Summer zipped by so fast I was not prepared to put my garden to bed yet, especially not the “Nest”.  If you are new to my blog, the Nest is a circular raised garden bed from Sproutbox Garden.  It is so unique and I love the curvy design.    I had to come up with a great way to show off this raised garden bed to get more time out of it before the cooler temperatures arrived.  

Round raised garden bed with soil in it
The Nest planter in spring filled with soil

Most people just clean up their raised garden beds in fall or perhaps plant a fall vegetable garden.  I wanted something colorful to challenge the fall trees in their spectacular colors for the crown of most beautiful!  I researched raised garden bed ideas but nothing was sparking my attention.

Round raised garden bed planted with sunflowers and pumpkins
Early summer with sunflowers and pumpkins starting to grow

What could I do?

For my summer garden, because this area is in full sun, I grew sunflowers, rudbeckia, and pumpkins in the Nest.  By early fall, the sunflowers had become a jungle gym and source of food for birds and chipmunks. I kept them because they still had a beautiful form and added height to the flower beds.  The pumpkins had finished growing so I stripped away the vines as leaf mold was forming.  With all the pumpkins out in one area, I studied my harvest.  It was very successful!  I had a wide variety of colorful pumpkins from white’ish yellow to deep red and everything in between.

Harvest of rouge and Atlantic giant pumpkins

What could I do that would be different and worthy of this unique raised flower bed design?  I am always looking for a new twist on traditional garden designs.  Then it hit me, this would be a great time to display my harvest of pumpkins with colorful mums and ornamental kale! What a good idea!

Pumpkins are common on porches but you never see them displayed like flowers in a flower garden.  

Why not?  

They are colorful and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so why not use them like a flower?  The decision was final – I was going to create a fall pumpkin garden!

Have you ever wondered how to transplant grass? I have a whole section that needs to be moved and found this great guide from Charleston Crafted with all the details needed, just click here.

First, let me tell you about the Nest

I have a whole post regarding the materials and construction of Sproutbox Garden raised beds – just click this link to learn more about the diy garden beds.  The Nest is 17″ tall with an 11′ wide internal opening and 16′ in diameter.  It is made of Aluzinc Steel, stainless steel hardware and commercial grade rubber edging.  

Raised flower beds made from steel are better than wooden frame ones because they last longer, are easier to clean and rodents cannot climb them to destroy your garden.  Being raised is also very attractive to me over in-ground garden beds because they are easier on my back!

Round raised garden bed with lake in the back ground

The size of the circle is perfect for placing a table and chairs, a firepit or cozy seating.  The circular design of the Nest makes you feel secure as if you are wrapped up in your garden.  

When the sunflowers were towering above, it felt like I was in my own secret garden.

It was wonderful!  

If you do decide to purchase something through Sproutbox Garden, be sure to use my special discount code “SVA10”!

Sproutbox Garden and Sweet Valley Acres Discount code banner

Disclaimer: Sproutbox Garden gifted me with these raised garden beds. They have not paid me for this post and my opinions expressed here are my own.

Ok, let’s get going with the new garden.

Clean up time

First things that needed to be done was to clean up the garden beds and come up with a plan.  With the pumpkin vines gone, I started cleaning up all the plants that would stay in my new fall garden.  The rudbeckia had some dead spots but it was still blooming nicely and it’s color would be perfect for fall.

Next I trimmed off all unattractive leaves off of the sunflowers and removed any sunflowers that had completely dried up.

I raked out the garden soil so that it was smooth again and free of any dead vines or leaves.  Once it was spic and span, I had to come up with a plan.  Mixing all the colors of the pumpkins together was an option, but I felt that would give me a headache.  I am more of a symmetry and neutral lover so an explosion of scattered color would not do.

After much consideration, I opted to keep the colors of pumpkins together and match them up with mums to create something more soothing to the eye.

Laying out the pumpkins

​The Cinderella rouge pumpkins needed to take center stage so I laid them out at the front of the Nest.  They are named Cinderella because of their flattened shape and rouge is French for red.  I quickly found that their flattened shape made them perfect for stacking and creating topiaries.

