Autumn is my favorite time of year. Because I live in such a hot, dry area of the country, I look forward to the relief of the crisper, cooler weather and all that goes along with it. Family gatherings, bonfires, pumpkins, and cozy food are the thoughts that keep me going during the hot summer months. So when October rolls around, I’m ready for fall garden decorating!

finished topiary

One of my favorite projects to do every fall is the Pumpkin Topiary. It’s so simple, costs just a few dollars, and creates a harvest focal point by your entryway, on the patio or deck, or even right in your garden. And did I mention it takes all of ten minutes from start to finish?


  • Tall planter (optional, but great for increased height)
  • 3 pumpkins in graduated sizes — think Papa bear, Mama bear, and Baby bear (and it’s great to choose different types and colors of pumpkins, too)
  • Grapevine wreath (large enough for your largest pumpkin to sit on)
  • Bagged moss (different colors)
  • Decorative items from the floral department of the craft store (I like the red berry floral picks and vines)


  1. Start by placing the grapevine wreath on top of your empty planter
  2. Top with the largest pumpkin
  3. Add some moss to the top of the pumpkin and stack your medium-sized pumpkin on top
  4. Add more moss and finish with your smallest pumpkin
  5. Add decorative details as desired

Suggested Pumpkins

  • Large Fairytale or Cinderella pumpkins for the base
  • Warty or white pumpkins as the middle tier
  • Smaller pumpkins like pie pumpkins or Wee Be Little for the top
  • Look for pumpkins that are free of puncture marks, holes, or gouges – this type of damage will allow decay to set in much more quickly. If you choose a well-formed pumpkin with no visible holes or scratches, you can have your Pumpkin Topiary outside through the end of November.

Happy Halloween and Happy Thanksgiving!

Peterson_Jenny_7989-web resizeJenny Peterson is an Austin, Texas-based garden designer with her own firm, J. Peterson Garden Design, as well as a writer, author and speaker. She specializes in designing, writing and speaking about gardens that enhance the quality of life, heal from the inside out and help to create balance and wellness.