With Halloween officially behind us, many people are now preparing for the coming holiday season. This includes working through your Christmas shopping list, putting up your indoor Christmas tree, and, of course, decorating your home with colorful lights for all to see.
I have always had a love for outdoor decorations due to the joy and festive spirit that they can share with others. After all, that’s what makes this such a magical holiday, isn’t it?
In this guide, you will find inspiration for creating (or purchasing) unique outdoor Christmas trees for any space. This ranges from simple mini trees for smaller spaces like apartment balconies right up to large and elaborate DIY Christmas trees for your yard, showcasing your individual personality and style. So, pour a cup of eggnog, and let’s get started!
However, before we start, make sure to check our beautiful Christmas outdoor planter ideas, and find out how to make an outdoor Christmas tree made of lights!
Fully Wrap your Deciduous Tree with Christmas Lights
Do you have an outside tree that loses all its leaves, leaving a barren skeleton of a tree throughout the winter season? Don’t worry, the lack of greenery doesn’t mean that you can’t create a festive tree full of holiday cheer! Taking your lights, wrap the trunk of the tree and all branches. This can be done either with magical white twinkle lights or bold bright colors, depending on your preferences. If you’re worried about the time required, net lights may be a great solution to wrap your trees quickly with a fraction of the effort. You can also save some time by creating a circular wrap of leaves around the branches of the tree to create a ball of light instead of wrapping each branch individually.
Build a Tree with Corrugated Plastic Sheets
If your decorating style is best described as clean and modern, this is the perfect outdoor Christmas tree for your yard! All you need is a sheet of white corrugated plastic, white electrical tape, and a string of brightly colored LED lights. Cut three long, tall triangles out of your plastic sheet, all the same size. This will determine the size of your artificial tree.
Place the three triangles side by side with all the tips together and the good side down, creating one large triangle, and tape them securely with electrical tape along the seams. Using a drill and a drill bit roughly the same size as your LED bulbs, drill holes scattered across the three triangles. You want to add one hole for every bulb on your string of lights, so drill 100 holes if you are using a 100-light string. Push the bulbs through each hole, securing the cords from the back with electrical tape.
Once all your lights are in place, carefully fold the triangle up so that the two edges come together creating a closed 3-D triangle with the light cords contained inside. Run a single strip of white electrical tape along each of the three seams to hold everything securely together. To put your new tree out on display, you will need to weigh it down by packing snow around the base or using a tent-peg style system to anchor the tree into the ground.
Outdoor Hay Bale Tree
For those that live out in the country, hay bales and straw bales have long been used for seasonal decorations for the fall season, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, but what about Christmas? If you have some hay bales lying around from your recent holiday decorations, you can repurpose them by building an outdoor hay bale tree. Stack the bales up to create a triangular shape or tree shape in your yard. If you’re not planning to ultimately feed the bales to your animals or use it in some other way where paint could be toxic, you can paint your tree green with spray paint on the surface. The larger the bales, the larger the tree! Don’t forget to decorate with Christmas lights, garland, and colorful ornaments!
Pay Tribute to Your Favorite Sports Team
There are few people in life that are as passionate and dedicated to something as sports fans are. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that there are fans looking for a way to honor their team in every way possible. Why not carry this same theme into your outdoor Christmas tree? There are a few different ways that you can accomplish this. Take inspiration from your team’s colors in your decorating by choosing lights, garland, and ornaments that reflect them. When selecting ornaments, choose options that reflect your team and the sport. For example, if you’re creating a Detroit Red Wings tree, you could include hockey-themed ornaments, Red Wings ornaments, and Ornaments that reflect the city of Detroit. When you’re finished, be sure to take a picture and share it with your fellow fans online, you might even draw some attention from the team.
