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DIY Christmas & Holiday Pots

If you love the look of Christmas or holiday planters with evergreens, pine cones, ribbons, bows, and all the accessories, why not try making one yourself? There are a few different ways you can do them, from small live planters for the holiday dinner table to large outdoor porch planters full of evergreen boughs. 

Here are the supplies you’ll need to DIY your holiday pots and a few ideas to get you started!

Live Plant Arrangements for Indoors

Having a live plant arrangement on the table for the holidays is not just pretty; it’s a beautiful reminder of living plants and trees while the world outside is frozen. There are many different plants you can use together in a live planter, including evergreens.

What you’ll need:

  • A cute planter
  • A mini evergreen tree
  • 2-3 live plants
  • Assorted mini Christmas decorations
  • Potting soil
  • Mini twinkle lights
  • Decorative moss or stones (optional)

How to do it:

Depending on the plants you choose, you may be able to plant them together, or they may be best kept in separate pots. Lavender and Rosemary have different moisture needs than, say, an Alberta spruce or a lemon cypress tree. 

Even if they have different water needs, you can still give the illusion of being planted together. Keep the plants in their plastic nursery pots. Put a layer of soil in the bottom of your planter, then arrange the plants, still in their plastic pots, inside your container. Once you like how they’re arranged, fill up the gaps with soil and firm it in. Add a thin extra layer just over the tops of the plastic pots so you can’t see them. Now it looks like your plants are in the same planter, but they’re not. So you can safely give one plant all the water it needs while limiting how much other plants get. 

Once your plants are in, add your moss or stones to cover the soil, and then get to decorating your tree. Add a string of twinkle lights, and decorate your mini Christmas tree. 

Here are some live plants that you can use in indoor holiday planters:

Here some of the mini live evergreen trees that you can use in live planters:

Evergreen Arrangements for Outdoors

For outdoor pots, you’ll need a few supplies, plus some evergreens and whatever other decor accessories you like. If the soil in your porch pots is already frozen, you’ll also likely need some chicken wire. If you’re getting new planters, you can fill them up with fresh potting soil and make your arrangement before it freezes.

What you’ll need:

  • A bundle of evergreens per pot
  • Potting soil
  • Accessories like pinecones, red twigs, and birch poles
  • Decor accessories like ornaments or seasonal floral picks
  • Pruners
  • Chicken wire (optional)
  • Wire cutters (optional)
  • Metal tent stakes (optional)
  • Hammer (optional)

If you already have porch pots and the soil is frozen solid in them, you can still use them. If you’re using fresh soil, skip to the next paragraph.

Create a small ball of chicken wire, about half as wide as your pot; just crunch it up together into a rough ball. Then center it in your porch pot, and hammer a couple of tent stakes in to keep it secure. Then make a larger dome of chicken wire over the first ball. Work it into the top of your pot, so all the wire edges are inside the pot edge, and then secure it with a couple of tent stakes as well. 

If you’re using fresh soil, fill your pots up with soil within a few inches below the rim. Firm it down well. If the soil is really light and fluffy, water it well so it settles. The water will help it freeze better and secure your greenery.

Adding the Greenery & Accessories

Start with your bigger items, like birch poles if you’re using them. Secure them into the soil (or chicken wire) a few inches deep. Then start to add in your assorted greenery as you like it, sticking the stems into the soil several inches deep or through both layers of chicken wire. If you’re using chicken wire, make sure to arrange your greenery to obscure the wire itself. Use your pruners to trim any errant greenery for a pleasing overall shape.

Once you have all your foliage how you like it, start adding in your other accessories, like glittery decor, pinecones, red berries, or ornaments. Finish off your porch pots with a strand of white twinkle lights so you can enjoy it after dark too. 

Get Your Holiday Greenery At Ted Lare

If you’re ready to get your DIY on, you can swing by Ted Lare to pick up all the supplies you need. We’ve got a variety of evergreen boughs that you can buy piece by piece or in bundles. Our evergreen bundles have an assortment of greens and include enough boughs to do a 14” porch pot or several smaller projects. We’ve also got various fun ornamental picks and decor on handy sticks to include in your arrangements. 

P.S. If it doesn’t work out, we’ve also got an excellent selection of pre-made holiday pots, or you can sign up for a class!

