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Decorating with Natural Elements for Autumn – Fall Greenery Ideas

Fall greenery is perfect to use when decorating with natural elements.  It’s both bold in color and rustic in texture and gives a calming look to any home decor project.

I love the feel and look of fall. There is nothing like cool days when the garden starts to die down for winter.

It may appear to the average person that there is nothing of interest out there in the garden right now, but to someone looking for items to use for decorating, it’s like a gold mine!

Decorating with greenery is natural, rustic and adds both color and texture to your home.

Natural elements home decor.

Thanksgiving tablescapes often make use of fall decorative greenery. It can be part of a central centerpiece or as additional decorative material.

There are several symbols of Thanksgiving commonly included on holiday tables. Try using some of them on yours!

Thanksgiving tablescape plate with a card reading "Give thanks."

Decorating with natural elements

In the fall, the garden starts to look pretty shabby. There are still a few fall blooming flowers but most of the color is gone.  That makes it a perfect time for indoor plant projects.

When many people start their fall decorating projects, they head straight to a craft store such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.  Me?  I head straight to my garden.Fall garden scene. Decorating with greenery starts in the garden.

I love incorporating natural fall greenery in any decor project. The look is soothing and it brings the outdoor into your home in a lovely way.

This type of rustic greenery used to be limited to shell collections and flower arrangements, but now the natural and rustic look in natural fall decor is very popular in all sorts of trendy decorating.

Dried flowers and fall flower arrangements that use moss and grasses are a cost-effective alternative to cut flowers and living plants. These items are naturally pretty and require no water or maintenance.Fall greenery arrangement with words "Decorating with natural elements."

What types of greenery can be used for fall decorating?

The sky is the limit when it comes to natural decorating for fall. If you take a wander around your garden with an open mind, you’ll find all sorts of possibilities for using fall greenery.

Here are some of my favorite autumn greenery decorating ideas:

Decorating with natural elements by using fall leaves

Nature is magnificent in the fall.  The range of colors that the autumn leaves take on is stunning. This makes them perfect for fall decorations.hands holding leaves for natural home decor

Make your morning walk a time to gather some of the prettiest shaped leaves in an array of colors and let them naturally dry.  You’ll have a huge supply of them for craft projects before you know it!

Once you have the leaves gathered, you can use them in all sorts of fall decorating projects. Fall lanterns with leaves and pinecones.

Chinese lantern plants

Chinese lantern plants have loads of fall appeal. The plant develops bright orange pods which mature in autumn and look like tiny pumpkins.

You can use them for all sorts of fall decorating. Find out more about growing Chinese lantern plant here.

Chinese lantern plant pods in vase near some fabric pumpkins.

Ornamental cabbage and kale

These edible vegetables have a bitter flavor and are normally used as a garnish in recipes. The color of kale is so bright and vibrant and ornamental cabbage has a lovely rosette deign. Both can be used in many decorative ways. Ornamental cabbage and Kale plants in a collage.

Each of these plants can really take the cold temperatures which makes them perfect for adding color in fall.

Add pots of the bright vegetable in planters for your porch or along the sides of the steps going up into your home.  A single planter makes a wonderful focal point.Basket of ornamental kale.

Decorating with natural elements: use mums and asters

Most flowering plants in the garden are done flowering when the fall temperatures hit, but mums and asters are both vibrant right now and their colors are perfect for fall arrangements.Fall flowers with pumpkins.

They are inexpensive, readily available, even at your local grocery store, and add fall color to any of your decorating projects.

You can use them as simple fall porch decor on your front steps to add curb appeal. Planting these natural elements near seating areas give you a nice overlook, or go all out and add them in masses in carts.

Whichever way you use them, mums and asters are the floral plants for fall.Collage of mums and asters with text reading "decorating with mums and asters."


One might not think of succulents as something that can be used for fall decorating, but combine them with freshly harvested fall pumpkins and you have a trendy and unique idea that will wow your guests.Succulents and pumpkins make a great fall decor choice

I recently did a tutorial showing how to make these fun arrangements. See my succulent pumpkin planter project here.

