Outdoor Living: 5 tips for holiday decor

Curb appeal takes on a new meaning during the holidays. Wreaths, lights and other holiday decor add a festive look to the front of your home, whether it’s a new purchase, a longtime residence or on the market.

“There’s a little bit of an unexpected pleasure when you see a house that’s lit up,” said Danielle Rollins, author of “Soiree: Entertaining With Style.” “It is effort, but it think it’s rewarded.”

Local experts shared tips for decorating outdoors during the holidays. And remember, the backyards, decks and patios shouldn’t be ignored either, especially if you are doing holiday entertaining.

1. Light up the entryway.

Place lanterns or hurricane globes with flameless LED and battery-operated candles around walkways and steps to the front door. “That’s so inviting and so Southern,” said Su Hodges, owner of Su Hodges Interiors in Marietta. “It just draws you to the home.”

Add a spotlight to bring attention to a wreath on the door, said Tony Whitlock, owner of Acorn Home & Garden in Marietta. Rollins added that spotlights shine on giant nutcrackers she displays at the front of her Buckhead home.

During the recession, Pinnacle Lighting Group noticed fewer people using outdoor lights, but if you want to continue or get back into that tradition, both white and color lights are being used. If the spouses can’t agree on white and color lights, they can compromise by having color lights on the bushes and white lights on the house, said Nick Burks, operations manager and owner of the Atlanta lighting firm.

2. Bring in burlap.

Creating bows and wreaths out of burlap brings in a natural, textured element. Whitlock sees people using burlap and plaid ribbon together, ornaments and other decor in galvanized tubs and buckets, to create what he describes as an “upscale country” look. Burlap also comes in a variety of colors, Hodges said.

3. Use live greenery.

Place potted trees on a front porch in galvanized tubs or pots covered in burlap, and then plant them after the holidays, Whitlock said. Rollins likes to mix white lights with natural greenery, and she recommends places such as the State Farmers Market in Forest Park for natural holiday items.

4. Create a vignette.

Here’s a design idea worthy of a storefront. Take an old wheelbarrow or cart and fill it with poinsettias or other holiday decorations to create a scene on your front porch, walkway or yard. “It just shows a little more creativity,” Whitlock said. He’s noticed more do-it-yourself efforts for the holidays, with folks inspired by ideas on sites such as Pinterest and design sites such as Houzz.com.

For a covered space, such as an outdoor living area, Rollins recommends this homemade idea: Take gingerbread cookies (cut in holiday shapes), tie ribbons made of gingham or a holiday pattern through a hole at the top, and hang the gingerbread cookies from a tree.

5. Customize your wreath.

Create a theme that reflects your favorite seasonal items, such as pine cones, birds, fruit, nuts and berries, ornaments, bells, bows, angels, Santas, snowmen, stars or candy, depending on your preference. Or tie into a Georgia theme, peanuts, pecans and cotton on the wreath, Rollins said.

Whitlock said one trend is designing an asymmetrical wreath, which has the bow and decorations on one side. Here’s a wreath-making tip from Michaels.com: For an asymmetrical wreath, place elements at only three of the four of these spots on the face of the wreath — 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock — and leave one area mostly bare.

Outdoor ornaments that don’t break easily also can be used. You can wire ornaments to your wreath or use hot glue to add seasonal items, Rollins said.