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Landscaping for the Holidays: Lights, Evergreens, & Snow

holiday landscape Ted Lare

You might be thinking, with relief, that landscaping season is over. But it’s not really. It’s just changed a bit. Instead of digging, mowing, and raking, now it’s hanging lights, putting up holiday decor, and dealing with the snow and ice. 

Don’t get depressed, though; it’s not as bad as it sounds! We’ve got some tips and advice to help you get through holiday landscaping tasks efficiently and safely. 

Christmas lights holiday landscape Ted Lare

Putting Up Christmas Lights

To get your lights up as efficiently as possible, it’s best to start with a little pre-planning. If you have lights already, take them out and test them to make sure they all work. Double-check how many strands you can safely plug together end to end at the same time. 

If you are getting new lights this year, decide where you want to put them and measure everything, so you know exactly how much you need to buy. There’s nothing worse than being one strand short and going back to the store only to find out that the specific color, style, or size you need is sold out. 


Pro-tip: wear a work belt, and stuff the pockets full of universal light clips and any tools you’ll need.


If you moved to a new house this year, or if this is your first season putting lights up, figure out where your outlets are located and what you’ll need for extension cords. Make sure you use outdoor-rated extension cords.

Safety first: if you’re using a ladder to hang your lights, take a few safety precautions. Have a helper to steady the ladder and spot you. Never stand on the very top rung of a ladder. Make sure you have both hands on the ladder when climbing up or down. Don’t try to put up your Christmas lights in lousy weather like during a snowstorm or freezing rain; it’s not worth the risk.

Pro-tip: wear a work belt, and stuff the pockets full of universal light clips and any tools you’ll need, so you don’t have to go up and down so many times if the built-in clips on your lights break. 

Universal light clips are one of the best options for hanging your lights. They are designed to attach to various things, from gutters to siding to fascia to window frames. They also fit almost every style of Christmas lights out there. 

Whatever you do, don’t use nails, screws, or staples to attach lights to your home. Besides the risk of accidentally driving a metal item through an electrical cord, they also make holes in your home’s cladding, which means moisture gets in and can cause rot and mold. 

For the sake of convenience and efficiency, get a timer for your lights. You won’t have to think about going to plug in or turn on the lights every day or remember to turn them off when you go to bed. It’s all automatic, and you won’t have to think about Christmas lights again until it’s time to take them down!

manage snow and ice Ted Lare

Managing Snow and Ice on Driveways and Sidewalks

Managing snow and ice on your driveway and sidewalk is vital in winter for the safety of passersby and your family. Preventative maintenance is the best bet, but sometimes we’re busy and the ice build-up gets the better of us, or freezing rain turns all of Iowa into a giant skating rink in a matter of hours. 

Salt is one of the most common ice control options. It’s generally easy to acquire and simple to use. But there a couple of cons to using salt: 

  1. Over time, salt can cause premature aging and breakdown of concrete. 
  2. It isn’t great for your lawn or garden beds. Plants don’t like salty soil. 
  3. It’s really hard on dogs’ feet and can cause their paw pads to dry out and even have painful cracking that could cause long-term sensitivity. 

In some cases, like with freezing rain, salt may be the fastest and safest option. If you use salt and have pets, just be careful. Keep your pets off of salted areas, get them some boots to wear outside (yes, they probably won’t love it, but they get used to them, eventually), and clean up salted areas once the ice has melted. 


ice melt holiday landscape Ted Lare


Less is more when applying salt. The general rule of thumb is 3.5-4 pounds of salt per 1000 square feet of driveway and sidewalk. You probably don’t want to weigh out your salt portions every day, so just remember that an average 12 oz coffee mug full is about 1 pound of salt. 

Finally, salt is just a melting agent, it doesn’t clean up the mess. Once you’ve applied salt, get out and start clearing with a shovel or ice chopper. When you’re done clearing the ice, any leftover salt should be swept up and thrown away.

If you want to avoid salt entirely, there are commercial ice melts that are pet-safe, or you can aim for creating traction on the ice. To add traction, try sawdust, coffee grinds, or kitty litter. 

