Skip to main content

3 Simple Ideas For A Colourful Autumnal Garden Display

Published on September 25th 2021

Harvest exhibition with pumpkins and flowers in the botanical garden

by Galina Tcarkova. All rights reserved

A close up of many different vegetables on display
As summer blooms slowly disappear, we find our gardens can start to look a bit drab.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! There are many ways we can brighten up the garden and keep the colour going through autumn.
In this article, award-winning garden designer and founder of Border-in-a-Box, Nikki Hollier, gives 3 quick and easy ideas for a lovely autumn garden border.

At this time of the year, it is only natural for our outside spaces to lose some colour. Although with some thoughtful planning, you can create a beautiful outdoor space - even if it’s just a new container plant outside your front door. Here are three simple ideas for an outdoor garden display in autumn.

1. The evergreen border

Box balls in a row with two Bay trees and a dogwood plant
Evergreen plants are a staple in my border designs because they bring year-long texture to the display.
There are lots of evergreen shrubs with eye-catching colours and attractive shaped foliage. Here, I use Bay trees for height combined with Cornus for its vibrant red colour. Cornus is also an excellent plant for making Christmas door wreaths!
I use Box and Silver Leaf ball topiaries which give the display structure. These will require a prune each year.
For an extra burst of colour, you can include flowering bulbs like Tulips. Their height and colour make them perfect for the centre position of the border.
If you’d like to make your display bee-friendly, make sure to choose singular varieties rather than double-headed flowers.
A close up of the pink, edged with white double flowers of Camellia 'Volunteer'

Evergreen Plants

2. The container garden

Plants in a container
In this design, I use a faux-lead container containing four different plants: Festuca (ornamental grass), Nandina, Euphorbia and Erica. Alternatively, plant each in a different sized pot. A container display always looks fabulous when you group the pots in odd numbers!
Top-tips for container gardening in autumn:
  1. To make an impact, fill your containers to the brim with plants. Plants grow much slower in the colder months, so you should make the most of the space. Make sure plants are large and established.
  2. Ivy is a great plant to include in a container display. It looks elegant when its vines pour elegantly over the sides of the pots.
  3. For long-lasting colour, choose Winter Pansies. Remember to dead-head flowers for extended flowering. By planting your spring bulbs beneath the pansies, you can keep the colour going for even longer.
  4. Raise pots off the ground in winter and autumn to improve drainage. Be wary of under and over watering plants because this can lead to frost damage.
  5. Choose frost-proof containers. In severe weather, you can protect your plants and pots by placing them somewhere sheltered and by covering frost-tender plants in bubble wrap.

3. The Halloween-inspired display

A halloween garden display on a porch
Here, I’ve used simple terracotta flower pots filled with plants laden with orange berries and flowers. I’ve placed a wooden crate at the back of the display, arranged the plants around and Halloween items such as the black cat and pumpkins around it.
Whatever time of the year it is, plant nurseries will be selling the most attractive plants for the time of the season. Perfect for giving a dull-looking border an instant uplift.
The plants will look great with or without the Halloween items, brightening up your front doorway to welcome you home. Once your plants outgrow their pots, you can plant them in your garden borders.

For more inspiration, explore an amazing selection of garden border kits to help you with garden design below: