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Halloween Landscaping Ideas: Creepy Without The Cringe

By October 17, 2023October 19th, 2023Landscape Design

It’s the spookiest time of the year! Halloween is right around the corner, and whether you’re expecting hoards of trick-or-treaters or you’re looking forward to a bit of ghoulish fun with friends and family, there’s no reason your landscape can’t join the party!

There are lots of ways to get into the spirit of the season. You can go all out with Halloween decorations and yard décor. Or stick to a few fall mums. Today we’re sharing ideas for celebrating Halloween in style – less kitsch, more class – with landscape additions that you can appreciate and enjoy all throughout autumn.

Use What Mother Nature Gives You

For seasonal color and decorating style you can’t beat the staples of fall – gorgeous gourds, plump pumpkins, spooky scarecrows overstuffed with sweet-smelling hay. Bring these elements into your landscape and you’ll have all the curb appeal you need to welcome guests and goblins to your front door.

Instead of raking and bagging leaves, collect them into rustic wooden crates or an old wheelbarrow. Don’t be afraid to embraces the rusty-ramshackle look! This isn’t the season for shiny and new. Think of how much spookier – and more charming – a weatherbeaten rocking chair looks than a freshly stained one. Add a carved jack-o-lantern or a haggard old witch, and you’ve got the perfect mood for a Halloween evening.

Pick A Theme

We’ve all seen those yards that look like an explosion of inflatables and every Halloween decoration ever invented. Maybe you’ve been there! But remember, we’re going for classy today, so it’s time to pick your poison!

Whether you’re going for creepy-scary, fairytale bright, or playfully whimsical, choose a direction and stick to it. A spooky landscape can include things like cobwebs and fog machines. Drape bare tree branches with the spidery stuff, hang it in doorways, lay it over wildflower gardens or shroud shrubs.

For a lighter and brighter look, try colorful fairy lights hanging from trees – orange and purple are excellent colors for the season – or line your walkway with mini pumpkins. Tease the eeriness with a black witch’s hat peeking from behind a tree trunk or a porch chair.

Just like in a scary movie, a little bit of restraint goes a long way. Sometimes it’s not what you see but what you don’t that has the most impact.

Choose Spooky Plants

Chrysanthemums and marigolds are great seasonal choices for your gardens and planters, but if you want to take the creepy-factor up a notch, try adding a few of Mother Nature’s spookiest plants to your landscape.

Black Mondo Grass is a great option for a Halloween landscape. Its tall, arcing black leaves capture the spirit of the season and can look both charming and chilling when added to planters on your porch or in gardens hung with cobwebs. As an added bonus, you can enjoy the contrast of its pretty pink flowers next summer.

Choose plantings that offer four seasons of beauty and interest but have a special Halloween charm. Witch Hazel is one fantastic option. Its ribbony flowers bloom in bright yellows and oranges as early as February and its unique autumn branches are about as gnarled and spooky as you can hope for.

Other fall flowers make great additions to a ghostly landscape. Autumn favorites like pansies, petunias and begonias can be found in black varieties, in addition to deep blood-reds, bold oranges, and spooktacular purples. Chocolate cosmos are another excellent choice if you want color that is both gorgeous and gruesome depending on how you frame it!

Create A Focal Point

The failure of those inflatable explosions is that your eye simply doesn’t know where to go. There’s too much to look at, with everything vying for your attention. You can remedy that problem with a simple design principle of good landscaping – a focal point.

No need to give up that giant purple dragon or ominous graveyard of witches. Just use it to its fullest potential. Instead of forcing it to compete with everything else, use understated décor throughout the rest of your yard. A few strategically placed gourds or pumpkins, some supporting spiderwebs, or a garden full of black, purple and orange blooms can really set the stage for the main attraction.

Anything can be a focal point – a tall scarecrow, a stack of hay bales and Indian corn, a crate or wheelbarrow full of colorful gourds and leaves. Groups of things make for good focal points, so cluster pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns together, or group planters on a porch with your Halloween blooms.

Top it all off with some good lighting to spotlight or highlight your focal point for a fantastic seasonal landscape that won’t make you or the neighbors cringe.

lighting fall houseKeep It Safe

Landscape lighting is a great addition to your landscape any time of the year but it is especially effective through fall and during Halloween. As daylight hours get shorter, lighting will keep your home bright and welcoming. Adding pathway lighting, porch lights, moonlighting in trees, or bathing your house in spotlights will make it safer for trick-or-treaters to navigate your space and keep their eyes on their surroundings.

Lighting can also set the mood, so if you’re going for spooky try adding spotlights to create dramatic shadows. Add a spotlight in front of a unique plant, shrub or tree to let its shadow shapes play across the exterior of your home. And of course if you’re in the mood, go for those orange and purple string lights! It’s always a good idea to have some fun with your landscape.

Treat Yourself To A Few Simple Tricks

Sometimes small additions can make a big impact. As you plan your Halloween landscape, from selecting the focal point to including mood lighting and planting all the colors of the season, try adding one of these simple and subtle treats.

Instead of carving pumpkins, why not scoop one out and use it as a planter? Better yet, scoop a few out and cluster them together beside your front door or dotted along your walkway. Those black begonias will look pretty stunning in a bright orange pumpkin. For bonus points, pick pumpkins in a variety of colors – orange, white, and variegated – for visual interest.

Get creative a plant something more unusual, like White Baneberry. Also known as Doll’s Eye for its cute-and-creepy eyeball-like berries, it can offer a nice contrast to darker colors. And let’s face it – those berries really can look pretty spooky!

Finally, choose the most spine-chilling plant of all, if you dare – the Venus Fly Trap. If ever a plant was suited to a Halloween landscape, this is it. No trick-or-treater can escape the fright of seeing these unique beauties lining a walkway or greeting them at the door!

The trick to a great Halloween landscape is to follow the same principles of great everyday landscaping. Choose the right colors and plantings for the season, go with the best of what Mother Nature has to offer, and tie it all together with the décor and style that suits your personality.

If you’re inspired by any of these ideas and want to talk about bringing the best of this – and every – season to your outdoor space, contact us for a consultation. Our landscape designers will work with you to ensure that you will love and appreciate the view no matter the time of year.