Pumpkin topiary with kale and yellow flowers

​Beside them I placed the faded peach-colored Atlantic giant pumpkins.  Atlantic giant pumpkins can grow to 500 lbs. While mine did get pretty big and are super heavy, they did not reach their full potential because they were planted too late.  That’s ok, because if they had gotten bigger I would not have been able to move them on my own.

Round raised garden bed with fall plantings

​Curving around to the back, I mixed the white’ish warty pumpkins with the few pink pumpkins I had.

Round raised planter with red, orange and light yellow pumpkins

​In the end, what I created was a circle pattern with the brightest, deepest colored pumpkins, fading to the lightest colored pumpkins.

​Phew – I had a design that didn’t make my brain sweat with anxiety!!!

Adding mums

​With the pumpkins laid out in a good-looking design, it was time to find different types of mums and other new plants.  Typically, Costco carries large colorful mums but this year, they had very few and only in pink.  The selection was poor at the nurseries but the good news is I found mums in soft orange, rust, yellow and white.

​Once again, I chose a color blocking method and placed the mums in groupings according to their color.

​Next, I determined which color of mum would work the best with each color of pumpkin.

​Yellow and the rusty colored mums would look best with the Cinderella rouge pumpkins.

Yellow and orange flowers with a topiary of Cinderella pumpkins stacked in a topiary

​White mums were the only ones that worked with the soft orange Atlantic Giant pumpkins.

White mums with Atlantic Giant pumpkins in a raised garden bed

​Pink mums were perfect with the white and soft pink pumpkins.

Pink mums with pink and yellow pumpkins

​With a few spaces needing color and it being the end of the growing season, I knew it would be hard to find healthy plants.  I was in luck though and found the prettiest colorful pansies and lush ornamental kale.  I popped those in here and there and my garden was complete.

Round raised garden bed with lake in background

Time to enjoy!

​This was one of the easiest ways to refresh raised garden beds and is perfect for a beginner gardener.

​We brought up the portable firepit, set up some chairs and enjoyed the crisp fall evening.  An option for seating would be a straw bale or two.  A great resource for straw bales is a local farm, or a local feed store for horses.

Firepit with pumpkins and fall flowers and lake in the background

We all had such a good time. The best thing about it was that my family loved how I incorporated my pumpkin harvest into the planters.  It is the best way to display them as they are raised so you get a better view of them.  The stillness of the evening, the colors of the sky and the pretty garden surrounding us was just perfect.  It was an excellent way to spend the evening.

Two young people sitting in front of a fire with a round garden planter curving around them

Thank you!

Thank you for reading until the end. I hope you enjoyed this post and that you are inspired to create a fall flower and pumpkin garden!

Looking for more inspo?

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I have some tips for a white and gold decor theme. Just click here to learn more.

Thanksgiving table decorated with white and gold decor

Or if you would like a fun pumpkin lantern diy, just click here.

Gold pumpkin lantern in tablescape

What do you think?

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  • Joy
    October 19, 2023

    Absolutely stunning. It must have been a joy to spend evenings in such a beautiful setting. How did you come up with the idea to use pumpkins in this way, and do you have any tips for maintaining such a lovely garden throughout the fall season?

    • Crystal
      October 19, 2023

      Thank you very much Joy! I came up with this due to the limited supply of colorful flowers in the fall in my area plus I need to save money. When I looked at the pumpkins I realized they are colorful like flowers and could be used in the same way in replacement of more flowers. To maintain the garden, my suggestions are to water the mums deeply and fully. They need lots of water to be their best. As well, deadhead the spent blooms. I also gave them a bloom fertilizer when I first got them and that really seems to be keeping the blooms coming. As for the pumpkins, make sure they aren’t sitting in water as that will cause them to rot. Eventually they will and you have choices like using them as compost or possibly feeding any animals you have in the area. We leave them out for the deer and the chipmunks and they love them. One year, winter hit quickly and my pumpkins were covered in snow through to spring. By then they were not visible to the eye, but they sure sprouted a lot of pumpkin vines. So make sure wherever you leave them that you are ok with pumpkins growing next year.