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Come October, most of us plunk a pumpkin on either side of the front door and call it good. But with a bit of planning and some creative ingenuity, your entryway and garden can scare up some autumnal style that is worthy of a second (and even a third) look. Here are five simple, gorgeous ideas for decorating with pumpkins.

Create a pumpkin pile

Gather up a variety of pumpkins and other gourds—big and small, dark and light, smooth and warty—and pile them up on your porch, in your garden bed, or by your entryway. Be sure to make the pile quite large, like the one shown above; otherwise, you’ll create an impression that you weren’t quite sure what to do with the “extra” pumpkins.

Pop a pumpkin in your planter

Whether you have hanging planters or large pots on your patio or deck, add a pumpkin in a color that contrasts with the surrounding plants. Smaller, sugar-type pumpkins are a good choice for hanging planters, while larger pumpkins work better for bigger containers.

Line the garden with pumpkins

For maximum impact, choose one type of pumpkin in a uniform size and simply line them up on the edge of your garden bed or pathway. Try contrasting or blending pumpkin colors in relation to the hues in your bed — ghostly white pumpkins stand out among greens and harvest tones, while orange pumpkins will provide a more traditional look.

Nestle pumpkins into your garden beds

Possibly one of the simplest and most unexpected ways to use pumpkins as décor is to nestle them separately among the flowers and foliage in your garden. They make it appear almost as if a pumpkin patch has grown up overnight, and visitors are delighted when they spot them. Plants like sweet potato, mums, and pansies coordinate nicely and set off the pumpkins, as do frilly ferns and ornamental kale and cabbage.

Make a pumpkin topiary

Choose three pumpkins in graduated sizes and different shades, then stack them on top of an empty planter. To dress it up, use a grapevine wreath that is slightly larger than the biggest pumpkin as the base, and tuck some textural moss in between each tier.


Jenny Peterson is a landscape and garden designer living in Austin, Texas. At her website,, you’ll find lots more design tips and DIY projects. Jenny is also an urban farmer and vegetable gardener, and is co-author of Indoor Plant Décor: The Design Stylebook for Houseplants.

Decorating with Pumpkins: pumpkin in a planting pot
Large orange pumpkin atop a planting pot.
Decorating with Pumpkins: pumpkins as edging
Pumpkins used as edging around the garden.
Decorating with Pumpkins: pumpkin nestled among plants
Decorative pumpkin nestled among garden plants.

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