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Basic Flower Arranging

By: Julia Fleming - Updated: 21 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Flower Arranging; Basic Arranging;

Flower arranging is more than just sticking a few flowers and twigs in a vase or in a block of floral foam! The end result may look natural with flowers and foliage complementing each other in a perfect shape, but there is a structure to it. And as long as you stick to the structure you can create some beautiful arrangements.

Whether you are creating a basic flower arrangement or a more elaborate display, the basics are the same. Keep in mind – design, scale, proportion, balance and harmony. Use these with other principles such as texture, space and colour and you can transform an ordinary bunch of carnations bought from your local supermarket into something special!

Visually all arrangements should be balanced. Flowers and foliage should be grouped and graduated to create an effect of strength and stability. The arrangement shouldn’t fall to one side, backwards and forwards – it should be steady with an equal balance between flowers i.e. one big flower should be counterbalanced by two smaller ones.

There should always be a focal point from which all the other stems seem to radiate, with darker colours to the centre of the design and paler colours on the edges. Finer foliage should be round the edge of the design with more solid foliage in the centre.

Types of Arrangement
  • Line – exactly what it says! A curved line of flowers graduating down and visually strengthened with foliage
  • Symmetrical – think of a triangular shape. The width of the design is two thirds of the height. Foliage provides the outline for this design
  • Asymmetrical – this is an “L” shaped design with unequal visual weight placed on one side. A light coloured side (usually the upright side is counterbalanced by darker materials on the other side.
Suggested Foliage
For larger fuller designs chose virburnum, arbutus or tree ivy. Smaller designs work well with wax flower, soft ruscus or pittosporum while linear designs are always complemented with taller foliage such as tortured hazel, bear grass, willow or just some nice twigs from the garden.

Suggested Flowers
Single flowers such as chrysanthemum, roses, lilies or gerbera look good with most foliage or a bunch of daffodils look good on their own. But if you are going to mix your flowers use a variety of shapes otherwise the arrangement can look bland.

How to Create a Basic Flower Arrangement
This is a symmetrical front facing design where the flowers and foliage are placed in groups. It is very simple to create and suitable for a number of occasions, from weddings to an anniversary gift. This design looks great placed on a table against a wall or window.

Floral foam: square round container: five carnations; five spray carnations; two spray chrysanthemums: foliage – hard ruscus, hebe: waxflower.


  • Lay out flowers, foliage, filler, container and foam; cut foam to size and soak before placing it in the container and rounding off the top20px break Equip1
  • Tape the foam in place attaching it to the container by criss crossing two pieces of tape off centre20px breakEquip2
  • Start your arrangement with the carnations. Place one tall one at the back in the centre and then place four more at a slight curve graduating down until the last one is placed sticking forward from the front of the foam.20px break
  • Start putting your foliage in. working from the back to the sides remembering to keep the symmetrical shape.
  • Add the spray carnations grouping them to the upper left of the arrangement and the lower right so that it looks as though it flows across.
  • Add more foliage and filler to start filling in and to strengthen the outline of the design before adding the spray chrysanthemums starting from the upper right and then the bottom left, keeping in mind the shape at all time.
  • Add more foliage to fill in any spaces.basic flower arranging 20px break

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