Preventative maintenance is always the best bet, so get out and shovel regularly and invest in an ice chopper if you can. Remember that Des Moines requires all snow and ice be cleared from sidewalks within 48 hours of the end of a storm, and last year the fines went up.

evergreens holiday landscape Ted Lare

Timeless Decorating With Evergreens

Evergreen boughs are a simple and tasteful way to dress up your property for the holidays. They’re a classic winter feature, so they’ll give tasteful beauty through Christmas and into the new year. There are so many ways you can work with evergreens, from potted live evergreens to custom-designed porch pots.


Porch pots Ted Lare


You can check out and sign up for any of our evergreen workshops on the classes page. We are doing workshops in person now, with a limit of 10 people per class, and masks are required. Each attendee will have their own table and freshly sanitized tools to work with.


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We’re also still doing the workshops virtually, so you can purchase your kit, take it home, and create a beautiful evergreen piece while watching our livestream events for instructions. Virtual classes are on the same day and time as the in-person workshop.

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DIY Centerpiece That Transitions From Fall to Holiday

DIY fall holiday centerpieces Ted Lare

The transition from fall to winter can be a busy time for many of us. There are all the usual commitments. The annual tasks of decorating and preparing for Thanksgiving are followed shortly after by the transition to Christmas and holiday decorating, planning, and shopping. Fortunately, with a little creativity, you can save some time with your decorating this year! 

This centerpiece craft uses versatile base materials that can transition seamlessly from the Thanksgiving table to your Christmas feast with a few simple changes!

There are a million different ways to design centerpieces for the holidays, but we like ones that embrace seasonal beauty and allow us to still see the friendly faces across the table. A classic, timeless centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table is a long and low arrangement with seasonal accents. A narrow wooden tray or even a narrow serving dish with pinecones and 3-5 candles is a perfect base to take you through to the next few months with tasteful style and an easy transition. 

base centerpiece Ted Lare

Create Your Base Centerpiece & Add Fall Accents

For the base centerpiece, arrange your candles in your tray. If you want to use real candles, you may want to consider setting them inside hurricane vases to prevent fire risk. Then, arrange an assortment of pinecones around the candles. If you’re using LED candles, you won’t need the hurricanes. Candles with a remote are ideal, as you won’t have to touch the centerpiece each time you light it up! 

To give the simple centerpiece a fall aesthetic, add some colorful fall leaves, twigs with orange, yellow, or white berries, and some classic hardshell nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts, and brazil nuts. You could also add in a few mini pumpkins and some jewel-toned silk flowers if you like. 

holiday centerpiece Ted Lare

Transition Your Centerpiece for the Holidays

To transition your centerpiece to a more festive feel, remove the fall leaves, mini pumpkins, fall berries, and faux flowers.


Adding Christmas tree balls or ribbons are simple ways to tie the centerpiece to your other holiday decor.


If you like the look of snow-dusted pinecones, you can frost each pinecone with flocking (faux snow) spray, but you can also achieve a similar effect in a couple of other ways. You could sprinkle faux snow powder over the whole arrangement when you’re finished, or tuck small sprays of baby’s breath throughout the centerpiece to add that touch of white. 

Work in some cedar boughs and sprigs of holly and berries to add depth and variation to the greenery. Adding Christmas tree balls or ribbons are simple ways to tie the centerpiece to your other holiday decor. You can also add cinnamon sticks for a subtle scent, along with a few navel or mandarin oranges for an extra pop of color. 

Last but not least, a strand of LED twinkle lights, in addition to the candles, adds even more warm and cozy Christmas ambiance. You could even replace the candles with them, filling the hurricane vases with the lights. Or, you could intertwine them with your evergreen boughs.

evergreen bough centerpiece Ted Lare

Things to Keep in Mind About Evergreen Boughs 

Evergreen boughs will generally only last 1-2 weeks indoors. You can extend their indoor life by keeping them in vases of water, spraying them daily with water, or soaking them in water every few days, although this adds a lot of extra maintenance and fussing for your centerpiece. Spraying them with an anti-desiccant spray, such as Wilt Stop or Wilt-Pruf, will extend their life for a little longer as well. 

If you want to use fresh evergreens, you’ll probably want to wait until the week of Christmas to add them to your centerpiece or be prepared to replace them every few weeks with fresh ones. Faux evergreens boughs will make your centerpiece virtually maintenance-free. 

Alternatively, you can create one of our designer centerpieces in one of our popular evergreen decor classes! You can either attend your preferred class in person or take home a class kit and follow along virtually. All in-person attendees are required to wear a mask, and classes are limited to 10 people. Each person will be provided with their own table and freshly sanitized tools to use.


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Creating your own holiday centerpiece is a fabulous way to get in the spirit and spread a little holiday joy to your household! Visit us in-store for more inspiration, or explore our online holiday store to browse more fresh holiday decor pieces, all handmade by our designers. We offer contactless curbside pickup and free delivery for orders over $50!

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Inspiration For Decorating Your Indoor Holiday Planters

indoor holiday planters Ted Lare

If you’re one of those early Christmas decorators, we’re here for you! And we’ve got some fun ideas to help you with some indoor holiday planter inspiration. Besides the obvious centerpieces, wreaths, garlands, and trees, there are lots of simple ways you can take your decor even further. Include all of your indoor planters in your Christmas decorating to spread the festive feelings from one end of your home to the other. 

Here are 9 ways to make your decorating scheme into an immersive holiday experience this year:


holiday planters festive pots Ted Lare

1. Change out your planters.

We often recommend that people plant their houseplants in a pot with drainage, usually plastic or terracotta, and then set that pot inside of a more decorative pot since many decorative pots don’t have drainage holes. If you want to take your Christmas decor up a notch, pop your plants into new decorative planters that match your seasonal decor theme.

2. Plant amaryllis for the center of your planters.

Amaryllis is a favorite Christmas bloom. Why not get a few and see if you can set them inside their own pot, in the center of your existing planters to add some gorgeous blooms in December.

3. Add small wreaths around planters.

Wreaths aren’t just for hanging on doors. They are a super-easy way to turn a plain plant pot into a festive planter. Lay a small wreath down, and set your planter in the center of it. Work some festive berries, colorful twigs, or pinecones into the wreath, and now your planter ties into your decor. 


indoor holiday planters decorations Ted Lare

4. Dress up your houseplants.

Add twinkle lights and a few ornaments to larger plants. Hang small ornaments, or stick them onto planters to carry your decor theme throughout your houseplant collection. 

5. Get wrapping!

Did you fall in love with a set of wrapping paper? Measure around the largest part of your plant pots, and measure how tall they are. Cut out a piece of wrapping paper 1-2 inches taller, fold over the top and bottom edge, wrap it snugly around your plant pot and secure it with tape. All of your houseplants coordinate with the presents under the tree now! 

6. Put a festive bow on it.

Get out your Christmas ribbon or burlap, and tie bows around your planters.

7. Add simple natural elements.

Setting a bundle of birch poles, some pinecones, and a sprig of red berries in front of or across the top of your planters, gives a natural hint to the festive season.

8. Enhance with dried florals.

Colored twigs, dried seed heads, dried berries, and pinecones are all things you can add to your planters to turn them into festive dried floral arrangements. 


indoor holiday planter garland Ted Lare

9. Embrace faux greenery.

We love fresh pine boughs; there’s nothing like that fresh forest scent. But, fresh boughs don’t last long indoors. The warm, moisture-wicked air from our furnaces dries them out fast, and sooner than later, they’ll be dropping their needles all over your floor. Faux green garland stays looking vibrant and lush, and you don’t have to water it!


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Want a little more inspiration for your holiday decor? Stop by the garden center. Our creative staff members have been decorating up a storm, and the place looks fantastic.

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The Best Living Holiday Ornaments & Inspiration

Adding living plants to your holiday Christmas decor is easier than it might seem. Incorporating live plants into your holiday decor brings a sense of vibrancy and natural beauty that you just can’t get with artificial plants. We’ve put together a festive list of our favorite ways to decorate with live holiday ornaments in Iowa, and two tutorials for fun holiday decor with houseplants.

Houseplants on a Christmas Tree

We think adding houseplants to the Christmas tree gives it a unique and elegant look. Here are a few innovative ways to add some of your favorite houseplants to your tree decor. The very best part about all of these ideas is that you can keep them out well after Christmas.

Glass Ornaments

Glass ornaments with openings can act like tiny terrariums. You can find open-sided glass ornaments in a variety of sizes and styles at our garden center. You can keep them super simple, popping a single air plant or a sprig of evergreen into each one, or get more creative by crafting a miniature ecosystem.

