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Fresh Magnolia & Cypress Christmas Garland for Outdoor Mantel

Fresh Magnolia & Cypress Christmas Garland for Outdoor Mantel

Nothing says Christmas holidays like a fresh garland or wreath. The only trouble for us, is that we live in Mississippi and even in November the temperature is about 70 degrees! But warmer weather doesn't stop us from decorating with fresh greens!

Check out this Magnolia and Leyland Cypress garland made for our outdoor fireplace.

Magnolia and Fresh Cypress Garland

I first learned how to make fresh wreaths and garlands from a book by Martha Stewart. Turned out, it wasn't so hard after all! Since that time, I've made several wreaths and garlands, usually primarily out of Magnolia stems, pine, cedar and cypress.

A fall wreath made from maple and hickory twigs is beautiful, but it will only last a day or two. Still, it's a great project for a backyard gathering.


Magnolia and Leyland Cypress Stems


Paddle Wire (Walmart)

G4014110 RAZ Red Bead Garland

XA117418 Natural Wood Bead Garland

G4006745 RAZ Red and Natural Wood Bead Garland 

EC4009 Snowed Red Berry Branch - 4

L4000932 RAZ Lighted Red Berry Branch

LL600426 40' Warm White String Lights (battery)

2.5" Red Outdoor Velvet Ribbon

EZ Bowmaker


It's difficult to tell how many branches you will need. It will all depend on the length of your mantel and spacing. The mail thing to know, it to have a back up plan. If you are adding branches and see that you're not going to have enough, stop and clip more. Pine branches will work or ordinary cedar.

Store the branches in a bucket of water until you are ready to make the garland.

A fresh garland will last for a couple of weeks, but it all depends on your location and temperatures. In cooler weather areas, the garland will last longer.

We're in Mississippi and I knew my garland wouldn't make it until Thanksgiving simply because I had to get the tutorial done early. Here in's still very warm.


You need a sturdy rope to attach the branches to. My rope was a coconut husk rope purchased from Lowes, but any sturdy rope will do whether it's made of seagrass, cotton or vinyl (like a ski rope). 

You need a rope thats about 10 mm in thickness or so. 

Cut your rope to the measurement of your mantel, allowing for a drop off on each end whatever length you wish. 

Mark the center of your rope with a chenille stem. 

Paddle Wire

You can pick up paddle wire in green or silver color at Walmart or other similar places. Here's an Amazon link if you need it. Paddle Wire

Using paddle wire helps you to keep the wire taunt as you wrap it around the branches lying on the rope. 

Secure Branches

Start on the lower end of your rope by attaching the wire. Lay one of the branches down on the rope with the tip of the branch pointing away from the rope. Wrap a few times with paddle wire very snuggly. 

Alternate the type branches you use. Lay the next branch down to where it covers up the stem from the previous branch. Continue alternating and wrapping branches until you reach your center mark.

Once you get to the center start working from the other end of the rope and work to the center again.

You will have a bit of a gap right in the center, but this is where you can place a big bow and just stick in a few more branches pointing out to the front if needed.

Garland Placement

Place the center of the garland, using your marker, on the center of the mantel. Don't place it so close to the edge that it's in danger of falling off, but you do want the branches to drape over the front a bit in places. 

If in doubt that the garland is not going to stay in place, use some tiny tacks and floral wire to secure. Only do this on your own mantel! Someone else might not take too kindly to your driving anything into the wood.

String Lights

In the video, I used a strand of string lights that I had on had. They were electric. But there is a link to some battery lights that work great, plus they are remote controlled! 

Place your lights by finding your center point in the light strand, then lay them around the branches. Don't forget to let some flow down the sides.Turn the lights on to help with placement.

Red Berry Branches

I started with the lighted berry branches first. It is comprised of two branches and I placed them staring at the center and pointing toward the edges.

The other four red berry branches were placed along the remaining length of the mantel on each side. I didn't go down the sides with branches, but you could. You would just have to secure them with some wire.

snow berry branches for Christmas decorating

I didn't secure the branches in any way, I just tucked the long stems into the garland. 

If you were making a similar garland to go along a stairwell or something like that, you would need to secure branches with wire.

Typically when I make something for myself at home, I don't make anything permanent. Re-purposing things makes me happy!

Wooden Bead Garland

We used three of the wooden bead garlands and found the center point of each one. To attach to the mantel, I lightly tacked a push pin in the enter of the mantel and at each end.

Start the wood bead garland at the center and drape it out to each end. Layer the next garland a bit tighter and then the third garland.

Each of the garlands were different lengths, but the bows that were added to the corners of the mantel covered that up.

beaded garland for Christmas decorating


Make bows of your choice. The first bow I made for the center, was a bit small at 12" so I made another 14" in width. 

bow from outdoor velvet ribbon

Smaller, simpler just loops were placed on the corners with longer tails hanging down. Trim tails to desired length.

simple loop bows made of red outdoor velvet ribbon


Fresh Garland - Magnolia, Cedar & Pine


Light a fire, put on some Christmas music, or a football game and enjoy! Thankfully a few days after I made the garland it was actually cool enough to have a fire!

 outdoor mantel garland made of Magnolia and Cypress

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know. We love hearing from our viewers! Trendy Tree Blog 


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