This is a guest post from Monika Wrobel, a writer for Crate and Barrel. She specializes in home decor and interior design tips for DIY and lifestyle blogs. She graduated with a degree in communications, and a minor in public relations from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

As warm temperatures wane and a cornucopia of colors begins to emerge on trees, it can only mean one thing: autumn is finally upon us. Despite the crisp breezes, fall is a wonderful time of year when family and friends gather outdoors to celebrate a season filled with football, bonfires and pumpkin patches. These eight tips on how to prepare your outdoor space for fall can completely transform your patio into a harvest-inspired haven.

Refresh the Planters

Once vibrant tones transition into burnt hues, swap out geraniums, petunias and lobelias for chrysanthemum, pansies and goldenrods. Begin by deciding your core color scheme. Accent orange and red mums with spikes of purple-toned grasses and, as Halloween approaches, introduce plants with deep crimson and near-black leaves. Mix and match different sized planters and place them on front steps of your doorway or near the yard’s lounge chairs for an eye-catching pop of color during fall.

Hang a Few Lights

Sparkling lights know no season, adding warmth and a festive feel to outdoor spaces. String lights are a great way to perk up outdoor spaces any time of year. If you prefer a uniform finish, hang them parallel to each other, tightly securing them over your gathering space. For a more carefree look, drape them on tree branches or loop them on the fence. The soft glow of twinkling lights adds warmth and sparkle even on the chilliest of evenings. 

Bundle up with Throw Blankets

If your autumn checklist includes roasting the perfect marshmallow, playing touch football games or enjoying a cup of cinnamon-scented hot chocolate outside, throw blankets are a must. Have a few on hand to stay toasty warm during chilly evenings. Keep a storage box or woven basket near the patio furniture and fill it with knit, fleece and woven throw blankets for easy access. If you know there’s a chance for bad weather, simply bring the container inside for snuggling during movie nights.

Decorate with Wreaths and Garlands

Timeless in design, wreaths and garlands are a great way to bring nature into your outdoor space this fall. Their warm and inviting colors and designs create a welcoming front porch, where visitors will marvel at the nature-inspired decor. An oak leaf wreath is a great piece that transitions easily from Halloween through Thanksgiving. Complement it with a coordinating garland draped over the door frame for a cohesive aesthetic. To get the most out of the decor, opt for faux leaves that’ll last throughout the season.

Light up Some Lanterns

Picture this: you’re cozied up on a cushioned outdoor sofa enjoying a warm mug of apple cider and reading a favorite book. Add some standing lanterns to the scene and you have a picturesque fall setting. Whether standing alone or in a luxe centerpiece, lanterns offer numerous ways of incorporating light into your decor. Try mixing and matching lanterns in a variety of sizes and finishes. Metal and wooden frames with small, medium and large sizes provide a contrasting focal point. Place one or two pillar candles in each lantern and line them along your garden path 

Accessorize with Decorative Pillows

If you’re on a budget, decorative pillows can instantly shift the atmosphere’s mood at a low cost. Swap out summer’s nautical stripes for rustic maroons and red fabrics for knits to fully embrace the spirit of autumn. Place pillows on the outdoor furniture, such as dining chairs, lounge sofas or accent chairs, draping a throw blanket over a seat as a final touch. If you’d prefer to leave your cushions out all season long, opt for outdoor furniture covers that protect your fabrics from bad weather.

Prepare Pumpkins and Gourds

In addition to seasonal floral arrangements, consider incorporating the fruits of fall into your decor as well. Pumpkins and gourds are a great and easy way to spruce up your deck or front entryway. On each side of your door, place fall-toned plantings near a stack of hay and some corn stalks. If you prefer a monochromatic approach, stagger white pumpkins and gourds on the front stairs and intersperse them among planters for a chic look. To prevent rotting, opt for faux fruits that’ll last the season.

Cozy up to the Fire Pit

Acting as the heart of the backyard during September, October and even November, a bonfire is a surefire way to transition your backyard from summer to fall. If you’re hosting a bonfire party, circle the pit with comfy chairs and lay out skewers for sausages or marshmallows for s’mores. To further incorporate aspects from nature, place a sleek log holder nearby to display freshly cut wood in a contemporary frame. Not only does the crackling fire warm you up, it creates a cozy environment for storytelling and sharing laughs. Here are some other fun, fall activities you can do with your whole family, provided by Springfree Trampoline, the world’s safest trampoline.

This is a guest post from Monika Wrobel, a writer for Crate and Barrel. She specializes in home decor and interior design tips for DIY and lifestyle blogs. She graduated with a degree in communications, and a minor in public relations from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.