Build Your Own Festive Outdoor Planter {A Holiday DIY Chez Newb}

I admit to normally having a lame exterior when it comes to Christmas. I am no Griswald. I’d love to have a classic Christmas house strung with lights and twinkle, but I don’t. Normally I’m kinda late with the exterior decor and have to contend with climbing not-so-gracefully into snowbanks and grasping onto icicles instead of enjoying a magical movie moment where birds string lights into pine trees and chipmunks plug in the lights. Instead with a short ladder and a fear of heights (i.e. no crawling across the roof for me!) I’m usually left stringing lights haphazardly along the lower half of my abode. Maybe this is the year I’ll borrow a really long ladder? Or maybe I’ll just celebrate the fact that my wonderful husband and son already strung some lights along our front yard fence. We’re getting started early this year. Finally!

But what I really want to get a head start on are my own outdoor Christmas planters for around the front door. I got super inspired by the ones I made for the Canadian Tire event Sue and I were at. (Yes, I’m like a broken record, but I REALLY got my craft on for that event so I’ve got tonnes of things to share with you from then.) I foraged through the store’s garden supplies and came up with some awesome planters, and the rest came together easily.

newberry sykes canvas holiday outdoor urn

Here are my tips for creating your own outdoor planter.

Get a Pretty, Solid Planter.

The planters most people fill with soil in the summer will blow away in the winter if they’re not weighted down. If you’ve already ditched the dirt from the summer, put a few bricks or rocks in there instead, or some gravel if you have any handy. For the display above, I chose a red planter and then inserted a smaller metal planter inside. This gave me something to both stand the branches in, but to also hold the wreath in place so I could get some variation in height and width in the planter. (The red planter was gorgeous on its own, but was a bit too wide to hold things together sturdily and cleanly; that’s why I added the inner planter.)

Wrap a Wreath or Garland Around the Base.

Greenery transitions the base nicely and gives you a place to string some lights. I used a wreath but you could also use garland and weave it securely around, or arrange pine boughs in the bottom layer. Make sure the greenery billows out a bit too though; it’s like a pretty and functional scarf for your sticks ;-)

Go Natural.

Grab twigs, sticks, birch tree branches, pine cones, sumac and whatever you can find or buy. These branches were all from Canadian Tire, but you could easily forage in the woods for items you like. I especially like putting in red branches for a flash of colour.

Paint ‘em.

If you can’t find a variety of species in the woods or store, don’t be afraid to grab some white or gold spray paint and spray the grey branches that abound in the woods these days. Just make sure to use exterior paint.

Vary Heights.

Use a variety of materials and make sure some go high and some fill in the gaps below. Pine cones and other smaller pieces can be glued onto sturdy sticks and fill in where you need some fullness near the base, or variety in the middle.

Light It Up.

christmas lights display

Here’s how the planters I made look like in the dark. Just weave the lights within the greenery at the base and then all the way to the top of the branches. I used tiny wire-based lights from NOMA that are gorgeous, but any smaller-sized exterior light string will do.

Embellish it.

Most people stick to greenery or a few large ornaments for their planters, but why not add some fun too. You could hang some treats for the birds, create an acorn or pine cone garland, hang a Happy Holidays sign, or even hang some happy notes in it for guests to find.

I would have more than happily brought these planters home with me, but since they were created for the store event, I’ll be working on my own lighted masterpieces this weekend. I think if I can create a winter wonderland at ground level, I might avoid climbing a ladder to the gable of my house and save myself some embarrassment and potential injury. (An electrician we had in for the kitchen renos last year said installing an outlet in the top gable of a house was quite popular for Christmas lights. Good tip for anyone who is building new or renovating.)

Happy planter foraging (or buying! :-))



6 Comments on Build Your Own Festive Outdoor Planter {A Holiday DIY Chez Newb}

  1. Sonia
    November 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm (2 years ago)

    Beautiful Christmas planters, Mere! You could totally make a bunch and sell them (in case you wanted another side business – ha ha)! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Meredith Newberry
      November 26, 2014 at 9:18 pm (2 years ago)

      You’re very welcome Sonia! And I think that’s a great idea — how much fun would it be to create these for people?!? I was planning to put a little chalkboard sign on these planters with a house address on it. I thought it would be really sweet, but it just didn’t look right with these planters. Maybe my own will have a little sign instead. :-) Thanks for the sweet, sweet comment. Happy planter-ing to you :-)

  2. Anne
    November 26, 2014 at 12:53 pm (2 years ago)

    Gee Mere, I was feeling pretty good about my usual urns with the birch, greens, some pinecones and a bauble or two but after seeing this gorgeous creation….. pssst …. you are now the queen of Christmas decor too! I’m off to Canadian Tire to shamelessly plagerize your entire look!
    What a brilliant idea to use a wreath at the base! It makes a sturdy foundation for all the other goodies. Mr. Grizwald, eat your heart out!! :)

    • Meredith Newberry
      November 26, 2014 at 9:16 pm (2 years ago)

      ha ha — thanks Anne! But I’m not quite ready to wear the Christmas crown yet….since I haven’t created my own yet! Hold me to it this weekend, k? I’m sure your “usual” urns are gorgeous as it sounds like you’ve got all the basics already covered. xo

  3. Lisa Goulet
    November 26, 2014 at 3:23 pm (2 years ago)

    Pretty Meredith! I all about the glitz and sparkle at Christmas too. Great inspiration. I managed to do my urn last week, the first of my Christmas decorations to go up.

    • Meredith Newberry
      November 26, 2014 at 9:14 pm (2 years ago)

      Great work Lisa! Ahead of the curve, for sure. I’ll keep my eye out on your blog for your urns…your planters were gorgeous last year!


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