Ask the Expert: Are there any high-design options for festive exterior holiday décor?

Q: Are there any high-design options for festive exterior holiday décor?

Your yard is so much more than just what you pass through to enter your home: it’s your place to play, relax, and entertain. One of the primary intentions of thoughtful landscape design and build is to extend your livable space—to invite engagement within your landscape. And that includes winter months.

As the days get shorter, our homes need not lose their curb appeal—its initial appeal from the street or its threshold or patio appeal. Here are some easily implemented ideas for creating a warmer, more inviting and festive exterior to your home during our Midwest winter:

Complement Your Architecture

There are a variety of planters, from wrought iron to copper to stone or concrete, that complement the architecture of your home and landscape rather than depart from your aesthetic the way a typical holiday display would.

Natural plantings or decorative branches lend a more festive appearance to planters: Dwarf Spruce, Pine, Cypress, and other evergreens; Red Twig Dogwood or twigs such as Birch; Holly or mixed Eucalyptus; Curly Flame Willow, and Magnolia stems. Traditional twinkle lights or ornaments can be added if you want a holiday-centric look.

Illuminate and Repurpose

Looking for something a little more demure than standard Christmas lights lined along your gutter? You can still capture the warm glow of the lights in an elegant way while repurposing old, tangled white lights: lay coiled twinkle light strands on top of soil in a planter, then insert branches or even dried flowers or trimmings from your yard to create a bush-like appearance.

Make your home more inviting by illuminating walkways or your porch. Try these ice lanterns—a great family project. Or try glass vases filled with smooth rocks, hearty leaves like magnolias, red winterberries, and long-lasting pillar candles—or even realistic battery-operated candles—to add a warm glow to walkways, stairways, porches, and patios.

Relax and Let the Professionals Help

biota works with clients to design and install unique individualized planters and features to complement your style; this is perfect for families who feel perhaps a little intimidated by the process of creating their own planters or are simply too busy during the holiday season. Our creative team is happy to enhance your winter curb appeal, such as with winter planters.

The important thing to remember is that just because it’s cold and dreary out doesn’t mean you have to stop interacting with your landscape. In addition, biota offers evergreen and perennial winterizing as protection from harsh Minnesota winters. We’re also happy to offer recommendations on how to get the most out of your landscape this winter and to best prepare for a beautiful spring. Contact us to continue the conversation. Visit, call us at 612.781.4000 or email to learn more.

—Steve Modrow, Principal