Decorating for the winter holidays is always a fun and exciting time. Most people only decorate the inside of their homes, and the front of their house with lights. I hope to show you how fun and easy it can be to decorate your backyard, great for winter parties or just to have a beautiful winter wonderland to play in.
To make your own backyard winter wonderland you will need at least, decorations, snow, and of course lights. There are other things that make a winter wonderland better, like a nativity scene, a fire pit, winter flowers, and festive music playing.
You can pick and choose from these ideas, which will work best for you, and which will help you create a personalized winter wonderland for you to enjoy. I’ll throw in as many helpful tips along the way that I can.
I put this at the top of the list because the decorations will really set the mood for your winter paradise. If you want a more classy vibe, try garland, tinsel, and wreaths for your decorations. If you want a more fun upbeat winter play land, try inflatable snowmen and reindeer.
Winter Decoration Ideas:
- Garland along fences and overhangs
- Wreaths on fence posts
- Bows and ribbon
- Christmas Trees
- Decorated archways
- Inflatable winter decorations
- Hanging decorations
I like to hang garland and wreaths along a fence or side of the house. I like the way it looks, and it’s a super easy way to add color and a winter feel to the yard. Another benefit of doing this, is that snow will collect on them, really bringing every thing together in my mind. Coupled with some inflatables for the kids, you can make a great winter paradise for everyone to enjoy without spending a fortune.
The inflatable decorations are becoming more popular because of how easy they are to find online, and the prices have been coming down too. Use this link to see the Inflatable Winter Holiday Decorations on Amazon. The most popular for a winter wonderland are polar bears, snowmen, Santa, gingerbread men, and reindeer.
Here’s a video of a family that set up some decorations in their backyard winter paradise. It’s basically an ad for Home Depot, but hopefully it can give you some more ideas for your own yard decorations.
Real Snow Or Fake Snow
Every winter wonderland paradise should have some snow in my opinion. But in some areas, it doesn’t snow, and if you make your own, it melts right away. While in other areas, it snows so much they wish it would stop. We have three scenarios to cover, plenty of natural snow, make your own snow, and use fake snow, jump to the one that applies to you.
Plenty Of Natural Snow
If you get plenty of snowfall throughout the winter, you’ve got a leg up for creating a winter wonderland. Simply use the snow already available to add to your decorations. Build snowmen or a whole snow family if you can. Let the snow fall on your decorations, or sprinkle it on yourself. Use what you have to your advantage.
Make Your Own Snow
If it’s cold enough where you are for snow, but you just don’t get as much as you’d like, you could always make your own snow. To make your own real snow though, you will need to either rent a snow maker machine, or have a pressure washer with a fine mist nozzle you can use.
To use the pressure washer method, you’ll still need it to be cold outside. Spray the pressure washer at an angle into the air with a fine mist nozzle. Some pressure washers have a snow making nozzle attachment you can buy. Spray the snow high enough in the air that the water has time to freeze before getting to the ground.
Use Fake Snow
This is probably the easiest option for anyone wanting more snow in their yard. If you need a lot of snow, I suggest looking into this Instant Artificial Snow on Amazon. It has great ratings, and you can buy as many gallons as you need in one order. The downside to this option is that it doesn’t last long in warm areas and can leave a mess if not used properly.
To keep the mess minimal, lay down a tarp or plastic sheeting to put this artificial snow on. It should last a few hours, long enough for a party or event, but after a while, it turns into a slimy mess. You will need to rake it up and throw it away when you’re done. If you only need a little snow, you could always make a small batch with some baking soda and shaving cream.
To Make A Small Batch Of Snow At Home:
- Dump a box of baking soda into a large bowl
- Add shaving cream
- Mix with your hands
- Keep adding shaving cream and mixing until you get the right consistency
For most people, just a can of Artificial Snow Spray from Amazon will do the trick. Simply spray this can of snow decoration onto your trees, wreaths, garland, and windows for a festive winter look. This is by far the easiest way to get a snowy look on your decorations. The spray is environmentally friendly, and cleans up real easy too.
The lighting display can really make the whole winter scene pop. We use normal Christmas LED light strings and drape them over trees and along the fences. The large bulb lights look great along walkways, and the net lights look best over bushes and decorations. This is the fun part where you can get creative.
