Celebrate fall, harvest season and make your front porch look like this ...

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Ever wonder why your front porch display doesn't quite live up to magazine perfection? (Raises hand!)

No matter how you arrange those pumpkins, mums and twisty gourds it just doesn't have the same welcoming wow factor. If that's you (and heck, isn't that most of us?) Jed Thompson, floral designer and co-owner of Township Four Floristry & Home in Pittsfield, wants you to remember one thing: the rule of three.

"Think large, medium and small," said Thompson, who runs the North Street flower shop with his partner Nathan Hanford. "You can never go wrong with that, especially if you keep it proportionate."

Thompson also highly recommends investing in an all-season planter, something you can fill and replace seasonally. But again, he cautions, keep it proportionate to your front porch.

"It's a good long-term investment," he said.


Rule of three

Keep your decorations in small groupings, using one small, medium and large item. When deciding what goes together, Thompson suggests starting with the largest object, "it's easier to put things around it," he said.

Think outside the mum

While you, of course, have a mum on your front porch, think about other fall-friendly foliage that can brighten up your steps. Thompson uses bunches of kale, cabbage and ornamental pepper plants in addition to Sedium and ornamental grasses like fountaingrasses and millet.

Visit your farmer

When shopping for your front porch decor, keep it local, said Thompson, who purchased many of the items used to decorate his family home in Becket from Fort Hill Farm in Pittsfield. Not only are you supporting a local business, but you're also buying the best from the best, he said. "You want to purchase your items from someone whose only job it is to grow these things," he said. "Then you can go back to them as a point of reference when you have questions."

Use what you have

Use a small planter as a riser to give a plant some height in a larger pot, or take some dried sunflowers to fill a hole in your decorations. Or, Thompon suggests using some dried oak leaf branches. And if you're feeling really crafty, make a wreath out of grapevine. Dried cornstalks — which many local farms have for purchase — make a perfect addition to your front door.


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