Bringing the Outside In

Use your garden to decorate your house – and transform your garden into a real Santa’s grotto!

Living Magazines Bring the Outside InWhen the weather’s cold and the sky is grey we don’t tend to look at our gardens much; they’ve more or less gone into hibernation until the Spring.

But look a little closer and you’ll find some real treasures that can help you decorate your house and give it a really authentic Christmas feel.

And if you’re one of those people who gets a little shiver of pleasure at seeing Christmas lights outside people’s homes at this time of year – and let’s face it, who doesn’t? – then we’ll show you the latest lights out there to turn your garden into a real winter wonderland.

Light It Up

It used to be that the only glimmer of light you’d see as you passed people’s homes at Christmas was the twinkle of fairy lights from the Christmas tree peeking through the curtains.

But these days, exterior decoration is big news – and there’s such a dazzling choice out there it’s hard to know where to start!

Most exterior fairy lights these days are LED, which makes them very bright and means you can get a real ‘Santa’s grotto’ look if you drape them over hedges, wrap them around fences, gates and tree trunks and pin them around porches or front doors.

For a really eye-catching look, treat yourself to a projector light. You can choose from a wide range of patterns including snowflakes, snowmen, Santa and holly leaves, which project on to the front of your house.

Animal Magic

Light-up animals and characters are everywhere these days. John Lewis do an light-up LED Alistair the Snowman from £100, while Woods garden centre in Berkhamsted and Wyevale in Tring both have an excellent selection of lights to choose from.

Keep it simpler with a willow reindeer. They look great and can be left as they are, or wrap a string of fairy lights around them to make them really stand out. These are for sale in many places including the market in Berkhamsted at the weekend.

Bring the Outside In

Use your garden as inspiration to decorate your home.


Living Magazines Holly

With its glossy, spiky leaves and bright red berries, this is a real Christmas plant. Snip a few branches that have berries on and add them to wreaths or garlands, or place sprigs around candles. It also looks great strung along mantelpieces, or tie a few pieces together with ribbon and hang on doors.


Pull out some long tendrils and drape them along a mantelpiece, adding baubles and ribbons to the display.


Living Magazines FirCut branches from fir trees in the garden such as yew, pine and conifer. Use them in wreaths, or tie bunches together with ribbon and hang them from walls or doors. You can even use smaller pieces to make a mini Christmas tree decoration by sticking them into mini vases.

Pine Cones

Simply place loads of pine cones into a glass bowl or vase with some baubles and, if you like, a string of fairy lights.

Spray them silver, gold or white if you fancy, and add to wreaths as well.


Living Magazines TwigsThis is one of the simplest ways to create decorations, and the chances are most of us will have some twigs in the garden. Snip some twigs and small branches from a tree. Either place them in a vase or pot and simply hang baubles and pine cones from them, or spray them white or silver for a more glam effect.


The shops are full of wreaths to hang from your front door – so how do you choose one?

Living Magazines Christmas Wreath

Decide what you like the look of, and then make sure it goes with the colour of your door. There are traditional foliage wreaths made from holly, ivy and berries and there are also ones made from mistletoe, light-up ones, frosted ones, pink ones – the world is your oyster.

Make Your Own Wreath

If you fancy getting practical and making your own Christmas wreath – think how proud you’ll feel every time you see it hanging on your front door – then go for it. It’s more fun if you get together with friends and make an evening of it – and it can also include mulled wine, of course!

This is how you do it.

  • Living Magazines WreathCollect foliage from your garden and nearby. Go for ferns, holly, ivy and anything that looks glossy and green. Try and keep the pieces fairly long.
  • Buy an oasis – foam ones are lighter and you can soak them in water to keep the wreath as fresh as possible.
  • Decide on the look/colour scheme you want and buy ribbons, and any decorations you like the look of including berries, cinnamon sticks, mini baubles, pine cones and dried fruit. You can buy much of this already on wires, but also make sure you buy some small pieces of florist wire to attach anything else.

Soak the oasis in water and tie a ribbon securely round one end. Starting with the green foliage, work your way around the oasis, attaching the pieces as you go by inserting the ends straight into the oasis. Space them evenly and go for a mixture of colours and looks – so ferns, glossy leaves, holly all mix well together.

Living Magazines WreathOnce you’ve filled it, start adding berries and other decorations. You can go wild or choose to keep it simple. You can mix different coloured berries – orange, red, purple – or stick to one colour scheme, whatever you fancy. That’s the beauty of making your own – you can make it look how you want!

If you want a snowy look spray it in white snow paint, otherwise leave it as it is, hang it on your door and enjoy!