Halloween plants

Fall is the time when many plants go dormant here in the USA. However, there are lots of  plants that can be grown in containers to add a spooky look.

There are even some black plants that can be used to decorate for the holiday!

Venus Fly-traps might not be black, but they are one of the scariest looking plants out there. Remember the musical Little Shop of Horrors?Spooky green plants foor Halloween

I’ve written a whole post on scary plants that inspire a Halloween mood.

Some are available all year round and others – like corpse flower – might need a trip to the jungle to procure, but all are worthy of being added to my list of Halloween plants.

Japanese silver grass fronds

When it comes to decorating with natural elements for fall, one of my favorite plants is Japanese Silver Grass. It does a great job of hiding the fence line and has year long interest.Silver grass with fronds

In the summer months the striped zebra like grass hides the fence but, in fall, it really comes into its glory.  The top of the entire plant pushes out 8 foot long fronds that are feathery and just beautiful.Decorating with natural elements: Silver Grass fronds in a galvanized pitcher with pumpkins

When I want an instant look for a tablescape, I just cut a dozen fronds of various lengths and place them in a galvanized pitcher.  Add in a few pumpkins and you have an instant table decoration that will wow your guests.

Pussy willows

These soft and fuzzy buds remind me of a pond near my childhood home in the fall. Use branches of pussy willows in a tall sleek vase or in floral foam in an arrangement.Pussy willows and quail eggs in white bowls.

We sometimes think of pussy willows as an Easter farmhouse decor item, but the rustic colors of them are perfect for fall, as well.

Add them to a vase with simple clear vase for a country farm look.

Pussy willows in a clear vase.

For a fun idea, tuck sprigs of pussy willows behind the edge of a picture frame to get a natural look. Another idea is to place loose branches of pussy willows along a mantle, alternating with tapered candles or a favorite wall print behind them on the wall.

Eucalyptus leaves

The light gray shape and slim leaves of eucalyptus is a great choice to use for fall decorating. The leaves are understated and a very subtle shade of green and look great in Halloween vignettes.

One of the great aspects of eucalyptus leaves is that they dry beautifully, which makes them perfect for floral arrangements with other fall dried flowers.

eucalyptus leaves and nuts.

For other ideas, intertwine the leaves and branches around a grape vine wreath or even an elongated clothes hanger to make a wreath that you can embellish with Halloween or Thanksgiving motifs.

Another stylish idea is to attach eucalyptus leaves to the inside of clear candle holders and place white candles in them. The effect is just stunning!White candles with eucalyptus leaves on holders.

Dusty miller

This light colored annual has the palest of green leaves, making it look almost a white color. Combine it in an arrangement with ghostly elements for a slightly spooky look.

Use the color against a backdrop of red flowers to transition from fall to a traditional Christmas look.

Dusty miller plants in front of red flowers.

Dusty miller leaves make a nice addition to any flower bouquet. This plant takes the cold in stride making it perfect for using it in fall table decor.bouquet of flowers and dusty miller leaves.

Indian corn

Dried Indian corn does not go bad so you can use it for projects from one year to the next. Use it in centerpieces, as accents to wreaths and door hangers, or as the focal point of a Thanksgiving table decoration.

The dramatic colors of Indian corn make it the perfect addition to fall centerpieces for tables. Combine it with carved pumpkins, knucklehead pumpkins and gourds, leaves, and pine cones and you’ll have a rustic look to your table that guests will love. 

Indian corn and other fall greenery items on a table.

Most varieties of Indian corn are grown for ornamental uses and it’s common to see it in the grocery store at Halloween and Thanksgiving.  See lots of projects decorating with Indian corn here.

The ears are very colorful and there is even a variety known as glass gem corn which is vibrantly colored.

Dried beans and popcorn

Fall is the time for soups, stews and crock pot recipes and often these are made with beans.  It stands to reason that dried beans (as well as popcorn) would be a prominent feature of fall decorating projects.

One of the easiest way to use either of these (or both of them!) is to place a pillar candle in a clear vase and add dried beans and popcorn up along the side of it. Hurricane lamp died beans, popcorn and a candle on top.

This makes a great centerpiece focal point and has a very rustic look. See how to make this Hurricane lamp fall project here.

Dried flower pods

Many types of flowers have really interesting heads and pods if they are allowed to dry on the plant and are not deadheaded regularly. Poppy seed and lotus seed pods have very interesting shapes.

Dried lotus and poppy flower pods for decorating with natural elements

The birds love these seeds in the winter and they also make great additions to fall floral arrangements and centerpieces. Since the stems are quite stiff, they work well in floral foam and hold up well in your fall floral design projects.

Cotton stems

The soft white look of naturally dried cotton stems have a ghostly effect that is perfect for Halloween, and the colors take them into fall and Thanksgiving as well.Cotton stems in galvanized bins

Use the stems in dried flower arrangements, or place them in pretty galvanized containers for a natural rustic look that is popular in farmhouse fall decor.

Heirloom pumpkins

What would fall be without a pumpkin decor project or two? Heirloom pumpkins come in many colors which makes them easy to adapt to your decorating theme and they are also readily available.Heirloom pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes are are perfect for fall decorating.

Your local Farmer’s Market will have a good supply of them and I am now finding them at local grocery stores.  Pick up a few different colors and shapes and add them to vignettes or carve them for your front porch.

Whichever way you end up displaying them, they will give a farm country look to your fall decor like nothing else will!

Find out more about heirloom pumpkins here.

Fall greenery decor with heirloom pumpkins.

Pine cones and acorns

We have a huge pine tree in our yard that drops dozens of pine cones every month.  Instead of picking them up as yard waste, start decorating with natural elements like these.

Pretty fall wreath with natural elements such as pine cones is easy to put together

Pine cones are often use as part of Christmas Wreaths, but they also look fabulous as a part of fall decorating. Add some dried fall leaves and a few orange pumpkins and you have a wonderful way to greet guests for autumn.

Dried magnolia blossoms are fabulous fall greenery items

Drying flowers is easy if you use Borax. It preserves the shape of the flowers nicely. Once the flowers have been dried, use them in any type of fall decorations.Magnolia blossoms in a box

They can be added to wreaths, or displayed in clear vases, or wooden boxes and stenciled for fall.

Gourds and small pumpkins

It seems as though the variety of gourds available each year gets bigger and better.  A trip to one of my local garden shops had baskets and baskets of them in all shapes and colors.Baskets of gourds

Their small size makes them perfect to use on wreaths, in baskets with other fall elements or as accent pieces to round out a fall scene. Grab some today!

I used some mini gourds and fall leaves to fill a tall black lantern recently for my front porch fall makeover and it looked great. Their small size made them perfect for stacking inside the lantern!Decorating with natural elements is easy. Use a Black lantern filled with leaves, pumpkins and gourds

Corn husks

Once the last of the fall corn is done, there are all those long corn husks to get rid of. Luckily for us, my local farmers have gotten clever and bundled it up for sale (very inexpensively, too!) Decorating for fall with corn husks

Corn husks have a great texture and color of fall and hold up well in decorating projects. Use them on back yard fences, or wrap posts and pillars on your front porch and mix in a colorful scarecrow figure for a fun look.

Ornamental peppers

It is not just cabbage and kale that come in ornamental versions. Baby peppers do as well, and they are the perfect color choice.Ornamental peppers are great in fall decor projects

Many stores carry them, or you can grow them yourself in pots or in the garden.  Add a pot or two to any decorating project for an instant pop of color.

As you can see, there is no need to spend a lot of money on fall decorating.  Just wander around your garden, get our your crafting gloves and you’ll be decorating with natural elements in no time flat!

Pin these ideas for decorating with natural elements

Would you like a reminder of this post of natural decorating ideas using fall greenery? Just pin this image to one of your Pinterest fall boards so that you can easily find it later.

Lantern and leaves with text reading "Decorating with fall greenery."

Admin note: This post about using fall greenery first appeared on the blog in October of 2018. I have updated the post to add new photos, more decorating ideas and a video for you to enjoy.

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