One Wreath, Four Ways: How to Decorate Your Front Door All Year Long
Welcome guests to your home with a display that can transition with the seasons.
The tradition of displaying holiday wreaths is alive and well to this day, with the fragrant boughs of cedar, juniper, and spruce gracing homes in Europe and the United States. Yet wreaths have evolved from their evergreen beginnings. Over the past few decades, wreaths made from a variety of materials have become popular for year-round display.
Wreaths can be made on many types of forms to create different results, and certain forms are better for specific types of materials than others. Wire forms, for example, are strong and ideal for making evergreen wreaths. Styrofoam forms, on the other hand, are light and porous, which makes them better-suited for less heavy decorations. But, in our minds, the best is one that can be used all year round. For an all-in-one approach, we sourced a fillable metal base that combines a Himmeli-inspired geometric shape with a gilded finish. It's decidedly modern, yet at the same time, offers a nod to tradition. Plus, it's sturdy enough to be hung outside, but may show wear, depending on exposure to the elements. If you're shopping for one like ours shown here, we like both Terrain's Fillable Metal Wreath Base ($42, shopterrain.com) and Modlode's Geometric Wreath ($95, modlode.com).
Designed for use throughout the year, these wreaths are made from materials inspired by their seasons. Flowers for spring, succulents for summer, dried grasses for fall, and evergreens with a hint of shine for the winter holidays. Decorative materials are secured with floral wire and floral tape, but some can simply be placed freely into the frame itself. To avoid creating unsightly holes in the woodwork of your door, suspend your wreath from the top of a door or molding with a length of monofilament such as Ook's Nylon Invisible Hanging Wire ($2.35, homedepot.com) which holds up to 50 pounds. Typically, the monofilament's packaging should list how much weight it will support. To hang, cut a piece of monofilament long enough so that, when the monofilament is doubled, the wreath will hang at the desired height. Loop the monofilament around the back of the wreath form. Knot the ends of the doubled-up string and use a heavy-duty tack to secure the string to the top of the door or the molding.
Here, we use a single wreath form with four ways to style it beautifully.
With the promise of a new year, a collection of branches and blooms comprises this ephemeral wreath. Pussy willow (which is one of Martha's favorites) is famous for its catkins, each one a cluster of hundreds of flowers without petals; filling this wreath form, the branches spray out their downy tips. We simply shaped eucalyptus branches into a circle, allowing the natural spray of twigs and pink blossoms to fall freely, added sprigs of rice flowers for a touch of color, and filled the form delicately to allow the gilded geometric framework to peek through. We used dried and preserved botanicals, but you can use freshly picked ones as well. Collect the branches and blooms in your area, and dry them between heavy boxes or in a plant press.
Succulents are those fascinating plants that seem to withstand anything. They are essential elements in the drought-tolerant garden, and, yes, you sometimes can't tell whether they are dead or alive. Some of the better-known succulents include the hen-and-chickens (Sempervivum tectorum), the jade plant (Crassula ovata), and the Burro's tail (Sedum morganianum).
These sturdy, low-maintenance plants have long begged for a position more exalted than a stone trough or rock garden. Now, they can display their winsomeness in the form of this living wreath. Not only do these plants survive, but they look better under less-than-favorable conditions. With minimal maintenance, the color of most succulents heightens, and their forms tend to remain compact. Of course, when ordering cuttings, be sure to choose plants that are hardy in your zone. Those who live in cold climates can have wreaths of tender succulents, but they must be kept indoors during freezing weather.
As the leaves change and the air cools, it's prudent to make use of the natural bounty around you. At this time of the year, why not evoke the harvest season with dried flowers and grasses in this wreath? Take advantage of the crisp beauty of an autumn afternoon and gather ruscus leaves, poppy pods, bunny tail, and pampas grass. Other add-ins can be pinecones, star anise, and agava pods—these materials will fill your house with pleasant scents in addition to forming a highly textured arrangement, so the final effect is intended for all of the senses. Pairing this wreath with a collection of gourds, berries, and corn stalks makes a lovely autumnal display.
Holidays are synonymous with the season. For Christmas, evoke fond memories using your family's heirlooms like vintage ornaments. We chose ours in bright jewel tones and reflector styles. Perfect for heavier materials, such as evergreen branches, this wreath form allows you to densely pack twigs, boughs, leaves, and other decorative objects so that they cover the framework, and create a uniformly thick and dense wreath. It will last the season, and the decorations can be stored for next year.