Get the kids involved and create tiny Christmas fairy garden terrariums. Using sphagnum moss as a base, you can create a tiny holiday scene in each one. Small pieces of an evergreen branch can stand in as a tiny Christmas tree. Hanging these on your Christmas tree, or placing them around the house, adds understated elegance and simplicity to your decor.

Wire Ornaments

Simple metal or wire ornaments in classic holiday shapes, like stars or bells, are very trendy right now. Using wire, attach a grouping of air plants or succulents to one of these ornaments, and you’ve got a beautiful mid-century modern living ornament for your home.

Terra Cotta Pots & Macrame

Macrame has come back in a BIG way in the last year or two. Our favorite versions for the holidays are tiny macrame hangers for 1-2″ terra cotta pots. You can hang these on your Christmas tree for delightfully unique ornaments. If you’ve never done macrame before, don’t be intimidated. There are numerous videos online on how to make simple macrame plant hangers. Pop a tiny bit of soil and a mini succulent, “baby” spider plant, or other small plants into the terra cotta pot, and you’ve got some super cute living ornaments for your Christmas tree.

Our Favourite Live Christmas Decor

Evergreen boughs are a classic living Christmas decoration. There are so many different kinds of evergreens available, you can never go wrong with adding some branches to your holiday decor. Whether you add some to pots on the front porch, arrange them in vases on the table, draped over the mantle, or made into a wreath, evergreens always add a traditional Christmas feel to your home.

Amaryllis is a perennial favorite holiday plant. They’re elegant and simple with dramatic flower bracts, which makes them a classic central element for a Christmas centerpiece. Because their stems and leaves are tall and slender, amaryllis won’t block your view of the happy faces around the table!

Paperwhites are another classic Christmas bulb that compliments amaryllis well. They’re also tall and slim, but they feature beautiful bunches of white star-shaped flowers that complement the voluptuous, colorful blossoms of amaryllis.

We often associate floral arrangements with warmer days, but there are tons of beautiful flowers that work very well with Christmas decor. Classic red and white roses, or red and white carnations, have a decidedly Christmas-y feel when paired with greenery. Holiday floral arrangements combine nicely with sprigs of eucalyptus, ivy, or holly.

Tiny potted living evergreen trees are delightful both indoors and outdoors. You can get different varieties and place one in each room of the house, or use them to line your front walkway. It’s fun to decorate each tiny tree with a different theme. Strings of tiny fairy lights make them just as romantic as a full-sized tree.

Our absolute favorite live decor has to be our Table Top Grinch Trees. Combining living cedar greenery, a cute pot, and some adorable ornaments, these fun evergreen designs are always a bestseller. We also hold seasonal workshops in which we show you how to create your own unique Whoville tree. These stunning arrangements keep on living right into the new year if you keep them watered. Sign up for our upcoming class on December 4th to learn how to make your own. If you can’t make it to this class, we’ve got so many others coming up featuring ideas for live holiday decor, including:

Sterling Silver Snowflake Jewelry, November 30, 9-11 AM, $25-$50

Holiday Porch Pot, November 30, 12:30-2:30 PM, $20

Vintage Santa, November 30, 12:30-2:30 PM, $60

Mini Birch Evergreen Holiday Centerpiece, November 30, 3-5 PM, $25

Succulent Christmas Tree, December 2, 6-8 PM, $20

Holiday Grapevine Wreath, December 3, 6-8 PM, $39

Holiday Creation Station, December 3, 6-8 PM, $20

Holiday Angel Painting, December 3, 6-8 PM, $45

Tabletop Grinch Tree, December 4, 6-8 PM, $40

Holiday Porch Pot, December 5, 5-8 PM, $20

Garden to Glass: Holiday Part 2, December 5, 6-8 PM, $35

Holiday Porch Pot, December 7, 9-11 AM, $20

Holiday Centerpiece, December 7, 12-2 PM, $20

You can sign up for any of our workshop classes online or in person at our garden center. By the way, if you’re really set on making a Grinch Tree but can’t make it the workshop on the 4th, let us know! You can always come to the Holiday Creation Station workshop on the 3rd instead, but if we get enough interest, we may consider adding in another Grinch Tree workshop for our friends in Des Moines!