Assemble Glass Bottles to Create a Light-Catching Tree
Whether your drink of choice is a glass of fine red wine or an ice-cold beer, hang onto your empty bottles. You can recycle after the holidays but first, use them to create a light-catching outdoor tree. To do this, you must first engineer a frame of some form that will hold your bottles in place which is the hardest part of this whole process. Your frame should have a sold center post. Radiating out from this center post, attach dowels that are small enough that you can slip the bottle onto, each angled up slightly so that the bottles don’t fall off. The bottom dowels should be the longest length and they should get shorter as you move up to create the final tree-like shape.
To start assembling your tree, wrap a string of bright white lights around the center post. You can then slide a single bottle on each dowel. When selecting your bottles, make sure that they are completely empty and rinsed out to avoid attracting flies and other unwelcome guests. After all your bottles are on the tree, plug in the lights and watch as they give your tree a magical glow.
Chic Wooden Christmas Trees
If you find yourself drawn to chic, minimalist porch décor, the idea of placing a traditional Christmas tree by your front door may not fit the aesthetic. Luckily, it’s relatively easy to create modern wooden trees of any size. All you need is plywood, paint in your color of choice, and some basic tools. Before you get started, take a moment to measure out the area where you want to place your tree. You want to ensure that it’s going to fit so that you aren’t wasting your time.
Cut two tall, slender triangles out of plywood, ensuring that they are the exact same size and height. If you are having a hard time picturing how it will look, hold a single triangle up in your space to see if the sizing needs to be adjusted. When you are happy with it, cut both triangles in half directly up the center. Paint your new Christmas tree to suit your personal preferences. You can use painter’s tape to help create crisp, clean lines when needed. Once the pieces of your tree have dried, assemble the four pieces in a cross shape, securing them with drywall screws.
Classic White Outdoor Lights
There are few images that are as classic and iconic as a tree lit up with soft white lights. Why is this image so memorable? Despite its use of modern amenities, it is a throwback to the soft glow that was provided by the candles that were once used during the holiday season. If you prefer this nod to the traditional roots of the holiday, why not wrap your outdoor trees with a string of warm LED lights. You can take this theme a step further by incorporating vintage metallic ornaments that will be able to stand up to the elements outdoors and other more traditional decorations around your yard.
Recycled Tire Christmas Tree
Before you run off to recycle the old tires that you have kicking around your garage, here’s a fun outdoor holiday decorating idea. Why not paint hose tires green and assemble a fun (and fully weather resistant) outdoor Christmas tree? This looks best when it includes a variety of different tires including different sizes and tread patterns. Stack the tires with the largest at the bottom and work up to the smallest at the top. You can then decorate your Christmas tree by attaching bows and ornaments to the sides and mounting a tree topper at the very top. You can even string a set of lights around the tires to add a little extra holiday magic.
Create a Rustic Tree with Wrapped Vines
Rustic vine wreaths have long been a popular choice due to their classic appearance and the wide assortment of ways that they can be decorated. However, have you ever considered taking those same grapevines and using them to build an entire tree?
To build your rustic vine tree, you want to start with a cone-shaped form. One of the easiest (and cheapest) to come by is a tomato cage. If you have grapevines growing on your property, you may choose to harvest and use those vines in your project. If not, purchase several grapevine wreaths and carefully take them apart for your use. To start, secure your vine to the cage using a small piece of wire then carefully wrap it around, tucking the end into the other vines and securing it. Continue this until you reach the very top.
Add a festive glow to your rustic Christmas trees by carefully wrapping a string of fairy lights around the tree. These trees look good not only as a porch display, but also indoors surrounded by flickering votive candles. They also make the perfect gift for any friends and family that love decorating for the season.
Add a Red Nose and Antlers
Parents, this is a decorating idea that is sure to be a hit with the kids. Why not turn one of your outdoor trees into Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? The is an easy one to scale for larger trees in your yard. All you have to do is create a pair of antlers and a red nose out of weather-safe material. Some ideas of materials to use include plastic sheeting, wood, chicken wire covered with plastic, decorative candy canes (for antlers), pool noodles, or even a large sparkling light to highlight the nose. If you have a row of trees, consider giving them all antlers and black noses, with only the bright red nose featured on the tree in the very front, just as the reindeer would be lined up pulling Santa’s sleigh.
