Outdoor Christmas decor ideas: 12 fabulously festive looks for your backyard

Our edit of outdoor Christmas decor ideas will help transform your garden into a winter wonderland this holiday season

outdoor christmas decor ideas – wayfair tablescaping
(Image credit: Wayfair)

Are you on the lookout for show-stopping outdoor Christmas decor ideas? Then you've come to the right place. We've brought together plenty of gorgeous looks to give your space a holiday-season makeover that is bound to get everyone in the festive mood.

Although the weather may be a little chillier, there's no reason to overlook your garden when it comes to decorating your home for the holidays. After all, not only will a twinkling outdoor tree, a beautiful wreath, or a cluster of outdoor Christmas lights ideas provide a warm welcome to visitors, it will instantly boost your home's curb appeal and can be admired through a window too. What's more, giving your outdoor living area a festive makeover will entice you to make the most of the space despite the cooler temperatures. We think most people would agree that cozying up around a fire pit – a hot chocolate or mulled wine in hand – is a wonderful way to while away an afternoon with loved ones.

The best part is, there are so many options when it comes to outdoor Christmas decor ideas. So, whether you're after a simple-yet-chic style that's budget-friendly or looking to create an extravagant winter wonderland, you can guarantee there's a style to suit.

12 outdoor Christmas decor ideas that will give your plot plenty of festive sparkle

There are lots of looks to get you inspired in our round-up of outdoor Christmas decor ideas, no matter the size of your plot or your budget.

1. Layer up the lights

cox & cox christmas outdoor decor with campervan

We love this enchanting scene from Cox & Cox

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

Illuminate your garden with some of the best outdoor Christmas lights. That way, the space will be transformed into a magical winter retreat once night falls. It's one of the quickest ways to create a welcoming glow in time for Christmas. Just remember that at this time of year, mains or battery-operated lights will give a brighter and more intense glow than solar lights (unless you live in a warmer region, of course).

The trick is to layer up the lights on lots of different levels. For instance, wind fairy lights around tree trunks and overhead, and then place uplighters around borders at ground level or use them to highlight feature trees or shrubs. You can also hang twinkling lights from pergolas or glow up a greenhouse or even a camper van, as seen here, for a cozy nook.

Add a fire pit nearby and some comfy seats for taking in the view, and you'll be transported to your own personal winter wonderland in no time.

2. Turn your shed into a festive grotto

christmas wreath on shed door

A festive wreath will instantly elevate your shed's door

(Image credit: Lizzie Orme/Future)

Speaking of creating a cozy Christmas nook, how about giving your shed a makeover this season? If you've been inspired by our she shed ideas, you may already have the perfect backdrop for a festive hideaway. Simply add some twinkling lights and soft throws. 

However, even if your shed is more functional than fun (in other words, it's full of tools), you can still give the exterior a touch of festive appeal. Take this beautiful wreath, for instance, which pairs well with the vintage-inspired ornament and pine cones that decorate the windowsill. 

There are lots more Christmas wreath ideas in our guide.

3. Extend your indoor decor outdoors

christmas decor indoor and out including paper baubles and fire pit

This elegant scene is definitely party-ready

(Image credit: Jonathan West/Future)

For a harmonious and on-trend look, mirror the style and color palette of your indoor decorations outdoors. This will result in a pulled-together scheme that works especially well if you have large sliding doors that open onto your backyard. Bonus points if you have matching tiles underfoot for a real sense of flow.

We adore these giant baubles that are perfect for making a festive party feel extra special. Plenty of lanterns dotted throughout the space, a duo of illuminated trees framing the outdoor steps, and a large fire pit all add to the magical yet oh-so-sophisticated scene. It's the ideal backdrop for entertaining this season.

Looking for more Christmas light ideas for outdoor trees? Our guide has more styles to inspire.

4. Curate an enchanting tablescape

christmas tablescaping from wayfair

Make your alfresco dining scene a conversation point with beautiful decor – just like this set-up from Wayfair

(Image credit: Wayfair)

'Weather permitting, embrace outdoor dining this winter, creating a glamorous picture-perfect setting,' suggests Wayfair's Resident Style Advisor, Nadia McCowan Hill. 

