Fabulous Fall Landscape Design Ideas

Design pros share how to beautify your fall outdoor space using texture, color and accessories.

Photo By: Sifford Garden Design

Photo By: Sifford Garden Design

Photo By: Sifford Garden Design

Photo By: Sifford Garden Design

Photo By: Sifford Garden Design

Photo By: Sifford Garden Design

Photo By: Sifford Garden Design

Photo By: National Association of Landscape Professionals

Photo By: Johnsen Landscapes & Pools

Photo By: Johnsen Landscapes & Pools

Photo By: Cameron Watkins

Photo By: Cameron Watkins

Photo By: Johnson Landscape & Pools

Photo By: Johnsen Landscapes & Pools

Coordinate Furniture With Foliage

The fall coloration of this Japanese maple mimics the hue of the garden bench and pulls it forward in the garden, so that the landscape is experienced in layers. The bench shines against the subdued background provided by the concrete board paneled screen, says garden designer Jay Sifford

Consider Color, Shape and Texture

This garden nook created by Sifford Garden Design is a study in contrasts. The ‘Blue Cascade’ atlas cedar in the foreground catches the eye before directing it to the billowy Thunderhead pine, a Burke’s red pine, a trio of 'Mr. Bowling Ball' arborvitae, and a stand of very narrow and sculptural  ‘Van den Akker’ Alaskan cedars.

Enhance With Surprises

Architectural accents keep a fall garden from becoming predictable, says Jay Sifford, owner of Sifford Garden Design in Charlotte, N.C. Consider old doors, such as antique Chinese doors, for garden gates, and paint the frame a color that will show off specimen plants, such as a ‘Tamukeyama’ Japanese maple, to their best advantage.

Embrace Intense Hues

The 'Dancing Peacock' maple struts its stuff in mid-autumn. Its intense reddish-orange coloration of Acer japonicum ‘Acontifolium' (it also goes by full moon maple) shows up best against complementary colors such as cobalt blue, says Jay Sifford, owner of Sifford Garden Design in Charlotte, N.C. Using ceramic pottery in seasonal displays will allow your garden to shine one last time before going to sleep for the winter.

Add Movement and Texture

‘Northwind’ panicum, a former “Perennial of the Year,” is the most vertical of the switch grasses. Its stature makes it a perfect foil for naturally-shaped boulders and horizontal hardscape, says garden designer Jay Sifford. Seed heads appear in early fall and are spectacular when backlit by sunlight.

Create Interest with Grasses

To maximize the impact of grasses, plant en masse rather than singly, advises garden designer Jay Sifford. Here, Hakonecloa macra ‘Aureola’ makes a statement as it forms a living stream, flowing between two boulders in a shade garden.

Let Other Maples Shine

Green-leafed Japanese maples are frequently overshadowed in the marketplace by their more colorful cousins, says garden designer Jay Sifford. The ‘Viridis’ Japanese maple, can, however, outshine the rest in autumn, morphing into brilliant hues of orange and yellow. 

Enjoy Fireside Entertaining and Gardening

Make sure your outdoor space is beautiful for enertaining year-round. Fall is the time to plant flowering bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips, as well as perennials, trees and shrubs, according to the National Association of Landscape Professionals. The warm soil is great for root development, and plants have several months to establish themselves before the stress of the summer heat.

Soft Fall Scenery

Ferns are lovely in the fall, says Jan Johnsen, owner of New York-based Johnsen Landscapes & Pools and author of Heaven is a Garden. When ferns turn to burnished gold or light yellow, it looks like a filigree of leaves.

Mixed Bunch

Fallen leaves mixed with hosta, coleus, Rozanne geraniums, heucheras, ferns and long-lasting annual flowers make a glorious tapestry in your fall garden, says Jan Johnsen, a New York-based landscape designer.

Fall in Love With Planters

Incorporate cut evergreens, sticks, logs and gourds in containers among plantings of cabbage, kale, pansies and other traditional fall plants to add texture and height to an outdoor container arrangement.

Showcase Perennials

Fall is the time to plant perennials in your containers that will last year-round. Garden designer Cameron Watkins of C. Watkins Garden Co. suggests that combinations of holly fern, 'Ascot Rainbow' euphorbia and 'Bella Notte' heuchera are perfect for a shade container.

High-Impact Hues

Mums are the standard bearer in fall gardens, says landscape designer Jan Johnsen, author of Heaven is a Garden. Plant them in beds, pots, or mixed with pumpkins, asters, Amaranthus and grasses.

Get a Glow

The sweet gum tree's star-shaped leaves turn a mix of colors in the fall, making it a favorite for New York landscape designer Jan Johnsen. Sometimes the same tree can have red, purple, yellow and orange leaves, at the same time.