Use a Window Planter to Display Small Christmas Tress on a Balcony
Not everyone lives somewhere with a large property or deck space to feature their outdoor Christmas trees, but this doesn’t mean that you need to miss out on the fun. Even if the only space that you have available is a small window planter, you can still create a festive display to celebrate the season. In the weeks leading up to the holidays, many big box stores and garden centers will sell small potted Christmas trees with miniature ornaments to decorate your home or office. To create a fun outdoor display, line up 3 or 4 of these potted trees in a window planter and string small LED fairy lights along through them. Depending on the space offered in your planter, you may also choose to add additional decorations to create some holiday cheer.
Wooden Crate Christmas Tree
There has been a trend of people making coffee tables and other fun and functional furniture using wooden crates. The final product, depending on how it has been styled, is ideal for any rustic, cottage, or industrial space. If this is a look that catches your eye, then this Christmas tree is going to look great in your home. Rather than stacking hay bales or recycled tires, as previously mentioned, this tree is created by strategically stacking wooden crates.
How you stack your crates can change the final look, but they all involve stacking the crates to create a pyramid shape. Stacking them with the opening down will leave you with a wooden surface to decorate. You can then decorate by hanging fairy lights and ornaments across the surface of the tree. If, however, you stack the crates with the opening of the crate facing forward, you open up a new option for decorating as you can place larger decorations inside each crate.
Create Your Own DIY Christmas Tree with Marquee Lights
Have you always loved the way that those little round marquee lights shine, catching the eye of anyone that passes by? Why must these lights be used exclusively on signage? To start, build a flat, wooden tree by attaching wooden boards to a single central truck, each board a little longer than the one above it to create the image of a triangular evergreen. Take a string of small marquee-style lights and count the number of bulbs available. Drill a single hole in the tree for each of the lights before carefully feeding the lights through the holes one at a time, affixing them from behind to make sure that they don’t fall out. When you plug in your new tree, it will come to life just like a traditional theatre marquee sign!
Suspend Ornaments in a Window Frame
Another beautiful way to create an outdoor Christmas tree with a rustic feel is to use an old window frame, some screening, and a selection of ornaments. Depending on the look you are hoping to create, you can stick with more subtle neutral colors, pretty pastels, or add a pop of color with something bold and bright.
To get started, you may want to paint or stain your window frame. To give it a more rustic and timeless appearance, use an antiquing technique. After it has had a chance to dry adequately, you need to attach the screening in the spaces of the frame. This is the surface that you will be attaching your ornaments to, so you want to be sure that it is secured and can handle their weight. If you are planning to hang your window frame, you will need to attach the appropriate hardware to the back of the frame. Alternatively, you can display the frame by sitting it on a table or bench.
Hang your ornaments one at a time by hooking them into the screening. This can be done with small pieces of wire, or the wire ornament hooks that are sold at most big box stores. Place them strategically to create a triangular pattern or tree pattern. If you are the type of person that enjoys changing up your decorating colors or theme from year to year, you can always change your ornaments down the road.
Outdoor Candy Cane Christmas Tree
Decorative candy canes are a popular outdoor decoration and readily available without breaking the bank. Often used to frame entryways or line walkways, they add a little holiday fun to any space. The best part? You can usually find them at your local dollar store! If you share my love for these versatile decorations, this may be your favorite tree on the list. Rather than putting your candy canes out like usual, why not use them to create a fun and whimsical Christmas tree.
To do this, you will need to purchase several of these candy canes, the exact amount will depend on how tall you wish to build your tree. For a standard-sized tree, you will need to connect the candy canes in a row of 4, attaching the end of each candy cane to the back of the hook of the next. Make 6 of these candy cane chains. Holding them with the hook portion of the cane against the ground, bring the ends together creating a teepee structure and securing them together at the top. This can be done easily with red and white duct tape to keep with the festive aesthetic. Finally, decorate your tree by wrapping it with garland, hanging ornaments, adding lights, or whatever other festive details fit your home décor.
