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Winter Landscaping: 7 Holiday Décor Secrets to Steal from Terrain

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Winter Landscaping: 7 Holiday Décor Secrets to Steal from Terrain

December 9, 2018

Just in time for us to get serious about holiday decorating, our friends at Terrain have published a witty, stylish book full of tips of the trade. Anyone who’s ever visited one of Terrain’s shops decorated for the holiday season may well wonder who created all those glowing, golden depictions of  long-ago wintertime, seen through a lens of modern style?

The answer: The inventive displays came from the imagination of the same team who are behind Terrain: Ideas and Inspiration for Decorating the Home and Garden. Edited by Greg Lehmkuhl and the gardeners of Terrain, the book was written by Caroline Lees and showcases ideas for creating indoor and outdoor garden vignettes year-round. Here are a few of our favorite ideas for holiday curb appeal:

Photography by Isa Salazar for Terrain except where noted, courtesy of Artisan Books.

1. Forage for fresh evergreens.

&#8\2\20;In the harsh winters of colonial America, immigrants from England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, and Germany yearned for the familiar holiday traditions of their homelands,&#8\2\2\1; says Terrain. &#8\2\20;They turned to the most abundant resource of their new country—its boundless wilderness—to craft seasonal décor.&#8\2\2\1;
Above: “In the harsh winters of colonial America, immigrants from England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, and Germany yearned for the familiar holiday traditions of their homelands,” says Terrain. “They turned to the most abundant resource of their new country—its boundless wilderness—to craft seasonal décor.”

Simple greenery—boughs, branches, and berries gathered in your backyard or from the nearby landscape—create a festive backdrop for the holiday season. Bedeck a doorway or roof line with evergreens wired together (they’ll last for weeks outdoors in the cold). For the mantel indoors, consider “sprays of bright red winterberry, glossy holly branches, and simple, fragrant evergreen boughs, made all the more beautiful in the golden glimmer of candlelight,” notes Terrain.

2. Create gathering spaces.

&#8\2\20;At the heart of the holiday season is the desire to gather, to connect with friends and family from near and far over shared memories and hopes for the year ahead,&#8\2\2\1; notes Terrain.
Above: “At the heart of the holiday season is the desire to gather, to connect with friends and family from near and far over shared memories and hopes for the year ahead,” notes Terrain.

Indoors, we gather around a fireplace or dining table. Outdoors you can “illuminate the landscape with lighted structures to encourage twilight strolls in the snow, or create an unexpected space for winter gatherings by designing an outdoor room with a crackling fire pit as a centerpiece,” notes Terrain.

3. Let lights lead the way.

Above: Photograph by Doug Weissman for Terrain.

“Rather than lighting the entire home or yard, focus on a few high-impact displays that frame the entrance and approach,” notes Terrain.

Shrubs, trees, light poles, and railings can become scaffolding for holiday lights. Be strategic and affix lights to these existing landscape features to guide guests to your front door.

4. Make a DIY gilded wreath.

&#8\2\20;A golden touch is always welcome,&#8\2\2\1; notes Terrain.
Above: “A golden touch is always welcome,” notes Terrain.

You can use either gilding paste or spray paint to add a festive touch to sturdy plant materials—fresh boughs gathered from garden or preserved botanicals will work equally well for this project. For step-by-step instructions, see Terrain: Ideas and Inspiration for Decorating the Home and Garden.

5. Decorate a tabletop tree.

&#8\2\20;While most Americans prefer floor-to-ceiling firs, some European traditions dictate that the holiday tree shouldn’t exceed 4 feet in height,&#8\2\2\1; notes Terrain. &#8\2\20;Small-scale evergreens between 3 and 4 feet tall provide a glimpse of green in parts of the home not suited to a full-size fir.&#8\2\2\1;
Above: “While most Americans prefer floor-to-ceiling firs, some European traditions dictate that the holiday tree shouldn’t exceed 4 feet in height,” notes Terrain. “Small-scale evergreens between 3 and 4 feet tall provide a glimpse of green in parts of the home not suited to a full-size fir.”

Have you ever wondered how a tiny tree would look on your front porch? See sources for live tabletop trees at A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree That Can Change Your Life.

6. Create an “outdoor artpiece.”

&#8\2\20;Arrange branches with striking silhouettes in anticipation of snowfall; once coated in snow, this urn of knotty magnolia twigs serves as an outdoor art piece,&#8\2\2\1; notes Terrain.
Above: “Arrange branches with striking silhouettes in anticipation of snowfall; once coated in snow, this urn of knotty magnolia twigs serves as an outdoor art piece,” notes Terrain.

7. Add jingle bells to a wreath.

A seasonal musical accent, jingle bells are a throwback to the days when horse-drawn sleighs were the most practical form of conveyance in winter. Jingle bells on sleighs warned passersby of a vehicle&#8\2\17;s approach (it was difficult for sleighs to stop suddenly on slippery snow and ice).
Above: A seasonal musical accent, jingle bells are a throwback to the days when horse-drawn sleighs were the most practical form of conveyance in winter. Jingle bells on sleighs warned passersby of a vehicle’s approach (it was difficult for sleighs to stop suddenly on slippery snow and ice).
Above: A hardcover copy of Terrain is $35.

See more way to dress up a garden for the holidays:

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