Festive, Please

to the nines (12)We do have clients who approach the holiday season with gusto.  Projects like these come with a big dose of celebratory feeling attached. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all – I enjoy it. Not all work is work. Some work is satisfying enough to call it fun.  The holiday work comes with some peripheral exposure to important or traditional moments in people’s lives. As in an extended family coming home for the holidays. This is work that has  very personal connotations. For starters, this client wanted every pillar in front festooned with garland. It seems natural that a landscape design and installation company could make the leap to seasonal gardening.

to the nines (5)Her lighting person had already wound strings of lights around each pillar. This was a little harsh looking.It only took a few minutes to take them down, and get the garland up first.  Since we would be adding garland to 6 pillars, it seemed like fewer spirals per column would look better.

to the nines (11)We put one length up from an uncut 50 foot roll, and unwound enough to make a decent puddle of greens at the bottom. We laid out all of the garlands in the drive, and cut them to the proper length. The top of the column has a molding.  It was easy to attach the first circle of garland with a zip tie above that molding. That architectural detail would keep the entire length of garland aloft.

to the nines (4)Yes, there were pots to do. Since there would be a lot of decorating outdoors, we kept the pots simple.

winter red (8)These pots will look as good all winter as they do for the holiday season.  I always appreciate a client who has a preferred color scheme in mind. Once I have that, I can put materials together that I think reflects the taste of the client, and the setting. Red, green and white would predominate.

to the nines (13)The outside of the house is festive indeed. The light strings were reattached on top of the green garland, for a much softer look.

to the nines (6)At the door, we filled another pair of winter pots, and added an artificial garland overhead –  to which we added eucalyptus, faux berries, and those beautiful bleached pine cones.

to the nines (8)That garland was repeated on the inside, over the doorways, and on the stair railings.

to the nines (10)Once we attached them, Marzela went back and fluffed every sprig, and made sure every element was facing towards the primary view.

to the nines (9)The pine cones were attached facing left on the left side, facing right on the right side, and facing down at the bottom of the swoop. If this seems fussy, it is.  But facing the materials on a garland has to do with establishing a visual rhythm, and repeating it. Part of the beauty of it is how it is installed.

to the nines (2)The mantel was done in noble fir attached to a bamboo pole across the top. The drops were lengths of the fir zip tied together.  In the center, a larger bloack of floral foam was stuffed with greens, poplar branches, and birds.  The bleached cones from the garlands were repeated.

to the nines (1)This porch is as green and festive as it can be. It surely is the garden version of “welcome to my home at the holidays”.  I like this.


  1. Peggy Smith says:

    Beautiful installation! I am wondering about the interior archways and attaching garland there. How do you do that so the moulding and trim aren’t showing hooks and nails afterward?


    • Deborah Silver says:

      Dear Peggy, these nails have been painted the same color as the walls. But in general,things like this only show when you are looking for them. I doubt that anyone would be conscious of them in the off season. best, Deborah

      • Painting the hooks to match the walls is genius. As you state, you have to look very closely to even see the hooks. I also use fishing line to help secure my wreaths…. and my Christmas tree. it is invisible and very strong. I discovered the need for securing my Christmas tree using a hook in the wall and fishing line the year my new kitty decided to try to climb the tree and toppled the tree fully decorated. Not good. Lots of broken glass ornaments. Since this incident, as a precaution, I secure the tree every year. Susan

    • Work that is fun is the best kind of work. I never stay with a job that is not fun too. When a job becomes work, it is time to leave. My philosophy and it works for me. Being surrounded by plant life, beauty and add the festive holidays with all the decor and I call this ideal. Plus your clients share your love for it all. Ideal again! Susan

  2. debra phillips says:

    ah yes, the string light wrap! your staff creates miracles at every turn. thank you for sharing
    merry christmas deborah


  3. I especially loved the garland on the inside archways and the banisters along the staircases. This is spectacular. This family must have been getting ready for one very grand Christmas party and celebration. The decor makes everything so festive. I love it. Who could not have a happy Christmas with this very fine decor. Just looking at your photos makes me very happy. Thanks for sharing. Your creativity and design expertise is very much appreciated. Susan

  4. Deborah, Thanks again for sharing your talents. A priceless gift.

  5. Rand Schmidt says:

    Another beautiful installation. Thank you for providing ongoing inspiration to all of us.

    On a personal note, I was so lucky and honored to meet you and your wonderful staff this summer while visiting your shop at the conclusion of my first trip to the Detroit area. It was also fun to meet Milo in person after seeing him in various blog postings. Back in MIlwaukee, seeing photos of your shop brings back memories of that wonderful trip. A very Happy and Prosperous New Year to you, your family, and your staff.

    • Deborah Silver says:

      Dear Rand, thank you for your kind letter-happy to hear that your visit was a good one. all the best, Deborah

  6. Spectacular! Such a welcoming array of gorgeous greenery. I imagine the evergreen scent must have pervaded the house.

  7. Very over the top! Your inspiration for the winter garden is fabulous. Thank you from a neighbor in Wisconsin.

    How long should the indoor greens last?

  8. Linda McDearis says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous! So inspired by your work!

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