The Art of Arrangement

July 2, 2015

We walk a careful line when it comes to arranging flowers: too carefree and our centerpiece can start to resemble a pile of yard clippings. Too calculated and it ends up looking like a stuffy prom bouquet. So when an occasion calls for a little flower power, we step back and call in our green-thumbed friends from Terrain (thanks, guys!). But in case you haven’t a team of professionals down the hall, we asked Terrain’s designer Matt M. to share some tips for creating an inspired summer arrangement.

Step 1: Choose Your Vase
In a perfect world, you should start with your vessel, so that your arrangement can complement either its shape or aesthetic, says Matt. If you’re going for a wild, textural arrangement, a simple urn vase is lovely. If you’re displaying a bundle of one type of flower, then you can have more fun with a sculptural vessel. That said, if you’re rummaging through the cabinets while your blooms languish on the counter, simply grab a container that will hold enough water, support the stems and won’t be distracting.

Step 2: Choose Your Star
Think of planning a flower arrangement like planning a meal: once you settle on a main course, the side dishes fall into place. For this bouquet, the dramatic eremurusthose chartreuse, bottlebrush-like stemstook center stage. The most important thing to me is movementthis immediately makes an arrangement come to life, says Matt. The eremurus was an easy starting point, so I just played off of those striking, curved lines.

Step 3: Choose Your Supporting Characters
Whether you’re clipping from your own garden or overwhelmed by the selection at the farmers’ market, simply look for a few different varieties that play nice while creating contrast. In addition to the sculptural eremurus, this arrangement includes fluttery oakleaf hydrangea (one of Matt’s favorite summer shrubs), chocolate laceflower (the soft, subtle blush blossoms), giant allium (the lavender, firecracker-like stems) and some more substantial shrub clippings that stand up to the delicate meadow textures.

Step 4: Arrange Away!
Here’s the good news: if you choose your components wisely, they’ll give you some cues when it comes time to put everything together. I let the stems do a lot of the work for me, and allow them to fall into place where it feels natural, says Matt. From there, I like to create elements of surprise by clustering things in unexpected ways. If you have an open mind and allow the arrangement to evolve naturally, it will ultimately look much more effortless.

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