A good Thanksgiving is a flurry of fall colors, fabulous food, and gatherings with family and friends. It's festive time that offers a cornucopia of natural options when it comes to decorating for your holiday season. Whether you’re hosting a celebration or simply want to bring the vibe of autumn inside, using materials from your garden is a resourceful and inexpensive way to do it.

Adorn the Mantle

Fireplace mantle with green vines and white candles

If you have one, the mantle is probably the focal point of your room. Just like a moth is drawn to the flame of your fireplace, the mantle draws the eyes of guests and is perfect canvas for Turkey Day decoration. Accentuate that natural draw with a bit of organic flair. Create a swag from pine branches or connect dried leaves into a chain that drops down over the sides of your mantle. The bright fall colors are the perfect backdrop for other garden harvests like gourds or small pumpkins. You can add some red tones with berries on a vine or change the look by painting your pumpkins white.

Dress up the Door

Wreaths offer a welcoming presence on or near the front door. Plus, they are fairly simple to make and many of the materials you may want are already in your yard. Use your woody grape vines and shape them into a circle. Then use florist wrap or small pieces of wire to attach colorful leaves, berries, cones, nuts, acorns, and other fall finds. Attach a fabric bow for a little extra something. Of course wreaths can come indoors too so create a simple eucalyptus wreath if you like the smell. Wheat, braided corn stalks, and green branches are other great materials that can be rounded and used as the foundation for your wreath.

If you're feeling particularly inspired, you can grow a living wreath.

Accentuate the Centerpiece

Fall centerpiece on table with empty wine glasses

Many of the materials used in making wreaths are also ideal for creating centerpieces. Use some of the wreath foundations you created to encircle a candle or a vase on a side table or mantle. Beautiful glassware always makes a statement so dig out a favorite water picture or vase and fill it with dried leaves, pine cones, and colorful hard berries. Lemons, limes, and other citrus are also visually appealing centerpieces. Use clear glass or white bowls that allow the colors of the fruit to stand out. Evergreen branches are another easy and free centerpiece option. Simply display them as a swag or use them to surround a vertical centerpiece on your table top.

Depending on how sizable your guest list is, or how long you plan on hosting people before serving the all important Thanksgiving feast, edible centerpieces are also a way to keep things festive and keep your visitors happy with something to nosh on.

Decorate the Table

If the meal is the main attraction during your holiday, the table is the foundation for the main event. Just because you’d like to ramp up the appeal rating on your decor doesn’t mean you need to dial up the balance on your credit card. Instead, turn to natural elements and supplies you already have. Have the kids make placemats from dried leaves pressed between sheets of clear shelving liner. Cut a toilet paper or paper towel roll down and decorate it to create a napkin holder. Make place markers by labeling small pumpkins. You can incorporate the smells of mint, rosemary, or lavender into you table decor by attaching a bunch to each cloth napkin or placing into a jar. Another eye-catching table decor can be made from leaf groupings, wheat stalks, vines, and small produce stuffed inside a cornucopia-shaped basket.

Alternative Containers

Hollow pumpkin vases

When planning your centerpieces and mantle decorations, try to come up with natural containers that you can incorporate into the design. For example, carve out a pumpkin and stuff it with berry vines with a glowing candle in the middle. If you come across a flat piece of bark use it to display rocks or nuts. Locate a hollow log you can fill with moss and other greenery. You can even use existing plants in pots to add a colorful or subdued statement.


We’ve made some specific suggestions above, but part of the fun in using your garden as decor is to bring your personal flair to the event. It’s likely that those things you love in your garden can now serve a secondary purpose on your table.


Take a walk around your yard, property, or neighborhood and keep your eye out for supplies. Collect acorns at the park to use in a wreath or gather some colorful rocks to place in the bottom of a vase. Pinecones are another versatile material you can use to fill baskets, add to a wreath design, or paint and display. You can also add a delightful cinnamon scent. Speaking of scent, invite your guests into your space with the scent of natural potpourri on the stove. Add cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, citrus, and your other favorite scents to a small pot of water and simmer, making sure to check the water level occasionally.

Decorating Tip

If you're lucky enough to live in an area overflowing with nature and diverse plants, gather away. But remember that sometimes, less is more. For an event like Thanksgiving, you still want your organic pieces to feel like rustic decor and not simply a hodgepodge of debris. It can be helpful to pick a specific color scheme, or other theme to give your overall interior design a focus. There are various ways to incorporate a fresh fruit into a holiday centerpiece or even weeds for an inexpensive yet impressive decoration.

So this fall, as the temperatures wind down and the plants and produce in your yard prepare to sleep for the winter, use it to your advantage. Give those herbs and vines a second life by allowing them to become the center of your Thanksgiving decor.