Fall is my favorite time of year. I think it’s a lot of people’s favorite time of year: the chill in the air, the anticipation of holidays, the abundance of produce, the feeling of harvest. And few things exemplify those feelings like decorating your porch. The late season vegetation like corn, pumpkins, straw and gourds arranged together conjures up feelings of earthiness, home and festivity as you enter the house.

How can you get that magazine look for your exterior spaces? I spoke to Jenna Madsen of Sundercreek Farms and professional fall porch decorator, about her experience and top tips.

Q: How did you get the idea of starting a porch decorating business?

A: I saw people buying and putting only one or two pumpkins on their porches. When I decorated my own porch it took a lot of pumpkins to make it look fancy and nice, so I thought, “They need more pumpkins!” I wanted to put together a package and sell it as a bundle. I pick the items, deliver them and arrange them. That way, people know what they need and what it costs, and then I do the rest. I wanted to make people’s porches look cute.

Q: Do you grow everything yourself?

 A: I grow the pumpkins. I starting out growing four varieties and now we’re up to 24! My husband and I also grow the cornstalks. It took a couple years of me just growing and selling pumpkins to convince him of the idea, but now we have a pumpkin patch and corn maze so we are able to have cornstalks.

Q: What is your favorite pumpkin variety?

A: There are so many! I really love the wolf variety. It’s a big orange pumpkins with a huge stem.

Q: Why do you enjoy porch decorating?

A: You can never underestimate how good a fall porch makes you feel. It just makes you feel so festive and homey. It’s always such a good thing to decorate for fall.

Jenna’s Top Tips for Your Fall Porch: 

  • Arrange the décor items in groups of 1’s and 3’s.
  • Have different textures. Straw, wood and corn stalks bring a crunchy texture against smooth pumpkins. You can also add some warty pumpkins for some nubby texture.
  • Keep it looking homey and welcoming. Even on fancy formal porches, still use straw bales to bring a harvest feeling.
  • Have differing heights to add visual interest and balance. 
  • Only use twine, not ribbon, to tie up corn stalks, anything else takes away from the natural feel.
  • You don’t have to remove your fall porch décor the moment Halloween is over, your display can last the entire autumnal season. To ensure your pumpkins don’t rot prematurely, make sure you cover them against heavy frost. Jenna throws an old sheet over hers on frosty nights to protect them. Additionally, she also suggests soaking them in 1 gallon of water with 1 tsp of bleach mixed in for about 10 minutes. That will kill any mold or fungus, and it makes them clean and sparkly!
  • When the season is over, you can re-purpose most of the décor. Cows and chickens love pumpkins, and goats will eat cornstalks, so try to find a neighbor who has animals and could use them. You can also mulch everything and spread it over your garden as fertilizer. 

You can follow @jennasmadsen on social media for more decorating inspiration!