Outdoor Christmas Decorating on the Gazebo

Outdoor Christmas decorating idea using pine garland, ribbon and how to make a fabric button center for a ribbon bow.

I thought I would show you how I decorate the outside of my home for Christmas.

For me this year, it is not too cold outside… yet. It was warm enough over the weekend to just wear a sweater.

Lake house living

We were hoping to have the fire pit completed, but this time of year gets crazy and it just didn’t happen. I did however decorate outdoors, not the exterior of the house, but something I can see from every room in the house…


…our gazebo and dock. Aside from the lake, it was one of the features about our house that made us know it was the house for us.

The lawn and trees are in winter mode and are no longer green, so the green roping and red bows draped along the gazebo and dock adds a little life back into the landscape.

With the drought in the southeast, the lake is a little low, normally it is about 8 feet higher. Last year it was all the way up to the palm tree.


Since I can see the gazebo from every room in the house it made sense to decorate it.

I use to decorate the exterior of my previous house for Christmas quite extensively. I enjoyed doing it, but having done so much for over 20 years, I found that sometimes it’s the simplest things the bring me the most joy at Christmas, like using plain, but classic greenery and solid red ribbon bows.

my house on the lake

Friends that come by boat to our house, will be greeted for the next few weeks in holiday style.


Draping cedar or pine roping is super easy to do.


I just wove it around the columns on the gazebo and attached it to nails going out to the dock. I bought it at Lowes.

Outdoor Christmas decorating idea using cedar roping and red ribbon

The red shiny ribbon is from a Macy’s display department sale that I went to about 10 years ago. They hold one every 5 years or so to clean out their display prop rooms. I bought 4 rolls of 50 yards for $3.00 each. I only have a few yards left.

How to Make A Fabric Button Center for a Ribbon Bow

How to make a fabric button for the center of a Christmas ribbon bow
  1. Cut a circle out of cardboard 1-3/4″ in diameter. Cut a piece of fabric slightly larger.
  2. Wrap fabric around to the back of circle and use tape to secure the fabric.
  3. Make sure to pull fabric taut as you tape. If your tape is not a sticky as mine, you can also use hot glue and a popsicle stick to push the hot glue around and attach the fabric.
  4. Spread bow loops out and use hot glue to the back of the fabric circle to the center of the bow. Push down onto ribbon to secure. Let cool, hang the bow with wire.

I made the bows in the method I learned when I worked in retail display. I refer to them as Macy’s bows. If you would like to know how to make a big fluffy bow,

For more bow making tutorials, check out this post:

Do you like to decorate the outside of your home for the holidays?  Do you drape garland, place candles in your window or string lights over trees and bushes? Don’t miss browsing more festive DIY Christmas decorating ideas like this for all the areas in and around your home?

How to make a ribbon bow with a center button covered with fabric.

More Outdoor Christmas Decorating Ideas

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  1. Beautiful beautiful beautiful. Thanks, thanks, and thanks fir it all. Wow!

  2. Norma Rolader says:

    Oh my I will wish you Happy Anniversary and may God bless you both with many more … Thank you for all this info and decor and the button bows are awesome

  3. Julia@Cuckoo4Design says:

    Wow I really can’t believe it’s been a year already. Love your dock decorated for Christmas. My daughter and I looked at it while country music was playing in the back and she said the photos reminded her of our spring vacations at smith mountain lake and it made her sad because she missed it :) happy holidays

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Julia – We looked at Spring Mountain Lake. It is beautiful there. I understand why your daughter would miss it. Spring will be here again and with how fast time seems to go, it will be here before she knows it. :-)

  4. Diane,
    What a fun post! Happy Anniversary. We are right behind you, and we are going on 32 Loooong years! :) So, your husband is going to build a fire pit! How cool is that! We eventually want to build a fireplace and a cabana, but so far I’m still waiting! So, in the meantime, I bought a fun and cheap alternative. Hope you have a lovely Christmas. It looks like you might live in Florida? Gosh, it looks like the lakes where my SIL lives in Windermere.