'Hang spray-painted branches above your table and adorn with decorations of your choice for that extra-special statement look,' she continues. We love the paper star, the pink roses, and the combination of gold and ribbons in this display – it's a beautiful twist on a more traditional Christmas look.

'Candles, fairy lights, and cozy faux fur throws will transport your garden dining experience into a truly magical winter wonderland,' Nadia adds. Add one of the best patio heaters nearby to keep everyone feeling warm and comfortable.

5. Cozy up your patio

the white company christmas garden decor

An inviting space from The White Company

(Image credit: The White Company)

covered deck or patio is a brilliant feature if you're inviting guests to enjoy a party at Christmas. Canvas sail shades or awnings are great for a temporary fix. They can be attached to walls, trees, fences, and posts using easy-to-install ring and loop fixings. Choose a tight-weave fabric that's waterproof.

You can then style your covered space as an outdoor 'room'. Keep the color scheme neutral and add plenty of natural textures – think rattan, potted evergreens, and pine cones – for a Scandi-chic feel. You'll need some twinkling lights, too, to enhance the inviting ambiance as the evenings draw in.

Don't forget to keep it comfy with seat pads, cushions and throws draped over metal chairs and wooden benches, and of course to place over your knees to keep snuggly, as says Chrissie Rucker, Founder of The White Company.

6. Keep it timeless and traditional with potted trees

christmas outdoor tree with lights from Cox & Cox

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

Pot-grown trees provide the perfect greenery outdoors we well as indoors at this time of year. 

Buy one especially for your garden to add an instantly festive vibe, then add sparkly outdoor-suitable lights and even some hanging ornaments. It's a great idea whether you're planning on using your outdoor space right through the season or simply wish to admire it through the windows from indoors. Pop your tree into a galvanized planter for a rustic-chic style. Our guide has lots of tips on how to grow your own Christmas tree for the best results.

If you're looking for a quick and low-maintenance fix, invest in a faux, pre-lit, pre-potted tree just like this one shown above that can be used indoors and outdoors year after year.

7. Or, give your decor a modern twist

small bistro set with christmas decorations

Colorful baubles add a fun and fresh feature to this space

(Image credit: Claire Richardson/Future)

Freshen up your outdoor Christmas yard decor this year by opting for minimal shapes and jewel-like tones. 

Go for sculptural, light-up branches positioned in metal planters with a base of colorful baubles. Then, add some woven star decorations along walls, or hang them from nearby trees. A look like this is perfect for pepping up even a tiny courtyard or deck, is budget-friendly, and won't take long to set up either.

Looking for more courtyard garden ideas for giving your space an update whatever the season? There are lots of lovely styles in our dedicated feature.

8. Stick to a color scheme

christmas porch decor

Go all out for a head-turning display

(Image credit: SyhinStas/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Picking a garden color scheme and sticking to it is a simple but effective trick that can be applied to any sort of outdoor (or indeed, indoor) decorations. It also helps to narrow down your choices, making the planning stage easier.

When it comes to colors for your outdoor Christmas decor ideas, there are a good few options to choose from. Jolly red and emerald green are reminiscent of evergreen trees and winter berries, so are a classic combo. Take a look at this extravagant scene, for example, which also brings plaid into the mix. 

Blues and whites offer a modern freshness, while jewel-like tones of purples and pinks will provide a sense of opulence. Or, perhaps a neutral scheme is more your vibe for a sense of understated sophistication. And you can't go far wrong with bringing in a touch of metallic to up the celebratory feel – whether that's luxurious gold, shimmering silver, or rustic copper.

9. Turn your log store into a charming scene

john lewis christmas decor in log store

A characterful set-up from John Lewis

(Image credit: John Lewis)

You can add festive character into an otherwise overlooked corner easily with decor like this. Snowmen, Santas, elves, toadstools, and animal ornaments can all be used to turn even the most lackluster of spaces into enchanting scenes. 

Add a splash of greenery or some lighting for extra pizzazz – embrace the opportunity to really get creative.

Your log store ideas provide the perfect backdrop, for instance, as seen here.

