I KEEP my clippings and cuttings!
This is a pile of grapevine, blackberry and sweet annie.

I then begin inserting them into the wreath form using the wiry greenery as twist ties.
If you look real close, you can still see the living plants underneath!

Next, I cut some of my favorite plants that dry well...hydrangeas, lavender, dusty miller and snowball .
I even went out into the field behind my home and collected flowering weeds because they had great texture!

I continue to insert stems...

Until it is full to overflowing with greens that will dry right here~beautifully!

In the urns closest to the house, I add wheat, burlap ribbon and a birds nest that had fallen this Spring.
Each year is a little different. Sometimes  I add potted items to the center such as Kale, mums or asters.
And sometimes the center is filled with pumpkins!

For smaller urns I simply ROLL the existing flowers to form a wreath! Add grapevine and then begin inserting my stems.

This is the back door to our home. It is still under construction but I decorate this area anyway!

Under the lantern, I filled the existing galvanized pocket with the same naturals I had used in my urns.

In entry areas I always use stems that have a wonderful fragrance. In this case more sweet annie and lavender. Both smell amazing and just seem to say "Welcome" to me.
This afternoon I will work on my  cottage window boxes using the same techniques.

The reason I do my Christmas foundations now is "pic-a-bility".
 Right now, I am able to insert my stems into dry soil. As the weather changes it becomes frozen and I can't get them as full.
Also, everything that is here now...stays throughout the Winter...
As the base for my Christmas greens! It is so much easier to insert greens into this base than to start from scratch!
**One of the major achievements is that you don't  have to use as many of the more expensive Christmas  picks or greens...but you achieve the lush, overflowing look!**

I hope this helps inspire you for your own outdoor decor for  Fall and then Christmas soon after!
Have a wonderful Wednesday!


  1. You are so talented and creative! And YES - inspiring! Love your blog:)

  2. So beautiful, Donna! You've inspired me to get out in the yard and see what I can find for my planters! Happy birthday, April :)

  3. WOW Donna, I'm totally inspired! love how you've layered the real with the faux, its gorgeous and so lush!
    Happy Birthday to your Girl! xoxo

  4. Happy Birthday to April.

    Love your urns and how you filled them. Thanks for the inspiration.


  5. Happy day to april :)!& amazing arrangements!
    Blessings my friend!

  6. Swoon worthy gorgeousness! Happy Birthday to April, and I hope you have a lovely week!

  7. This is brilliant, and really specific! Thanks for sharing your technique. The result is spectacular of course!

  8. Oh this is very inspiring and helpful. I have two large urns, and recently picked up another. I love this look Donna. We are going to have a very warm weekend, so I will head out into my wild back yard and hunt some sticks and vines and weeds and all kinds of things...and try to do a respectable knock off!

  9. Donna!
    You always make my day! Such a beautiful mix of nature made and made by hand! What a great concept...ready for transition. Your April is the same age as my son Jay. Thanks for sharing the photograph. You are both as pretty as I imagined.I send birthday wishes x 27!

  10. I am so inspired now, i just want to leave work and go do this! That was really great information...


  11. Lovely!!!! I usually think about decorating outdoors when it's too late to do anything about it.

  12. A Very Happy Birthday to your lovely daughter. Your Autumn urns are beautiful and are definitely a welcome to your home. Thank you for sharing your techniques so generously. Happy Autumn...

  13. Happy Birthday April!

    Donna, the urns are fabulous. Makes me want to rush out and buy urns! ..and aren't you clever with your technique :D

    Happy Wednesday!

  14. Happy Birthday Sweet April... I hope your day is just as you hoped it would be.
    The urns are fabulous girlie... you are always so on top of things! I am hoping some of that rubs off but... well you know me, I will be out there with my ice pick!
    Blessings today

  15. Your urns are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your technique and Happy Birthday April.

  16. G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S!!!!! Donna, this is amazing to me. Thank you so much for the instructions. All I can say is "you are awesome my dear friend"
    love ya...

  17. Oh I forgot to tell April Happy Birthday you beautiful girl!!!!!

  18. Thanks for the Birthday Shoutout MOMMY! I love you very much and love how amazing the house looks. Ready to be home for Christmas!

  19. jE suis enchantée de ce que je vois !
    Ces arrangements floraux sont ravissants et vous avez un tel talent ...
    bon anniversaire à votre soeur qui est magnifique !
    Je vous souhaite une douce journée

  20. Girl, you are one of the most talented people I know!
    Love it all! Enjoy your time off!

  21. Fabulous!
    You are definitely a creative person.

  22. You are a true artist. These are the most beautiful urns I've seen. Thank you for the tutorial and your gorgeous photos. have a great autumn!

  23. Wow!! Your making me feel very lazy. I have a large urn that needs you.

    It's so nice when we can spend time with our kids. So did lovely daughter get your creative gene?


  24. These are stunning Donna! Thank you for outlining the process.

  25. so beautiful and because god is in the details you do the back of the home. gorgeous!


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~Donna Reyné