  5. Melissa Leach says:

    Love the simple greens on the dock. So hard to believe it’s been nearly a year already that you have been in the lake house. Boy times flies when you are having fun or reading about all your fun :) Diane, did I miss your kitchen reveal? I’ve been sick.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Melissa – Sorry to hear that you have been sick. I hope you are feeling better. No fun being sick :-( No, you did not miss the kitchen reveal. So far I have only posted updates. I was hoping to have it all done by Thanksgiving, but that didn’t happen. We took a week off for vacation to see our daughters so I am a week behind. I did post the update about the hardware I used. You can see my progress in that post.

  6. Jackie Deorsam says:

    Diane, I’m new to your site, but so inspired by what I saw. Love the simplicity of the greenery and red bows and buttons. Congratulations on your 33rd Anniversary! Your husband looks happy and you are cute as a button. Both of you look too young to have been married that long! Will look forward to your future DIY insights and shares!

  7. Atta Girl Amy says:

    Your dock is so inviting. Can I come for a visit? I can totally see why you picked this house, and I’m sure your waterside guests will love being greeted by some festive decor. So pretty.

  8. Gail Vernali says:

    Happy Anniversary to you both, 33 years is no joke . I thought it was my 33rd too but the joke was on me, time flies when your having fun. Looking forward to one day docking up at that beautiful doc to sit around your fire pit. I hope you both had a wonderful anniversary.

  9. Barbara Garrett says:

    Oh Diane – that is simply breathtaking. What a blessing to be able to look out upon this beauty. And that roping! Now I have to go to Lowes and get some for my back deck. LOL Thanks so much for sharing your gazebo with us. xxoo

  10. TerriC/HoustonLady says:

    Hi Diane,

    Happy Anniversary to you and Ed!! Your gazebo looks so pretty : ) We do decorate the outside of the house with a few lights. I also make a Christmas wreath every year for our front door.

  11. Congratulations to you and Ed on 33 years of marriage. My husband and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary in August. ~ I just love the buttons in the center of your bows and how easy they are to make. A great little touch. I like how you’ve decorated your dock…how nice to be able to view it from your windows every day. ~ I’ve pared down my outdoor decor the last few years. This year I have unadorned wreaths on the backs of my deck chairs, I hung wreaths on two of our house doors, and I have some faux poinsettias in pots. I have a mix of electric and battery-operated candles in the windows that I turn on each evening. I agree with you that the simplicity brings me more joy.

  12. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary. I love how happy you and Ed look. The roping and bows are just the right touch for your gazebo and dock. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. Smiles from cold and dreary Minneapolis.

  13. Carla from Kansas says:

    I can’t believe you have been there a year! Congrats on your anniversary. This was the perfect place to decorate since you can see from the house. Looks great.

  14. Happy Anniversary! Your gazebo looks perfect! ;)

  15. Congratulations on your anniversary!
    The garland looks so pretty against the bareness.

  16. Cassie Bustamante says:

    this is so festive and beautiful, diane! and happy anniversary!

  17. laura janning says:

    ya’ll are too cute! happy anniversary. im sure your dock is the big hit around the hood. can’t wait to see it one day. hopefully the water levels will come up in the spring just in time for boating season.

  18. Peggie Armstrong says:

    I love the simplicity . Did you make the cedar swags, if so, would you give directions for making it?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Peggie – Thanks. I didn’t make the cedar roping, I bought it at Lowes. They sell it in 20 foot sections. It is much easier to buy, it is way to time consuming to make. If you Google how to make pine or cedar roping, I am sure a few tutorials will show up in the search. I know you need rope and wire.

      1. Thank you Diane, I’d much rather buy than try to make it. I’ll check with my Lowes.

  19. Suzy Handgraaf says:

    How wonderful, Diane! I love, love, love the simplicity of greenery mixed with red bows and it looks fantastic on your deck. Plus, I’m sure it makes your guest feel so welcome. Great job!

  20. Your view is spectacular! Every time I see one of your posts, I want to drop this house in the burbs and run to the lake. I’m so thrilled for you. And I totally love your greenery. What a beautiful way to dress up your dock. Thanks so much for sharing ~ Happy Holidays from Susie at The Chelsea Project