twigs and river rocks

Decorating with Nature: Bringing the Outside In {Three Easy DIY Projects!}

decorating with nature

As summer starts to wind down, I know I can count on it. And by “it” I mean seeing Thanksgiving, Halloween and even Christmas decorations every where, in every store.

To be honest, it makes me a little panicky. 

Not because I dread the holidays, but because I dread coming up with inventive and creative ways to decorate my house. I realize this is a little irrational, but everyone gets to have something they’re a crazy about and decorating is my crazy. You can probably imagine that Pinterest only exacerbates this problem. 

This year, I took a stroll through the usual suspects – Jo-Ann Fabrics, Home Goods, etc – and drew some inspiration then decided to not spend a dime and instead see what I could get from my backyard to bring a little bit of the season indoors.

I came up with three little projects, which are all very simple and involve things you probably already have around your house.

Put a Frame on It

Decorating with Nature: framed leaves

For this first project, I gathered up a few leaves from the yard that had already turned and were dried out. I cut about 10″ of some scrap yarn I had and grabbed up a white frame from my office. I took the existing picture out of the frame (which was just a print) and traced the outline of the mating onto some scrapbook paper. 

I took the yarn and tied the leaves together in a little bundle and, once I had cut the mat shape out of the scrapbook paper, I used some plain old scotch tape to gently affix the leaves where I wanted them. 

Leaves and tape don’t really play too well together – as in the tape pretty much has almost zero sticking power – but really the point is to just vaguely get the leaves in place because being inside the frame will keep them from budging.

Once it all looked the way I wanted, I put the mat back inside the frame, then the scrapbook paper with the leaves attached. Voila! A little leaf picture to bring in some fall cheer.

Decorating with Nature: framed leaves

Sticks and Twine

We have a lot of sticks and branches in a small gully area at the base of our property. It’s the area where people just toss dead limbs, branches, etc. since it meets up with a few other neighbors’ houses. I decided to forage around and see what I could find (which, luckily, I managed to not find any snakes or mice. Whew.)


I grabbed up a lot of few small, thin twigs – some were more weathered looking than others – and I also cut some empty twigs off of branches from the trees in the area. Then, I cut 3″ long pieces and tried to keep the edges as uniform as possible. I took twist-ties (which I have a huge surplus of for some reason…) and made six groupings of about 15-20 twig pieces. Lastly, using more leftover yarn and twine, I wrapped up the bundles to make them look pretty.

Decorating with Nature: stick bundles with twine

Very cute but, to be honest, I felt like they looked a little silly all by themselves – they definitely needed to be a part of something. And that brings us to my last project.

Branches with Berries

I went back out to my yard where there are a few trees bearing fall berries (you can see them in the header image above). I also brought my very intimidating hedge clippers (which I did not snap a photo of because they’re super gross looking.) I clipped a few twigs and branches off the trees. Once I had about 4 or 5 sprigs, I went back to the garage to put my clippers away and grabbed up a few rocks while I was in there since we have a bag of river rocks from a previous landscaping project.

I have a lot of vases laying around, one of which was exactly what I had in mind – a short, rectangular glass vase. I layered a couple of rocks on the bottom then added some water and a few of the twigs I had snipped from the yard. Then, I put in some more rocks to anchor everything down.

Decorating with Nature: fall berries branch centerpiece

All by itself, it wasn’t quite enough so I pulled out a serving platter and centered the vase on it, then layered more rocks and my little twig bundles around the vase. 

I think it turned out pretty rustic and fall-like, and it looks great in my dining room that’s full of dark wood and warm tones.

Decorating with Nature: twigs and river rocks

Not going to lie – I think this last one that pulled two ideas together into one is my favorite. 

I hope this inspires you to take a nature walk around your yard and see what you can clip and gather to bring a little autumn indoors. Thanks for reading!

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