Lights In Jars
We used a bunch of old baby food glass jars and a string of lights to make a bunch of light up Christmas tree shaped decorations to place around the area. The light shimmers through the glass jars, and they’re simple to glue together in a tree shape. Then you just run the lights into the jars through a hole cut into the lid.
Net Light Ideas
If you don’t have any bushes or areas to drape the net light. Consider using chicken wire to hang the light on. You can find large balls of chicken wire, or just bend and shape some standard chicken wire how you need it. If you have an area that you can hang a string or rope, it could make a great spot for hanging net lights.
I found this video showing a cool way to get hanging lights, even if you have nowhere to hang them.
This is one of the most overlooked aspects of a winter wonderland setup. But the music ties everything together and really sets the mood of your winter paradise. The music choice is up to you, but holiday music is always a popular option. Many people will just play something like background sounds to give the space some ambiance.
If you need an outdoor speaker, I suggest taking a look at this Alpine Bluetooth Rock Speaker on Amazon. It will blend in with the yard, and people will ask you where that music is coming from. I like this speaker because it’s solar powered, so no need to run an extension cord to it. One drawback is that you can’t pair multiple of these speakers together, but with a 50 foot sound radius, most people will only need the one speaker anyway.
This tip is really just a fun addition, to make the area smell like a winter holiday. You may already have candles or incense around the house that you can use. Think of smells like, fresh snow, cinnamon, evergreen, and pine needles. Winter has it’s own distinct smell that you may already naturally have in your yard, or you can recreate it yourself if not.
Fire Pit Or Outdoor Fireplace
For some people, an outdoor fire pit or fireplace is a must have. Especially if you plan on spending cold night outside in your winter wonderland. For parties, having a spot to sit and warm up is always a welcomed sight. Don’t forget to make s’mores, kids will love it, and it’s always a fun time.
There are so many different fire pits and outdoor fireplaces on the market now, I couldn’t recommend any single one. Here are some Outdoor Fire Pits on Amazon to look through. Just find one that will fit your look, has good ratings, and you should be good to go. I was able to find some decent options at our local home improvement store, but they just don’t have the selection you can find online.
Winter flowers are a great way to add a pop of color to your winter wonderland. Of course, Poinsettias are the most popular holiday plant, but there are other great options too. Put some of these plants in pots and line a walkway or decorate an open space with them.
Popular Christmas Plants:
- Christmas Cactus
- Frosty Fern
- Norfolk Pine
If you have a nearby flower garden, you could use it to your advantage by planting flowers that will do well in cold weather. I like this approach because you don’t need to worry about pots and planters, just use the garden you already have available. Check out my How To Keep Outdoor Plants Alive During Winter guide for some tips on how to make these flowers last.
- Winter Jasmine
- English Primrose
If you have the time and materials, consider making a festive holiday nativity scene. A life size scene would be awesome, but even a little scene with small figurines is enough to start a conversation and give people something to look at. The idea here is to add to the experience of your winter wonderland, making it more memorable.
Here’s a video of someone who made their nativity scene with just items from dollar tree. This doesn’t have to be expensive to be an attraction in your winter wonerland.
Hot Chocolate Bar
This is one of my favorite ideas to be honest. Once you have a hot chocolate bar, you’ll never be allowed to not have one again. Your kids and your guests will make sure to ask if there will be a hot chocolate bar again this year, every year.
I’m not sure if I would go out of my way to build an area to serve hot chocolate, but if you already have an outdoor bar area, definitely try this. If you have a table you could bring out and set up outside, that would work too. You basically just need an area to make hot chocolate for everyone.
We use a crock pot to make the hot chocolate in, and then just serve it with some whip cream from an outdoor table we have. In a pinch, you can use a Keurig to make the hot chocolate, then just add marshmallows, whip cream, or whatever you like.
Ice Skating Rink
Making an ice skating rink is one of the harder things on this list. You need to find completely level ground, build up sidewalls, fill with water, and let freeze. It’s not a quick easy task. But even a small ice skating rink can offer hours of fun and play.
Another option is to just buy a quick set ice rink like this EZ Set Ice Rink on Amazon. The set up is quick and easy, you just lay it out, fill it with water, and let it freeze over night (maybe two nights). You will still need perfectly level ground to use this though If you don’t have level ground, you will most likely need to build snow up on one side to get it fill correctly.
Here’s a video of the setup process in case you were considering this option. Watch this video to make sure this is something you want to do before buying.