How To Make Your Own Christmas Outdoor Planter - Backyard Boss
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How To Make Your Own Christmas Outdoor Planter

Do you love the look of the decorative outdoor winter planters on display this time of year? There is something about the combination of evergreen boughs and festive decorations that instantly awakens the holiday spirit within us all. If you’re looking for an opportunity to save money on your holiday decorating costs, this is one project that you can easily take on at home!

In this guide, we’re going to look at how to create a DIY Christmas outdoor planter step by step. Follow our instructions and let your creativity shine to create a gorgeous planter that you will be proud to show off to family and friends this season.

You Will Need

  • Large flowerpot or decorative planter
  • Soil
  • Birch branches
  • Evergreen boughs (pine, cedar, spruce)
  • Holly berry branches
  • Large pinecones
  • Battery-operated LED Christmas lights
  • Small holiday ornaments
  • Large decorative bow

When searching for the right evergreen boughs, you want to include a variety of different types to give your holiday planter dimension. This includes larger, more sturdy branches like Silver Fir for structure, brightly colored decorative branches like Western Red Cedar and Princess Pine, and smaller branches to use as a filler like Boxwood. These can be purchased from your local garden center or even sourced from your own backyard!

Step One: Choose and Prepare Your Planter

a pile of empty ceramic planters
Image Credit: Jupiterimages on Canva

Before you start doing any arranging, you will need to choose a planter that will complement any outdoor decorations throughout the holiday season. Some examples, depending on your personal decorating style, include a ceramic planter, classic urn planter, or rustic planter (this includes wood and concrete planters with a country feel to them). You may also want to add a pop of color to your outdoor setting by choosing bold modern planters. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choice!

Fill your planter with soil or other filler. If you live in an area that is known for high winds, you may want to place heavier rocks at the very bottom, topping them with soil, to add some weight to your finished planter. You want to pack in your soil enough that it will offer some support as you add elements to your planter, but not so much that it’s difficult to work with.

If you have a year-round planter that has died off for the winter, cut down any remaining vegetation to the soil level and you have a planter ready to go!

Step Two: Place Your Birch Branches

a pile of birch branches
Image Credit: -massmedia- on Canva

The birch branches will create the central foundation for your overall planter design. Poke the birches as far as you can into the soil so that they are standing straight up, securing them in pace by compacting the soil around them. You can use as few or as many branches as you feel is necessary for the size of your planter, however, if you’re unsure I recommend starting with 3.

Step Three: Add Your Evergreen Branches

close-up view of evergreen branches in a planter
Image Credit: LOVE_LIFE on Canva

Sort your evergreen branches into three separate piles:

  • Larger, more sturdy branches for additional structure
  • Decorative branches, branches that are ‘floppy’ or fan-like
  • Smaller branches to use as filler around the rest

Place your sturdy branches behind and around the sides of the birch branches to create a backdrop and vertical shape to your arrangement. You don’t want to use too many of these branches, just 2-3 to form the back of the planter.

Starting with the larger, more structured decorative branches, place them in and around the branches to fill out the space in the sides and front of the planter. Be careful to angle them in a way that opens the arrangement up, allowing your guests to see everything else that you will have included in the planter rather than blocking it off by sticking straight up in the front. Allow the branches to overhang the sides and front of the planter.

Finally, work your ‘filler’ branches into the planter in and around everything that is already in place. This will add additional color and texture to the arrangement, so don’t be afraid to mix and match. The goal is to fill it in enough that you can no longer see the soil in your planter while still allowing for movement when the winter wind comes through.

Step Four: Add Larger Accent Pieces

close-up of holiday planter with evergreens and pinecones
Image Credit: Diane Labombarbe on Canva

When you are happy with the appearance of the greenery in your planter, it’s time to start adding more of the decorative elements. Your larger accent pieces will include branches of holly berries, any greenery with actual leaves that you want to include, and large pinecones. Use these items to not only add character to your arrangement but also to fill in any holes or unwanted spaces. This is a great way to add more color and texture to your planter.

Step Five: Create a Festive Glow with String Lights

string of white christmas lights sitting in a pile on the ground
Image Credit: KristineKaren on Canva

Weave your LED Christmas lights in and around the fresh evergreens and other natural elements. This is a great way to add a little magic to your planter even during the dead of winter. Position the battery pack to the back of your planter where it can’t be seen but can easily be accessed to turn it on/off or change the batteries when needed. You can use traditional soft white lights for a beautiful planter that will take you back in time or use brightly colored lights for a fun, colorful statement piece.

Step Six: Incorporate Holiday Ornaments and Other Decorations

close-up of a holiday planter with ribbon and pinecones
Image Credit: Mary Baratto on Canva

This is the step where you really personalize your festive winter planter to match your holiday decorating theme or color scheme. Much like you would decorate a Christmas tree, you can add creative elements to your planter including Christmas bulb ornaments, beaded garland, tinsel, decorative ribbon, or any other holiday decorations that you feel will help to create your vision of the perfect outdoor planter. For the final touch, add a large decorative bow to the front of the pot and your planter is ready to display!

Celebrate the Season with Your One-of-a-Kind Outdoor Christmas Planter

The best part about creating your own DIY planters is the fact that no two planters are the same. This is a great way to incorporate your personality into your holiday decorations. Don’t be afraid to experiment. After all, these are easily taken apart and reworked. Simply pack the soil back down again to fill in any holes and you have a blank canvas.

Seasonal planters are a great way to compliment any other décor on your porch including fresh greenery in wreaths and holiday garland. In addition to using the ornaments and ribbon to add a pop of color, you can also try using brightly colored branches or those that have been decorated with glitter.

While there is no substitute for fresh greenery, there are many beautiful winter planters that have been constructed using artificial plants. This is a great option if you are looking for a decoration option that can be stored during the off-season and reused year after year. To make storage easier (and less messy) you can skip the soil and use a large piece of floral foam to secure your branches and decorations instead.

Most importantly, have fun! Enjoy the process and tap into your creative side. When you’re finished, you will have a gorgeous planter to display on your porch and spread some holiday joy to anyone that sees it.