Fall Tablescapes from the Outside In

Fall symbolizes plenty, ripening, harvest, and abundance! It is also a reminder that the holidays are just beginning, encouraging us to create festive tablescapes. And during Fall there are so many natural gifts from your garden that are right there for the taking. Here are some ways to bring the outdoors in, so you can decorate your holiday tables with seasonal nature & color.


Yes leaves! Collect leaves from your neighbor’s Liquidambar. You shouldn’t have a hard time finding colorful leaves that have fallen beneath the trees or collecting a few of its branches. Incorporate them in your holiday table decoration. Branches full of golden, red and brown leaves make a striking center piece all on their own. Slip branches of colorful leaves into a variety of glassware and stagger them in the middle of your table.

Find the perfect leaves and spray with gilded paint, on both sides including the stems. Let dry and write the names of your guests with a Sharpie. Use as place holders. This will make your guests feel special.


Pyracantha is a tall, dense hedge, but come fall masses of bright red-orange berries cover the shrub from head-to-toe. Clip branches and tuck into a few simple small pitchers or a decorative glass.

Make an arrangement made of berries, add clusters of brilliant orange rosehips, collect the dark, inky berries of hawthorn shrubs, try bunches of cherry-red dogwood berries. If you don’t have these exact elements at hand, any berries will do!

Artichokes & purple asparagus


Newly harvested herbs are perfect for fragrant arrangements, tied in small bunches and strategically placed on a burlap tablecloth, placed in small wood boxes or galvanized pots in clusters.

Here’s a great tip from on making fall inspired napkin rings.

• Starting with a single, young, tender, spring of rosemary, thyme or sage and a wire, bind the herbs into a long strand by wrapping the wire around each sprig as you lay it on top of the one before it, working down. When you’ve gone a few inches, you should have enough to wrap around the napkins.


They come in so many different colors, shapes and sizes! Hopefully you planted your pumpkins in late May or early June for this Fall’s harvest. But if you haven’t, you can probably find some unique varieties at the farmer market. If you have room in your garden, put a reminder in your calendar to plant them next year. They are not hard to grow, and kids love them.

For a simple monochromatic look, use a white table cloth and line mini white pumpkins like Baby Boo, White Gooligan, and Casperita down the center of the table with scattering of small green leaves or branches like eucalyptus.


Nuts, seeds, pinecones, and seed pods abound in the fall. Put these items to use on your Thanksgiving table. Fill a glass container with edible nuts and tie a burlap ribbon around it, or hot glue your findings to a grapevine wreath. For a fragrant centerpiece, take a wooden bowl large enough for a pillar candle surrounded by acorns, pomegranates, nutmeg and cinnamon sticks. Hot glue bark around the pillar candle and use jute or ribbon to hold the bark in place.



Take a glass cylinder vase around 8” tall and 6” wide. Use a few large elastic bands to secure the ears of corn vertically around the center of the glass vase. One by one, add the ears of corn until they surround the vase. Place a ball of chicken wire in the vase to keep the leaves, flowers whatever you want to fill your Indian corn vase with, in place.


Try mixing pomegranates, gourdes, turnips with their cranberry shoulders, dehydrated citrus slices, incorporate savoy cabbages and kale. I love all the colors of fall. Take artichokes, open up the center and insert a small glass votive for ambient table lighting.


Dried wheat with its golden wispy ears can make a handsome wheat tree just by binding a large bunch together with twine or ribbon. Cut off the bottom making the ends line up so it will stand on its own. Use two wheat trees to flank your dining table. Add a garden-inspired centerpiece in the center.

Incorporating different grasses and/or herbs in your flower arrangements always adds lots of texture and color that work well on an autumn-inspired tablescape.

Earth tones such as browns, oranges, greens, yellows and reds scream autumn is here! I have always enjoyed decorating my dining table, especially when Fall arrives. I enthusiastically dive into my garden taking advantage of what the season has left me. I’m always discovering something new that I can add to my fall-inspired dining table.

Happy Fall tablescaping!

Kelly Emberg, the model gardener
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Fall table herbs & gourds

Berry Wreath

Indian Corn