10. Turn up the ambiance with string lights overhead

christmas lighting by sparkle lighting around outdoor dining scene

A magical scene featuring lights from Sparkle Lighting

(Image credit: Sparkle Lighting)

Another approach for Christmas outdoor dining ideas is to keep it simple with classic white candles. Then, trail fairy lights down the center of the table, weaving around the candles. Starburst festoon lights overhead add a really magical touch, while sheepskin seat covers will keep everyone warm. 

Add evergreen herbs like rosemary and thyme in pots for pretty table decorations with a lovely scent, while snowy white heather adds an understated touch of wintry chic. You could also use cuttings of pine or other evergreen branches for a natural look, especially when dotted with slices of dried clementines and cinnamon sticks for a festive aroma.

11. Plant up pretty window boxes

christmas window box

Turn your windowsills into festive displays

(Image credit: Olga Yefimova/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Windowsills provide a brilliant base for Christmas decor, especially if you want to bring some of the best winter plants for pots into your festive scheme.

Plant up narrow containers with evergreens and wintry blooms such as hellebores, heather, and cyclamen for a beautiful living display. Alternatively, you could simply arrange cuttings of evergreen branches alongside pine cones, berries, and faux snow together for an eye-catching feature.

Either way, weaving outdoor microlights into the scene will only elevate it further.

12. Add festive stickers for a simple yet effective style

angel window stickers as christmas decor

Give your windows extra festive appeal

(Image credit: Polly Eltes/Future)

Speaking of pepping up your windows, window stickers are budget-friendly, easy to install, and very effective. Look for festive designs and arrange them across panes, as seen here, for a smart and seasonal look that can be enjoyed from both indoors and out. Sticking to minimal shapes will set a modern tone.

Artificial snow spray is another option for taking windows from drab to fab easily. Just make sure you read the label first to check your product is suitable and simple to remove.

How can you decorate your garden for Christmas? More top tips

By now, you hopefully have plenty of outdoor Christmas decor ideas to try this season. But another lovely option to try is to bring in a fire pit – a must for cozy winter patios. Whether it's a chiminea, outdoor fireplace, or a classic bowl design, the warmth and glow will bring instant atmosphere. And the best part is, they're not just for the festive months: a fire pit will help you make the most of your space all year round.

An enclosed fireplace with a chimney will keep things contained and will provide a safe and sociable way to burn logs. Fire pits are suitable for a larger garden with plenty of space to site them safely. If you only have a tiny area in which to entertain, consider a bioethanol-powered outdoor fire. They're suitable for tabletops or patios, you get all the benefits of real flames without the mess, and they're eco-friendly too.

And if you're looking for a great idea for festive parties, try warming a cast iron pot of mulled wine over the fire on a cooking grill – just let the heat build and the flames die down before you begin. Looking for a non-alcoholic alternative? Swap the wine for apple juice.

We've already stressed the importance of lighting, and Chrissie Rucker from The White Company agrees. 'Define the space with light – whether strings of fairy lights or an array of storm lanterns,' she says. 'Smaller candles and tea lights in glass and mercury holders will bounce the light and will also give you bags of atmosphere. A pre-lit tree or wreath will provide a super statement on any terrace.'

christmas decor in garden with firepitsuk firepit

This fire pit from FirepitsUK makes a lovely festive focal point to gather around

(Image credit: FirepitsUK)

How can you decorate your yard for Christmas on a budget?

On a budget? No problem – you can still bring plenty of Christmas cheer to your garden. Here are a few tips to try:

  • Make the most of natural decor. Think evergreen branches, dried citrus slices, sprigs of berries, pine cones, even twigs and logs. With a bit of creativity, they can be arranged to make beautiful displays. You can learn how to make a Christmas wreath with our handy guide, for instance, which is budget-friendly. Or, how about trying our DIY Christmas decoration ideas for your outdoor tablescape, or some easy twig decorations?
  • Ribbons are an affordable material that can quickly boost the look of a garden. Tie red, gold, or silver bows around planters, gates, or fence railings for an easy decorative look.
  • Flickering candles in lanterns will always create a magical glow when dotted either side of your door or around your patio. Opt for outdoor-appropriate LED versions instead of real flames to keep things safe – they're very affordable.