Hang Large Stars or Snowflakes
Wrapping your trees in lights is one way to add some holiday cheer to the outdoor trees on your property, but what if you want to do something a little more creative? Another fun way to display your lights on an outdoor Christmas tree is by incorporating those lights into a large decorative ornament. To do this, you must first create a frame that can hold the lights while still being lightweight enough to hang from your trees. An easy way to accomplish this is to build stars or snowflakes from paint stir sticks. Assemble your stir sticks on the ground to figure out your desired shape before attaching them with a hot glue gun.
When the ornaments have had the opportunity to dry, you can then take your lights and wrap them carefully around the wood. Depending on the size of your ornament, you may have to use multiple light strings to ensure that it’s fully covered. Securely hang your ornaments and plug in the lights to watch them shine!
String Bright Colored Ribbon as Garland
If you are looking for a fun alternative to traditional holiday garland or Christmas lights, why not use some brightly colored ribbon in your decorating. For your ribbon to be seen, you will need to choose a style that is wide enough to stand out from a distance. Stick with traditional Christmas colors of red and green or change it up to match your personal decorating style. There are a few different ways that ribbon can be used to decorate your tree. This includes wrapping it around the tree as you would with garland, looping it in and out between the branches as you move from the top of the tree down towards the ground, or creating large ribbon bows for visual accents.
Recycle Pallet Wood to Build Your Own Tree
Many people love the look of wooden or rustic holiday decorations, but that what about those that aren’t skilled in woodworking? This is a quick and easy solution that requires minimal experience, encouraging anyone interested to try their hand at DIY decorating. All you need to create this Christmas tree is a wooden pallet and a saw of some form to cut the wood. Place the pallet on the ground with the boards running horizontally and the three support beams (two sides and center) running vertically. Draw two lines to create a triangle, each extending from the top center point of the pallet down to the bottom corners. Cut along this line, ensuring that you keep the center support beam in the center of the tree. The boards of the pallet will create the tree itself. After cutting, you can paint your new tree to match your décor, add lights or ornaments, or craft a stand of some form to allow it to stand independently.
Build a Tree with Multiple Christmas Wreaths
Do you love the more traditional look of an amazing holiday wreath? By combining multiple wreaths together in a triangular or tree shape, you can build an outdoor Christmas tree that you can easily hang from your front door or exterior wall. To create your wreath tree, you will need several wreaths that are all of the same style and color. Lay them out flat on the ground in a pyramid shape, starting with a single wreath at the top, two in the second row, etc. until your tree is large enough for your chosen space. Using string or wire, secure your wreaths to one another. Add additional decorations to pull it all together such as stringing lights across the ‘tree’ or adding a tree topper to the top wreath.
Play with Colors on a Traditional Tree
While many of the outdoor Christmas trees on this list are focused on how to be unique, standing out from the others in your neighborhood, some people prefer the more traditional approach to their decorating. Luckily, there are still different options to change up your decorations from year to year. If you normally stick to traditional warm lights, why not swap those out for some fun colors? Stick with a single color across all your decorations or mix it up with a variety of colors. It’s amazing to see how a simple change of color can make your tree look completely different.
Hanging Mason Jar Lid Tree
Are you looking for a fun outdoor Christmas tree that can hang on your front door in place of a holiday wreath? If so, here’s an easy holiday décor DIY that will you are sure to love. To start, you need 15 mason jar rings, 14 small holiday ornaments (small enough to hang inside the ring with room to spare), a decorative star cut out of gold or silver cardstock, a large bow, a glue gun, and a roll of twine.
Flat on a table, lay out your mason jar rings in a pyramid style starting with 5 rings and decreasing by one ring with each row. Glue these together, creating your tree. Take your ornaments and tie one inside each of the rings with a small piece of twine, leaving the top ring empty. Add a large twine loop to the top of the top ring for hanging and glue your decorative star centered on the top ring. Finally, add your bow to the bottom and you are ready to hang your tree.