Fall Decor: Your Front Entryway by Ana-Maria Leeming - New Canaan & Darien Moms


October is one of the most spectacular months in New England. We are known for our fall foliage and while in my opinion, it doesn’t last long enough, I love incorporating a little bit of its ephemeral beauty into our home. Whether it’s decorating for Fall or setting a festive table, kids love to be involved. It gives them purpose with instant gratification. Which is why Lego building is so satisfying. Or for men, why making a fire is so magnificent. I too enjoy the end result of a project. Who doesn’t?

I have never really been into Halloween decorations, maybe because I grew up in Romania and well, we didn’t celebrate it. Although, vacationing at my grandmother’s house in the mouth of the Carpathian mountains (aka Dracula’s homeland) was often like Halloween. Francis Ford Coppola did an amazing adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, depicting the scene and mood of the Romanian countryside: deep, dark and misty woods often accompanied by a howling wolf or coyote. But breathtakingly beautiful. Perhaps a post is due on my heritage. I think I’ll stick with autumnal inspirations for now, but here is a photo of my country.


I recently purchased a cherry tree for our front driveway from Reynolds Farms in Norwalk. I would say they are comparable in pricing with the rest of the nurseries, but I loved their service and their selection so we decided to pay them a visit for this project. The girls had fun in the greenhouse with Lex, who found a fly in one the Venus Flytraps. There was plenty to keep them entertained while we shopped. A coy pond, a swing, lots of flowers and plants to explore and pumpkins galore. Highly recommend it!

Begin with a designated planter for each child. Kids loose interest quickly, so giving them just enough to keep them entertained and not discouraged, is a perfect place to start. It’s an outdoor activity that allows them to dig into dirt, pull out weeds and help decorate by using their imagination. Be prepared to take over the clean-up and perfecting all the details, but take advantage of all the little hands. This will be a great weekend activity for the whole family.

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I wanted to keep the front entry simple, natural with pops of color. The planters I have are tall and minimalistic, but not very wide. So I played a bit with dimension by adding height with this ornamental purple grass and some fresh curly willow branches. Then to cover the base, I used purple kale, red and orange mums, purple peppers, black and yellow fall pansies. I then cut some hydrangea from my garden and filled the empty spots with a few blooms. If you have a larger urn, you can even throw in some small pumpkins…makes for a very dramatic result. The coleus vine was actually in my summer arrangement, but I thought it could work nicely even in the fall. I like how it droops down against the white planter. What do you think? I’m not a professional landscaper or floral designer, but I think it turned out pretty nice.

On the steps I bought two medium sized mums which will fill in quickly. And of course pumpkins and gourds of all shapes and sizes. I love the ugly, funky ones. It’s about as Halloween as I get!

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Lastly, for the front door, I wanted a wreath. But nothing too bright and overbearing. I went to Nielsen’s in Darien and found this fabulous dried twig wreath to which I attached yellow pops of field flowers. Amy, who is incredibly talented and works at Nielsen’s, suggested to spray paint the flowers gold or silver after they dry and use them at Christmas. Brilliant! Even though the wreath ended up costing around $70, the fact that I can recycle the flowers and use the wreath itself for other arrangements made me feel better about the purchase.


Some of us may have the time to dedicate to decorating, but others may not. And that’s ok! I have long ago come to terms with the fact that there is only so much you can do. So, if you still want a gorgeous fall entry, but can’t commit, here is a recent project from Lisa Hilderbrand Interiors. Her work is beautiful and sophisticated indoors and outdoors and I absolutely love the dramatic urns she decorated. Happy Fall everyone!

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