If you’ve been to a home improvement store, craft store, florist shop, or anyplace else that sells Christmas decorations and greenery, you’ve probably seen some of the beautiful holiday porch pots out there. Did you check out the price? All of the ones I was looking at ranged anywhere from $39.99 for a small tabletop-sized one to $89.99 for a good sized outdoor pot.
I have two tall black Cape Cod style planters that flank my double front doors, and most years around this time I stick two artificial pre-lit trees in them and call it a day. They look okay, but they’re a bit sparse and the wind catches them like sails in the winter and they spend more time lying over on their sides than standing upright. This year I decided I wanted to fill these planters with greenery that didn’t just look like an after-thought.
I “researched” by going around to a few different garden centers and looking at the pre-made holiday porch pots. I peeked underneath the greenery to see how they were made and what types of things went into the ones I liked. After a few hours and a pit stop for some greenery of my own, I was ready to make my own. Today I’m sharing the process I used to make my own holiday planters, as well as some things I learned that will help you if you make your own.
Here is a look at the final product before we dive into the process. Not too shabby if I do say so myself!
How to make your own holiday porch pot:
- Greenery — I used 9 bunches of greenery (2 large cypress, 2 white pine, 2 golden cypress, 2 other pine, and 1 boxwood-type stuff)
- Sticks — I used 8 white birch sticks
- Pine cones — I used 4 pine cones (painted red with white tips) on rods
- Holly berries — I used 2 sprigs
*Any of these could be swapped out for different colors and varieties; I used all real fresh greenery, but you could also use artificial ones, too.
1. The first thing I did was to lay out all of the greenery from smallest to largest so I could see what I had.
2. Fill the pot with dirt or potting soil.
I only had a partial bag of potting soil left and I didn’t want to run to the store again, so I dug a few shovels full from my garden out back and used that to fill the pots.
3. Add the tall sticks.
Just like when you put the tall spikey stuff in first when you’re doing summer planters, you also put your tall spikey stuff in first for this. I jammed the sticks in toward the back center of the planters.
4. Add the largest branches next.
My largest branches happened to be big, drapey cypress branches. I put some standing up toward the back and then stuck the rest in around the sides to hang over.
5. Start adding in the filler greenery.
I just added in the different kinds here and there trying to make a nice full shape with a variety of textures and colors.
6. Add in the finishing touches: accents in bright pops of color.
I chose red for my bright accent color because I wanted it to play off of my red doors and stand out against the gray-blue color of our siding.
7. Shift things around and trim anything necessary.
I had to trim some berry-less ends off of the holly berry springs, and I also snipped a few branches that were too long and couldn’t be stuck down into the dirt any farther.
Some Do’s and Don’ts
Here are a few things I want to remember for next time:
- DO choose a variety of greenery! The various colors and textures give the grouping interest. Go for at least 3 different types of branches.
- DO choose branches with thicker, longer stems when you have big pots to fill. One of the bundles of greenery I got was filled with small, short, thin branches and most were too small to be seen in my pots.
- DO add some bright pops of color with berries or painted elements like branches, water lily seed pods, pine cones, or even bows, ribbons, or other floral accents.
- DO follow the good ‘ole “Spiller, Thriller, & Filler” formula for summer container plants. (The “spiller” trails over the side, the “thriller” shoots up from the middle and adds interest, and the “filler” fills up the space in between.) This formula works EVERY time.
- DON’T skimp on the greenery: I’m glad I bought a lot because my planters look nice and full.
- DON’T overthink it. I really just grabbed whatever greenery caught my eye and it all worked out.
Here’s what they look like on my porch:
Here’s the full effect, close up.
And here’s what they look like in the scheme of the whole facade.
The little accents really make a difference. Love these bright, cheery pine cones!
My little Illini Gnomie loves his new view.
And another option I’m considering to take this one step further is a pretty bow. I had some red and white striped ribbon so I quickly slapped a bow on and I think I like it. I need to take more time to tie a pretty bow, and I actually need to buy another roll of ribbon because this strand is the last I had. But it’s definitely something I want to add. That and maybe a few lights…. What do you think?
I’ve had these black planters for several years now and I love them. They’re on my porch year-round, with annuals in the summertime, mums in fall, and Christmas-y stuff in winter.
Shop My Planters:
Here are a few options if you like the tall black planters I have on my front porch.
- The exact planters I have from Plow & Hearth
- Buy similar at Target
- Buy similar at Amazon
So this was a pretty easy project that only took a few hours of “research” (a.k.a., window shopping), 1 hour of picking out greenery and accents, and about 1 hour to put it all together on my porch. I spent around $80 for all of the greenery and accents (I bought everything at Heights Flowers in Peoria Heights, IL, and I received a 20% discount for shopping during Black Friday weekend (woohoo!). They were really helpful, too. I highly recommend going to a local small business for projects like these.
A holiday porch pot would make a FABULOUS Christmas gift, too! You could find a great Christmas-y pot or even something more neutral like a copper or ceramic pot and do a smaller version of what I did here. Mine cost around $40 each for supplies (not including the pots), but if you sent smaller you could probably get the greenery and a cute pot all for around $30-40 I’d say. Going to have to think about doing this next year (all of my 2017 Christmas gift shopping is DONE as of this weekend – can I get a woohoo!?!).
If you’re looking for a quick way to add some holiday cheer to your front porch, this is it. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
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